Vaginal discharge is secreted as a white liquid from glands in the cervix and the vaginal wall. This flushes out dead cells and bacteria from the genital area, helping to prevent infections. It plays an important physiological role, but for many women, it also has a strong psychological significance, especially when the color, consistency and amount of vaginal discharge changed significantly. Therefore, excessive vaginal discharge can always be a concern. Is it really a problem?

Excessive Vaginal Discharge: When to Relax

In the vast majority of cases, the "excessive" discharge is just the body’s reaction to physiological changes. It's commonly seen at ovulation, in pregnancy (especially at the early stages), whenever there are imbalances in the levels of progesterone hormone, and during sexual arousal.

Sexual Excitement

During sexual arousal, the vagina secretes a clear or cloudy fluid for lubrication to make sexual intercourse easier and more pleasurable for both partners. It can also stop condoms from breaking. The vaginal secretions during arousal may lead to excess discharge, compared with what women normally experience. If you think that you’re not producing enough vaginal discharge for sex, try increasing the time you spend on foreplay with your partner. Alternatively, there are many water-based lubricants on the market designed to mimic your natural secretions and increase your enjoyment of sex.


Ovulation is the term used when an egg (ovum) is released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, ready for fertilization. To aid sperm in locating the egg, the cervical glands release mucus into the vagina. About two weeks after the first day of menstruation, women frequently notice an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge they are producing. The increased vaginal lubrication during ovulation also makes sexual intercourse easier, further increasing the chance of pregnancy.

Progesterone Imbalances

The hormone progesterone stimulates the increase in vaginal discharge seen both at ovulation and during pregnancy. However, spikes in progesterone levels causing excess discharge can occur at other times. For example, oral contraceptives containing progesterone can trick the body into thinking that it’s pregnant, therefore increasing vaginal secretions. If this is causing you problems, speak to your doctor or pharmacist to see if you can change your birth control medication to another formula.


Excessive discharge is often seen in early pregnancy due to rises in progesterone levels combined with an increase in vaginal blood flow. The fertilized egg is protected by the excess discharge, and can safely develop in the moist uterine environment. As the pregnancy progresses, women usually see decreased discharge, but this is not always the case. In fact, the excess vaginal discharge can continue even after the birth. Although whitish or clear discharge in pregnancy is common, a pink or red color indicates that there could be a problem, so see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Excessive Vaginal Discharge: When to Worry

Although excess discharge is usually normal, there may be times when it could indicate something more serious, such as an infection or a vaginal/cervical tumor.

Yeast Infection

If you have a yeast infection, the discharge will usually appear thick and white in color, similar in consistency to cottage cheese, and may have an unpleasant smell and be excessive. You may also experience vaginal itching. Yeast infections occur due to an over-abundance of Candida yeast, and this can be easily treated with antifungal medication.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Imbalances in the vaginal bacteria can lead to a condition known as bacterial vaginosis. This may cause the excessive vaginal discharge that is grayish, and has a strange fishy smell. Patients may also get a burning or itchy sensation. Although up to one in three bacterial vaginosis cases get better by themselves, women who have symptoms or who are pregnant should see a doctor to prevent any complications from the infection.


Changes in the amount of vaginal discharge may be a result of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). For instance, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections can lead to yellow-colored discharge. The discharge can have a foul smell and patients may also feel itching. STDs are very common, with more than half of the entire population suffering from one at some point in their life. There are many sorts of sexual infections and disease, but most of these can be treated if you speak to a doctor to get the correct diagnosis. To defend yourself against catching an STD, make sure that you always practice safe sex using barrier protection.

Cervical Cancers

In some cases, the excessive discharge is due to cancer. Tumors frequently stimulate glands in the cervix to generate more mucus, which is usually white-colored with a creamy consistency, although it doesn’t normally have a marked odor. The main risk factors for developing cervical cancer include losing your virginity at an early age, having multiple sexual partners, smoking, taking oral contraceptive medication frequently, and infecting with the human papilloma virus (HPV).


If you see any change in the vaginal discharge and worry about it, make an appointment with a gynecologist, so he or she can perform a thorough assessment for your condition. A diagnosis of a urinary tract infection means that the problem can easily be treated with antibiotics. Women over 25 are often advised to have a cervical (pap) smear, to screen for cervical cancer.


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  • KellyNov.10 22:35
    Recently my discharge had been getting VERY heavy and it's white/yellowy but I think it's the right consistency. I'm worried about the color and recent increase in it????
  • Anonymous Sep.14 15:25
    I've had an increase in discharge lately and it is very watery and clear and I can feel that and following is a thick white discharge should I be worried or make an appointment with my gynecologist? I have had 3 sexual partners and have had a check up to make sure I am STD free.
  • AnneAug.4 05:18
    For a few days now there has been a small cut that stings when I go to the bathroom.. Recently, another identical cut has made an appearance. I have also noticed that there has been an excessive amount of discharge that ranges from thin and almost water-like to thick and gooey. There are a few small red bumps on my pubic area (could possibly be razor bumps as I had shaved a few days ago). I am a virgin and my period ended about two weeks ago. I'd rather not tell my parents or a doctor about it. I don't know if this helps much but does anyone have an idea what's going on??
  • KhushiJul.12 17:46
    I m 19 years old...i hv been hvng discharge problems since i was 15...i get too much white discharge... Sometimes its creamy milky and sometimes its like cough...sometimes it appears yellowish also...and yes it stinks very badly...i have not lost my virginity yet...i am fed up of this problem...someone plzz help me
  • aimeeFeb.9 18:17
    Im scared, I cant diagnose myself. I did lose my virginity when I was 15 I was with the guy for over 2 years. I also have had a total of six partners. I am now 21 I have been checked for STDS (only by urine) would it make a difference if I got blood work... I have had pap tests also. most ive had was a yeast infection once. I also have had all my needles in grade school. I dont take birth control at all, as my boyfriend and I want to have a baby within the next year or so. I just want to find out if i am having too much vaginal discharge. Its clear, than a milky white and it even sometimes will look like cottage cheese, but there is no smell to it at all. Someone please help me !!
  • Skyler PowellOct.11 16:10
    "The main risk factors for developing cervical cancer include losing your virginity at an early age, having multiple sexual partners, smoking, taking oral contraceptive medication frequently, and infecting with the human papilloma virus (HPV)." Cervical cancer is not caused by sexual activity. Stating that cancer is caused by having sex at an early age, with multiple partners, or with the added protection of birth control, shames your readers. It made me feel bad about the beautiful experiences I have had with people that I love. Your goal, I'm sure, is to scare young girls into thinking about it before they have sex with just anyone, but the result, more often, is shame felt by people like me. I used to fear sex so much that I couldn't feel any pleasure. It took a lot of love by people close to me and a lot of learning to love myself before I felt comfortable cuddling with people. Please consider modifying your causes of cervical cancer to reflect scientifically accurate findings. Please reconsider the thought that sexual activity in women causes cancer. I guarantee women have been sexually active early, often, and with far riskier forms of protection since we became sentient.
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