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What Causes Vaginal Discharge

The discharge or mucus is actually made up of large proteins called mucins and 93 percent water. The water content increases during ovulation, hence making it more slippery for sperm passage. It also contains electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, sodium; organic compounds such as glucose sugar, amino acids, proteins; trace elements such as zinc, copper, iron, manganese, selenium; free fatty acids; enzymes and prostaglandins. During ovulation, apart from carrying the sperm, it also makes the environment hospitable to sperm by being alkaline. However, during non-ovulation periods, the progesterone level is higher than the estrogen level, and the discharge or mucus becomes thicker and more acidic, discouraging the entry of sperm in a uterus without an egg.


During sexual arousal, glands near the vagina called Bartholin’s glands add additional discharge to function as lubricant for the entry of the penis. This may cause excessive vaginal discharge. This lubricative fluid contains aldehydes, pyridine, squalene, urea, acetic acid, lactic acid, complex alcohols and glycols, ketones, and water. The lubricating fluid is slightly acidic to kill germs. However, strangely, it is not hospitable to sperm which are mildly alkaline.

Watery discharge

It is normal for women to experience a heavy discharge or excessive vaginal discharge or a lot of discharge after exercise or any physical activity. It is normally a clear watery discharge. You can think of it as additional sweat.

Unfortunately, if you are pregnant, a clear watery discharge could be the sign of amniotic fluid leaking. The baby is encased in an amniotic sac which protects it. The leak should occur on or near the due date. This is the so-called “water” that breaks. If you suspect you are leaking amniotic fluid long before you are due, then something might be wrong with your baby.

Depending on other factors, the supposedly clear watery discharge of amniotic fluid may be tinged with yellow, green (presence of white blood cells fighting bacteria), pink or brown (blood cells).

Urine may be mistaken for amniotic fluid. Pregnant women are susceptible to urine incontinence due to the pressure exerted by the growing baby on their bladder. A simple involuntary action such as a cough or a laugh can easily trigger the leak. Be cautious and consult your doctor as soon as possible but do not panic prematurely.

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