Copious amounts of vaginal discharge are a common occurrence in both sexually active and inactive women. Usually caused by hormonal imbalances and stepped-up levels of estrogen, increased amounts of discharge from vagina occur at specific times in your menstrual cycle, and may be sometimes the result of an infection or a more serious underlying condition.
When experiencing a lot of discharge for the first time, you may get unduly distressed and look for treatment at your local doctor. But just because you have lots of discharge, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t healthy, or that there’s anything wrong with you. Keep reading to find out more about what causes a lot of discharge, and when this may indeed be a reason of concern.
The Role of Vaginal Discharge: Why Do You Have It?
Most women are unaware of what their vaginal discharge means. Since your body goes through many hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, your discharge will naturally suffer changes in color, consistency and amount.
The vagina is essentially the passage that connects your internal reproductive organs with the vulva. Glands inside the vagina and cervix produce fluid to help flush out dead skin cells and bacteria in order to keep your reproductive system healthy and prevent infections. The pH of the vagina is acidic, ranging from 3.8 to 4.5, and is maintained by organisms such as Doderlein’s bacilli, which naturally occur as part of the vagina’s bacterial flora.
Normal vaginal mucus is clear or white milky, has a relatively thin consistency, and most notably doesn’t bear any smell. Also, it isn’t accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, swelling, redness, bad odor, burning, pain or vaginal discomfort.
What Causes Changes in Your Vaginal Discharge?
If you have paid close attention to your vaginal discharge, then you have certainly noticed that color, consistency and amount change throughout your menstrual cycle. After period, the mucus is brown, getting gradually white creamy as ovulation approaches. During the middle of your menstrual cycle, your discharge is watery and slippery, with a texture that’s stretchy and similar to uncooked egg whites. After ovulation, the discharge becomes white creamy again until your period finally arrives. The cycle of changes repeats once your period stops.
What causes them? During ovulation, your body’s levels of estrogen increase, directly impacting the amount of discharge your vagina and cervix produce. As a result, you will have a lot of discharge during the middle of your menstrual cycle and during your period – but as you have probably figured out, this isn’t a reason of concern.