Low back pain and vaginal discharge can be symptoms of an underlying condition requiring treatment, like pelvic inflammatory disease or a urinary tract infection.

Low back pain is common. It can range from aching to stabbing, and tingling to sharp. It can be a short-term or long-term symptom.

All women experience vaginal discharge, but the amount and type of discharge can vary. Normal discharge is usually clear or cloudy white. It may also appear yellow when it dries on clothing. You may experience changes in your discharge due to menstruation or hormonal birth control.

Here are eight possible causes of low back pain and vaginal discharge.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur in any part of the urinary tract. Bacteria cause the vast majority of UTIs. Fungi or viruses can also cause UTIs. Read more about urinary tract infection.

Urethritis is a condition in which the urethra, or the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body, becomes inflamed and irritated. Semen also passes through the male urethra. Read more about urethritis.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs in women. The pelvis is in the lower abdomen and includes the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the cervix, and the uterus. Read more about PID.

Vaginitis describes a number of conditions that can cause infection or inflammation of your vagina. Read more about the symptoms of vaginitis.

Pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg after it is released from the ovary during ovulation. The fertilized egg then travels down into the uterus, where implantation occurs. A successful implantation results in pregnancy. Read more about pregnancy.

In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus. Instead, it may attach to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix. Read more about ectopic pregnancy.

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervix. The cervix connects the lower part of a woman’s uterus to her vagina. Read more about cervical cancer.

Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that an infection in the body can trigger. Most commonly, a sexually transmitted infection or bacterial infection in the intestines triggers development of reactive arthritis. Read more about reactive arthritis.

Low back pain and vaginal discharge rarely constitute an emergency concern, but they can signal the need to make an appointment with your doctor. Seek medical attention if you’re pregnant and your vaginal discharge is greenish-yellow, very thick, or watery, because these symptoms can indicate an infection.

You should also see your doctor if you have:

  • a green, yellow, or white vaginal discharge
  • vaginal itching
  • vaginal burning
  • vaginal irritation
  • a thick or cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge
  • vaginal bleeding or spotting that’s not due to your menstrual period
  • a vaginal discharge that has a strong or foul odor

Seek medical attention if your symptoms don’t get better after one week.

This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.

Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal treatment if your low back pain and vaginal discharge are due to a yeast infection. These treatments can include pills, vaginal creams, and vaginal suppositories. Your doctor may prescribe a medication called Flagyl if you have a bacterial infection known as bacterial vaginosis. This medication comes in a pill form or a topical cream. Read the directions carefully when you take this medication. You shouldn’t drink alcohol for 48 hours after treatment to prevent side effects.

Always take your full course of medication to ensure that the infection is gone.

Home treatment

Apply a cool washcloth or cloth-covered ice pack to your vulva for 10 minutes at a time if you experience vaginal discomfort, irritation, or swelling. You should also refrain from engaging in sexual intercourse during this time to avoid further irritation.

You can purchase an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen to treat your back pain. Topical antifungal creams that can reduce yeast infection symptoms are also available over the counter.

It isn’t always possible to prevent these symptoms. However, you can take these steps to prevent low back pain and vaginal discharge due to infection:

  • Always wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
  • Don’t use perfumed body products such as douches or deodorant tampons.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet.
  • Wear clean, cotton underwear.
  • Always use protection when having sexual intercourse.