By the beginning of puberty at the latest, almost every woman has to deal with vaginal discharge. Every women wounder what are the causes of increased vaginal discharge? This can have a variety of causes and is in most cases harmless and even a sign of a healthy body. If there is increased discharge, many women feel insecure or even helpless.
Vaginal discharge can vary in intensity, consistency, color, and odor for a variety of reasons. The causes and possible treatments are explained below.
What is a vaginal discharge?
Every day, about five millilitres of a whitish secretion from in the vagina, which is secreted and perceived by the woman as an outflow. Normally it is odorless and creamy inconsistency.
The fluid, also known as white discharge, contains mainly rejected cells of the mucous membrane, fluid from the capillaries of the vagina, and various bacteria from the natural vaginal flora. It may also help you, Thick white sticky discharge during early stage of pregnancy.
These lactic acid bacteria have an important function in protecting the intimate area from pathogens: they ferment sugar to lactic acid and thus ensure an acidic pH value.
In this way, the vaginal flora makes it more difficult for pathogenic bacteria to penetrate and survive and makes a significant contribution to preventing infections. The daily, almost odorless discharge is therefore quite normal and even an indication of an intact vaginal flora.
What are the causes of increased vaginal discharge?
If you are concerned that your vaginal discharge may be caused by one of the causes listed below.
Fluctuations in the quantity and consistency of the discharge are noticed by many women, although this can have different causes.
Frequent but harmless causes for a strong discharge and a changed consistency of the secretion are:
- Variations due to the female cycle.
- Taking the pill
- Sexual arousal
- Taking antibiotics
A change in vaginal secretion in color, texture, quantity, or odor can also indicate a venereal disease.
|Discharge types||Possible causes|
|Thin and white-grayish with a fish-like smell||Bacterial vaginosis|
|White and crumbly||Vaginal fungus|
|Yellow-greenish or frothy||Trichomonas infection|
|White or yellow and purulent accompanied by pelvic pain||Chlamydia or gonorrhea|
|Glassy, accompanied by inflamed skin and blisters||Genital herpes|
What influence do female hormones have on the strength of the discharge?
Before ovulation, the cervix produces a large amount of secretion, which at this time has a particularly thin and spinnable consistency, which means that the discharge pulls long strings between the fingers when it is pulled apart. For many women, this discharge is an indication of the fertile days.
The contraceptive pill increases the supply of the female sex hormone estrogen to the body. Preparations with a high estrogen content in particular often lead to increased discharge from the vagina. If it’s too much then visit your gynecologist and ask her about what are the causes of increased vaginal discharge? Many women also notice a more intensive discharge during pregnancy, which is also caused by a change in the hormone balance.
In contrast, the strength of the discharge decreases due to the drop in estrogen levels during menopause. A deficiency of female sex hormones, e.g. underweight, can also reduce the amount of outflow.
Of great importance is an increase in clear vaginal secretion due to sexual arousal. This process is called lubrication and enables the penis to penetrate the vagina with little friction during sexual intercourse. During sexual arousal, strong discharge is therefore helpful to prevent pain from the penetrating penis.
Which diseases change the vaginal discharge?
Many antibiotics temporarily destroy the beneficial bacteria in the vagina, which can lead to colonization by harmful pathogens and subsequently to infections with altered discharge.
What are the causes of increased vaginal discharge? Often in combination with changes in smell, color, and consistency, can also be a sign of infection or disease. Many women find this very unpleasant.
What are the causes of increased vaginal discharge?
Here are the possible causes of increased vaginal discharge:
- Bacterial inflammation (colitis)
- Bacterial vaginosis (change in the vaginal flora due to colonization with harmful bacteria)
- Fungal infection (candidiasis)
- Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) or the lining of the uterus (endometritis)
- Inflammation of the ovaries or fallopian tubes (pelvic inflammatory disease)
- Viral infection (e.g. genital warts)
- Bacterial infections (e.g. gonorrhea or chlamydia)
- Infection with other microorganisms (e.g. Trichomonas vaginalis)
- Bacterial inflammation often results in a bad-smelling discharge of a slimy to a crumbly consistency. In severe cases, this can also be bloody.
- Bacterial vaginosis is usually characterized by a fish smell (amine smell) and increasingly thin, grey to whitish secretion.
- Fungal infections often increase the amount of discharge and lead to a crumbly consistency of the white river. Frequently, severe itching and reddening of the vagina in the area of the labia and mucous membranes are observed.
- Dangerous inflammations of parts of the uterus and ovaries are often caused by the “rising” of bacteria or viruses. Cervicitis is usually accompanied by bleeding and purulent discharge, which may be greenish.
- One of the most common viral infections in the genital area is genital warts. These are caused by so-called human papillomaviruses (HPV), which can be transmitted during unprotected sexual intercourse and often cause stronger secretions from the vagina.
- The venereal disease gonorrhea is caused by the bacterial species gonococcus and can be accompanied by increased purulent discharge.
How should one react to the changes in vaginal discharge?
If a deviation of the effluent in its smell, consistency, or color is detected, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Several factors can cause changed and increased discharge. Clarification of the causes is therefore often unavoidable.
Attention should be paid to accompanying symptoms such as itching or burning in the genital area. In case of additional pain in the abdomen or after pressure on the stomach, fever, and nausea, medical help should be sought immediately.
In most cases, it is advantageous to consult a doctor as early as possible to prevent the spread of infections.
Only a doctor can tell you what are the causes of increased vaginal discharge? He/she will make a diagnosis and decide on effective treatment options through a physical examination and questioning of the patient’s living conditions and medical history.
In addition to gaze diagnostics and abdominal palpation, swabs, urine tests, or ultrasound is often performed. Self-tests are also available at home to detect gonorrhea and chlamydia.
In most cases, the cause of the increased discharge can be found quickly and effective treatment, e.g. creams or antibiotics, can be initiated in case of infection.
How can I avoid heavy increased vaginal discharge?
Certain factors in everyday life can promote infections and lead to increased discharge. Many women are not aware of these risk factors.
The following factors can contribute to altered vaginal discharge:
- Use of tampons
- Underwear of synthetic fabrics
- Permanent use of panty liners
- Pubic hair
- Heavy sweating
- Excessive and incorrect intimate hygiene (use of strong soaps)
- Frequent sexual intercourse
What are the causes of increased vaginal discharge? The daily use of panty liners or underwear made of synthetic materials favors a moist environment and thus the proliferation of bacteria or fungi in the genital area. Alternatively, if the discharge is moderate, you should try not to use sanitary pads and wear cotton underwear that can be boiled.
Many women do not want to do without tampons during their periods. However, the use of tampons outside of menstruation should be avoided, as pathogens always enter the vagina when they are inserted.
Heavy pubic hair and overweight promote intensive sweating, which makes it easier for many germs to spread. The shortening of intimate hair and weight reduction can have a positive effect on vaginal flora.
Excessive hygiene in the intimate area leads to damage to the vaginal milieu in many women. By using shower gels or soaps, especially several times a day, the acidic pH of the mucous membrane is destroyed and bacteria, viruses, and fungi can easily multiply. Instead, it is recommended to clean the vagina with clear water every day or to switch to gentle intimate washing lotions.
Frequent sexual intercourse can also lead to increased discharge. If this is perceived as disturbing, the use of condoms can help.
Please share your comments about what are the causes of increased vaginal discharge? or let us know your personal experience.