comparison of characteristics of vaginal discharge (candida (thrush) versus bacterial vaginosis (BV) versus trichomoniasis)

Last reviewed 07/2021


Sign/Symptom Bacterial Vaginosis Candida Trichomoniasis
Discharge Thin Thin White Scanty to profuse
Odour Offensive/fishy Non-offensive Offensive
Itch none vulval itch vulval itch
Other possible symptoms  

Soreness; Dysuria;Superficial dyspareunia

Dysuria; lower abdominal pain
Visible signs

Discharge coating the vagina and vestibule;

No vulval inflammation

Normal findings OR

Vulval erythema; Oedema; fissuring; satellite lesions

Frothy yellow discharge; vulvitis; vaginitis; cervicitis; 'Strawberry cervix' (ectocervix sometimes resembles the surface of a strawberry)
Point-of-care test: vaginal pH > 4.5 pH <= 4.5 >4.5


  • 1) FSRH and BASHH Guidance (February 2012) Management of Vaginal Discharge in Non-Genitourinary Medicine Settings.