Vaginal discharge is a very normal and common phenomenon that every woman experiences each month. The discharge is produced by glands in the cervix or glands in the walls of the vagina.
The function of discharge is to wash away dead cells from the vagina and as well as prevent bacteria and germs from getting to the womb through the cervix.
The color, consistency and texture of your discharge is largely dependent on what stage of your cycle you are in.
But you may be worried if you have excessive discharge coming out of your vagina.
Normal Causes of Excessive Vaginal Discharge
Ovulation is the release of a matured egg from one or both ovaries. It usually happens around mid-cycle, between day 14-16. But it varies according to the the length of your cycle and from woman to woman.
It is normal for women to have an increased vaginal discharge a few days before ovulation. This is usually a sign of ovulation approaching for many women.
Around 5 days to ovulation, you start producing white cervical mucus that get slippery as you get to ovulation.
The production of increased cervical mucus around 7-10 days after your period has ended usually signify you are in your fertile window.
On your most fertile day of the month, you produce a a very slippery cervical mucus during ovulation. This egg white cervical mucus helps the sperm in travelling through the cervix to the fertilise the egg.
The increased discharge produced during ovulation is called a fertile cervical mucus.
After ovulation, you have a reduced CM which signifies you are no longer in your fertile phase.
2. Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance is a situation in which a woman has too much estrogen and low or no progesterone to balance out the effects of excessive estrogen.
Having to much estrogen than required leads to excessive vaginal fluid.
The discharge caused by hormonal imbalance can be thick white or clear watery vaginal discharge.
If you have lots of discharge that is not itchy or smelly, still see your doctor, to determine the root cause of discharge.
Estrogen is mainly produced at the ovaries. And also produced in the fat tissues and adrenal glands. The main function of estrogen hormone is to get the female reproductive organs ready for conception and pregnancy.
Because estrogen is one of the key hormones that controls the menstrual cycle. Having too much of it may lead to abnormal or too much discharge.
3. Progesterone Imbalance
Progesterone and estrogen are the two main female sex hormones that controls the female menstrual cycle.
They are both required in the right quantity at different phases of your menstrual cycle. One of the symptoms of low progesterone is excessive vaginal secretion.
Other symptoms of low progesterone are:
- Mood Swings
- Perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Spotting between periods
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause excessive white discharge. A milky white vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy and usually serves as a first sign of pregnancy. This discharge is known as Leukorrhea.
Not all women experience excessive milky discharge in early pregnancy.
After conception, the level of estrogen and progesterone hormones continues to rise throught out pregnancy to support the growing baby.
You should be worried if the discharge is itchy or smelling or causes pain during sex or while urinating.
Abnormal Causes of increased Vaginal Discharge
You should be worried if you have any of this discharge and you should see the doctor immediately.
1. Yeast Infection
Yeast infection occurs when there is too much candida albicans present in the vagina. Candida albican is a family of yeast that is found in moist places in the body. For example in the vaginal or in the mouth.
When there is too much of this yeast than required, it leads to a fungus infection called candidiasis or yeast infection.
The symptoms of yeast infection are:
- Thick, clumpy white discharge that resembles cottage cheese
- Vaginal Itching
- Vaginal irritation
- Burning sensation while peeing
2. Bacterial Vaginosis
Every woman's vaginal has got a reasonable amount of bacterial in it to keep the yeast in control and in check.
Bacteria Vaginosis is an infection that happens when there is too much bacteria in the vagina. The very common symptom of BV is a very Strong fish smell.
If your vaginal smells fishy then you mostly likely have bacterial vaginosis.
The vaginal odor is usually very obvious after sex.
Other symptoms of BV are:
- Abnormal discharge that if greyish, yellow or green in color
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease(STD) caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis.
Symptoms of Trich are:
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Vaginal itching
- Painful urination
- Pain during and after sex
4. Cervical Cancer
One of the symptoms of cervical cancer is an abnormal pale, watery, brown smelly discharge or bleeding.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Women with cervical cancer may experience watery of bloody vaginal discharge from time to time.
is excessive discharge a sign of pregnancy?
Some women experience excessive white discharge around the time they are expecting their periods. This usually serve as an early pregnancy discharge. But not all women experience this white, milky discharge. So you may still be pregnant and not have a lot of white discharge at the beginning of your pregnancy.
But as your pregnancy progresses you start to have different types of vaginal discharge. You should be worried if your discharge has a odor or causes swelling of the vulva or itchiness.