The vagina is a mucus membrane. That means fluids are supposed to be there. And you may see a few spots on your underwear. Some women have more discharge than others. Being on the birth control pill can affect discharge.
4. Changes in discharge can mean an infection.
Yeast infections are fairly common. They tend to cause a white discharge that looks like cottage-cheese. They bring a lot of itching and redness but no odor. They're usually treated with creams or other meds that go directly into the vagina. Doctors sometimes prescribe pills.
Another common infection, called bacterial vaginosis, causes a greenish or yellowish discharge. It smells fishy, especially after sex.
If you have itching, burning, or unusual discharge for more than one week, you should see a doctor.
5. Thongs don't cause yeast infections.
A skinny strip of fabric sits very close to your vagina when you wear thong underwear, but it's probably not to blame for a yeast infection. Two things do make you more likely to have a yeast infection: tight clothing and panties made of nylon.
If you already have an infection, wearing a thong might add to your misery, though. It can ride up and rub against irritated skin around your vagina.
In those cases, stick with loose-fitting briefs made of cotton. Or go bare while you sleep until the problem clears. If yeast infections keep coming back, ask your doctor whether switching to briefs for a few months could help.
6. Sex shouldn't be painful.
Many women suffer in silence, says Rankin, because they are too embarrassed to say anything when sex hurts. If this is the case for you, set up a visit to your gynecologist. Make it separate from your regular exam. That gives you time to explain your concerns and figure out possible causes.
7. A good gynecologist is important.
To find a doctor you like, set up a get-to-know-you appointment first. Make sure that you have a good rapport with your gynecologist. You should feel like you can bring up any worry or question. Ashton tells women in their late teens and 20s to see their doctor every six months once they're sexually active.