For most women, excessive discharge is an embarrassing complaint that causes distress, discomfort and may lower self-esteem. But despite appearing out of the ordinary, having large amounts of discharge is normal at certain times in your menstrual cycle. There is up to 30 times more discharge when you’ve ovulating or pregnant due to stepped-up levels of estrogen.
If you are currently taking hormonal medication, the amount of discharge may also increase – but unless it’s pathological, this certainly isn’t a reason of concern.
There are many possible causes of excessive vaginal discharge – and we’ll be covering them below.
1. Excess Discharge When You’re Ovulating
Have you ever wondered why there is more discharge around the middle of your menstrual cycle? During ovulating, your body goes through a series of hormonal changes that ultimately result in your estrogen levels increasing substantially. Under the influence of estrogen, cervical mucus becomes abundant, clear and stretchy – an occurrence known as “spinnbarkeit.” It can make your vagina feel very slippery, sometimes feeling as if you have passed urine. Some women report large amounts of clear discharge gushing out of their vaginas and even trickling down their legs.
After ovulation, the levels of estrogen decrease while levels of progesterone increase, causing the mucus discharge to become milky white discharge that’s thicker and creamier.
2. Excessive Discharge During Pregnancy
Clear vaginal discharge during pregnancy is probably the most common complaint women have in addition to nausea and frequent urination. The effect of early pregnancy on your body (and specifically on cervical mucus) is catastrophic. With levels of estrogen increasing dramatically, the cervix softens and more watery discharge is produced. This usually happens in order to flush out bacteria and keep infections at bay, thus ensuring that your pregnancy progresses healthily and neither your baby nor yourself are at risk.
If you have been experiencing excessive vaginal discharge and aren’t currently ovulating, this may be a sign of pregnancy, more commonly if you experience breast tenderness, frequent urination, fatigue and other common pregnancy symptoms. Wait for at least ten days before taking a pregnancy test, otherwise the results may not be relevant. Blood tests are best since they are usually more accurate and can better identify the presence of hCG in your body.
Keep in mind that normal discharge while pregnant should be clear or whitish, thin or watery, and bear only a certain musky smell. If your vagina or vulva is itchy, swollen or red, or if you experience pain, discomfort or burning when urinating, you may have an infection, so make sure to call your doctor and have the issue investigated.