Do You Have Too Much Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is usually a normal and regular occurrence. You may experience what a very watery or clear, slippery, egg white-like vaginal discharge a few days before ovulation.
However, if you produce too much vaginal discharge and this lasts longer than expected, should you be concerned? Is this a sign of an infection?
Before looking into possible causes of copious vaginal discharge, it may be worthwhile looking at types of vaginal discharge.
Types of Vaginal Discharge
Several types of vaginal discharge can be described based on the color and consistency of the discharge. Some discharges are normal, whereas others may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
White Vaginal Discharge
You will typically notice this type of discharge at the beginning or end of your menstrual cycle. However, if the discharge is thick and curd-like (almost like cottage cheese) and is accompanied by vulvar itching, it is abnormal.
It may be a sign of vaginal candidiasis commonly called “vaginal yeast infection.” (Read about other symptoms of vaginal candidiasis here.) You should consult a health professional for treatment.
Clear and Stretchy Vaginal Discharge
If you notice that your vaginal mucus is clear but stretchy and mucous-like, rather than watery, it may be a sign that you are ovulating. This type of discharge is a normal.
Clear and Watery Vaginal Discharge
If you have a clear and watery discharge, there’s nothing to worry about. This type of discharge is normal and can occur at any time during your cycle. Sometimes, the discharge may be heavy, especially after a workout.
Brown or Bloody Vaginal Mucus
You may notice this type of discharge especially during or just after your period. Your vaginal mucus can look brown instead of red at end of menstruation. Some women may also notice a small amount of bloody discharge between their periods (also known as spotting).
You should suspect a pregnancy if you experience spotting on your expected day of menstruation, especially if you had unprotected sex during your fertile period.
In some cases, spotting may be a sign of miscarriage during early pregnancy. In this case, you should see your obstetrician-gynecologist for management.
There are very few instances when a brown or bloody discharge may be a sign of a serious condition such as cancer of the uterine lining or cervix. Other medical conditions that may cause you to have a brown or bloody discharge are uterine or cervical fibroids or other abnormal growths.
Yellow or Green Discharge
If you experience a yellow or green discharge, especially if it is thick or accompanied by an unpleasant odor, it may be a sign that you have an infection caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Read more about trichomoniasis here.
The parasite passes from an infected person to an uninfected person during sexual intercourse.
A Normal Amount of Vaginal Discharge
During your cycle, you will notice egg white vaginal mucus 1–5 before ovulation and have egg white or watery vaginal mucus again just before your period starts.
These are the instances when you should normally experience patches of egg white vaginal mucus. If you experience more patches of fertile mucus during your cycle or if you produce egg white vaginal mucus for more than one week, it may be a sign that your hormones are off balance.
Under normal circumstances, you should experience a peak in luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen right before ovulation. Before the LH surge, your estrogen level increases and several changes occur in body fluid components, including cervical mucus and saliva.
The increased levels of estrogen also produce a change in the consistence of your cervical mucus, causing it to thin and take on a slippery consistency.
When you have a hormonal imbalance, you may have several peaks in LH and estrogen as your body repeatedly tries to trigger ovulation.
This explains why women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may notice several patches of fertile vaginal mucus throughout their menstrual cycle. Therefore, if you have PCOS, it is challenging to track your fertility using the cervical mucus method.
Women with thyroid disorders or those under stress are another group that may have egg white vaginal mucus for unusually long periods during their cycles.
When “Too Much Vaginal Discharge” Is Not Abnormal
There are instances when you may think you have too much vaginal mucus but it’s not the case.
- When you’re aroused, there is increased blood flow to your genital area, including your vaginal walls. The increased blood flow to your vaginal walls causes fluid to pass through them, making your vagina wet. If you check your vaginal mucus just before having sexual intercourse, you may confuse arousal fluid with the fertile vaginal mucus that comes before ovulation.
- While a lot of your partner’s ejaculate will leak out after intercourse, some of it, however, may remain in the vagina. You might confuse it with watery vaginal mucus. So, it is possible for you to confuse semen with your vaginal mucus even the morning after intercourse. The best way to distinguish the two fluids is to remember that semen is watery and will not stretch like fertile vaginal mucus.
How Can You Track Fertility If You Have Frequent Fertile Vaginal Discharge?
Although fertile vaginal mucus can help you know when you’ll ovulate, you may find it challenging to track your fertility if you have several patches of fertile cervical mucus throughout your cycle.
However, this method may not be very helpful if you’re trying to time pregnancy because ovulation would have occurred by the time you notice the temperature rise that occurs the day after you ovulate.
To avoid missing your fertile window, it would be beneficial for you to have intercourse when you notice the patch of fertile cervical mucus. However, if you find this stressful, you can opt to have sexual intercourse every other day, irrespective of the consistency of your cervical mucus.
Can You Use a Fertility Monitor or an Ovulation Predictor Kit If You Have Frequent Fertile Vaginal Mucus?
Fertility monitors such as Clearblue Fertility Monitor or ovulation predictor kits can make fertility tracking a breeze. However, if you’re getting several patches of fertile cervical mucus, these devices may or may not be helpful.
As mentioned earlier, increased levels of LH cause changes in your cervical mucus, which become copious and egg white-like. Ovulation predictors measure the amount of LH in your urine to help you determine whether you’ll ovulate soon.
If you’re having several peaks in LH and estrogen before you finally ovulate, you are likely to get many false positive results on the ovulation test. Thus, it may not be helpful for you to use an ovulation predictor.