February 25, 2010

Causes of Watery Vaginal Discharge In Women

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Vaginal discharge is the secretion from the cervix and the vagina that consist of mucus, old discarded cells and bacterial flora from the vagina. If you are of childbearing age, certain quantity of discharge from the vagina is to be expected. If the discharge is clear or white in color and is odorless, it is just your body’s normal way of producing mucus to clean itself and maintain the health of the vagina by fighting off the fungal infections. This type of clear, watery, thin discharge may lead to a feeling of wetness around the vagina at worst but does not cause any itchiness or soreness.

The mucus or discharge produced will depend on the levels of hormones in your body and can change at various points during your period or menstrual cycle. There may also be variations in the consistency of the discharge where on some days the mucus produced is water-like and on another it is thicker and creamy. During the time of ovulation, discharge tends to be thicker and more gel-like in consistency to increase the chances of conception and pregnancy. Other reasons for an increase in the amount of normal vaginal discharge include stress, sexual excitement, breastfeeding or pregnancy.

What is considered an abnormal vaginal discharge?

  • Has the color of the discharge changed?
  • Has the consistency become heavy or more liquid-like?
  • Has the amount increased suddenly?
  • Is there a bad smell?
  • Do you have any other symptoms such as itchiness, soreness, bleeding in the vaginal area or do you experience pain in your abdomen?
  • Do you have blisters or lesions around the vulva or vagina?

These are all warning signs of an infection in the body that requires immediate medical treatment.

Common Causes:

  • An infection is the main cause of any abnormalities in your vaginal discharge. Infections such as thrush, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea or chlamydia, and genital herpes affect the healthy balance of yeast or bacteria in your vagina and lead to abnormal secretions.
  • If you have not yet reached puberty and suffer from a vaginal discharge, speak to your doctor at the earliest, as this may be an indication of some obstruction in the vagina.
  • There have also been cases where a forgotten tampon may cause an infection and lead to abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Certain medications may increase the amount of vaginal discharge produced.
  • Products such as soaps, lotions, detergents, spermicides, condoms, diaphragms, and vaginal lubricants can also cause irritation of the vagina.
  • Vaginal discharge is rare in post-menopausal women. In such cases it is necessary to rule out the possibility of cervical or endometrial cancer immediately.
  • There are changes to your vaginal discharge during pregnancy. During early pregnancy, more of a watery vaginal discharge is common. Tinges of pink in the discharge in early pregnancy are considered normal unless it is accompanied by pain, an excessive flow of discharge that may turn red, and cramping. These are all indications of a possible miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy and require immediate medical attention.
  • If you notice a watery vaginal discharge that is brown in color, implantation bleeding may be the reason. This happens when the fertilized egg implants in the walls of the uterus. Brown colored discharge may also indicate the release of old blood from the uterine walls and is considered normal. However, additional symptoms such as cramps and pain may be due to an ectopic pregnancy.
  • In rare cases, abnormal vaginal discharge may be a sign of a tumor or a malignant growth and cervical or vaginal cancer.

Tips for Prevention:

  • Keep the area dry and clean.
  • Avoid heavily scented and harsh soaps and lotions for the genital area.
  • Avoid practices such as douching as this may irritate the lining of the vagina and increase the amount of vaginal discharge. Douching may even lead to infections that worsen the situation as well.
  • If you do have a vaginal yeast infection, treat it with a vaginal suppository or yeast infection creams that are easily available over-the-counter.
  • Include yoghurt with live active cultures into your daily diet to prevent recurring yeast infections. Alternatively you could consume Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets to stay away from yeast infections if it is caused from consumption of antibiotics.
  • Practice safe sex by using a condom to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
  • Wear loose fitting cotton underwear and clothes to increase absorbency and encourage airflow.
  • Use sanitary pads as against the use of tampons if you are prone to infections.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control as high blood sugar levels can increase the amount of mucus produced by the body.
  • Have regular check ups for STIs and stay aware of the symptoms that could affect you.
  • Most causes of vaginal discharge can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics that your doctor will prescribe for you. Therefore it is important that you keep your doctor informed on any abnormal signs that you notice.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003158.htm