Aqueous vaginal discharge can change in consistency, color, quantity, and odor. These changes depend on your menstrual cycle, flow, sexual activity, contraceptive and other medications, and existing diseases. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause also play a crucial role.
All women have a vaginal discharge. The fact that the vagina continuously secretes a whitish and odorless secretion (so-called white discharge) in small quantities is one of the normal female body functions. Only under certain circumstances is the discharge pathological.
The normal vaginal discharge consists of cervical fluid and cells of the vaginal mucosa. The vaginal discharge contains many lactic acid bacteria that create an acidic environment and thus prevent invading pathogens from multiplying in the vagina.
The quantity of vaginal discharge differs from female to female. Besides, the amount of vaginal discharge varies during the female cycle.
Under the influence of the sex hormone estrogen, vaginal discharge increases shortly before ovulation and before the onset of menstruation. Besides, towards the middle of the cycle, a rather thin and transparent vaginal discharge is typical, while the discharge shortly before and after the period is more viscous.
However, a vaginal discharge that is altered in its nature can be an indication of a disorder: Examples of this area;
- More watery,
- Foamier or
- Crumbly discharge,
- A purulent or bloody discharge and a brown or greenish discharge from the vagina.
Other symptoms often accompany an altered discharge from the vagina: for example, itching, swelling, redness, pain when urinating, or an unpleasant odor.
In the case of such a changed discharge from the vagina, it is in any case advisable to consult a doctor to clarify the causes of the change.
This is especially true in the case of unusual vaginal discharge during pregnancy: Is discharge during pregnancy normal or dangerous? If a pregnant woman has an inflammation of the vagina (as is often the case), diagnosis and therapy should be made as soon as possible. Because in very severe cases of vaginal inflammation, a miscarriage can be the result if no treatment is given.
Aqueous vaginal discharge after ovulation
Ovulation normally takes place between days 11 and 21 of your menstrual cycle. You may notice an increase in discharge during ovulation. This discharge is normally transparent and flexible, like protein. Just before your period, the discharge may become white and cloudy.
Aqueous vaginal discharge after your period
After your period, the discharge often looks brownish. As already mentioned, the reason is that the old blood is expelled from the vagina. Once it has left the body, you may have no discharge for up to four days.
Aqueous vaginal discharge during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body goes through many hormonal changes. As a result, you may notice changes in your discharge just two weeks after conception. At a later stage of pregnancy, when your baby’s head is pressing against your cervix, you may notice more discharge and streaks of mucus with some blood called “drawing.”
It’s a very early sign of labor, and you should contact your doctor. Normal discharge or leukorrhoea is thin and transparent, has the consistency of a protein, a slight odor, and does not soak through an insert.
Transparent, watery discharge and cramps
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these unusual types of discharge, especially if it is accompanied by cramps and occurs during pregnancy.
- With yellow, grey or green color
- With redness, sores, itching, or swelling in the vaginal area.
Cramps and abnormal discharge may be signs of infection or disease that may cause premature labor or other complications during pregnancy. You should contact your doctor or midwives if you notice any of these.
In most cases, a watery discharge is not a cause for concern—vaginal discharge changes naturally during different stages of life: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Be aware of unusual odors, colors, or textures of your discharge as they may be a sign of illness.
Aqueous vaginal discharge Causes
Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni from Pexels
There are many different causes of Aqueous vaginal discharge.
A certain amount of vaginal discharge is completely normal and is not a cause for concern. During the female cycle, the amount of vaginal discharge fluctuates due to hormonal causes. Besides, stress or sexual arousal can temporarily cause increased vaginal discharge.
However, if the Aqueous vaginal discharge changes, the causes can also be pathological. A changed vaginal discharge is often a sign of:
A bacterial vaginal inflammation (colitis), in which a watery, slimy, purulent, foamy, crumbly or bloody and often foul-smelling vaginal discharge can occur.
Bacterial vaginosis in which a grey-white, thin and usually unpleasantly fishy smelling discharge can develop,
A fungal infection (candidosis), for which a strong whitish-crumbly discharge from the vagina is typical, or
Gonorrhea, in which an aqueous discharge from the vagina can occur.
Viruses (e.g. herpesviruses) or other microorganisms (such as the flagellate Trichomonas vaginalis in trichomoniasis) can also cause a vaginal infection with vaginal discharge. Besides.
Vaginal discharge can have other causes such as:
- Inflammation of the external sexual organs (vulvitis)
- Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis)
- Inflammation of the uterine mucosa (endometritis)
- Genital warts
- Inflammation of the ovaries or fallopian tubes (ovary inflammation)
In most cases, an altered vaginal environment, which promotes the development of infections or sexually transmitted diseases, is behind an altered discharge from the vagina.
Possible causes for a changed vaginal environment include
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
- Excessive or incorrect intimate hygiene
- Latex allergy
- Mechanical irritation by a foreign body (e.g. forgotten tampon, spiral)
- Antibiotic Therapy
- Taking the contraceptive pill
- Diabetes mellitus
- Stress or psychological strain
- Benign or malignant tumors of the vagina or uterus
- Genital tuberculosis
Here are a few useful tips to keep your vagina and your discharge healthy:
- Wear breathable clothing and underwear
- Change your underwear regularly
- Wipe your vagina from front to back to avoid contamination
- Consider using panty liners, bandages, or menstrual underwear to control your discharge
You should always contact your doctor or midwives if you notice anything unusual Aqueous vaginal discharge, especially if you are pregnant.
If you have any personal experience or advice on Aqueous vaginal discharge, please comment or e-mail us.