Understanding vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge is a common occurrence in women that involves the release of fluid from the vagina. It is usually thin and clear or milky white in color, with a slightly slippery texture. The amount of discharge can vary from woman to woman, but it is generally heaviest during ovulation and lighter at other times of the month. This fluid is produced by glands within the cervix and vagina, and its consistency and color can vary depending on a woman’s menstrual cycle, sexual activity, and overall health.
Excessive vaginal discharge
On average, a woman may produce one teaspoon of vaginal discharge per day. You may produce more than that, and it’s okay.
Here are the various possible reasons for producing excessive vaginal discharge:
- Arousal. Sexual arousal increases blood flow in the genitals, causing it to produce extra lubrication in preparation for sex.
- Ovulation. The increase in estrogen levels causes the body to produce more cervical fluid discharge.
- Hormonal changes. The changes in hormone levels as menopause approaches, as well as during the first few months of using hormonal contraception, can affect vaginal discharge. Stress, diet, and other medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also cause heavier vaginal discharge.
- Vaginal infections. Yeast infection, vaginitis, and bacterial vaginosis are known to cause excessive vaginal discharge.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis may also increase vaginal discharge.
Things to look out for
Excessive vaginal discharge — in most cases — isn’t a sign of anything serious. But if you notice the following symptoms, it’s best to get yourself checked by a doctor immediately:
- White, cottage cheese-like discharge
- A white, gray, or yellowish vaginal discharge
- A watery, yellowish, or greenish bubbly discharge
- A fishy odor that is strongest after sex or after washing with soap
- Swelling and pain around the vulva
- Intense itching
- Slight redness of the vagina or vulva
- Discomfort or pain when urinating
- Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
While some amount of vaginal discharge is normal, excessive or abnormal discharge can be a sign of an underlying condition such as a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, or sexually transmitted infection. It is important for women to pay attention to changes in their discharge and seek medical attention if they experience any unusual symptoms.
Jones, B. (November 15, 2022). Why Do I Have So Much Discharge?. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/excessive-discharge-causes-5209922
Nwadike, V. (December 23, 2019). Causes of heavy vaginal discharge. MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327379
Watson, S. (June 12, 2022). Vaginal Discharge: What’s Abnormal?. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/women/vaginal-discharge-whats-abnormal