Clear watery discharge-Is it normal or is it a disease?
Clear watery discharge occurs very commonly amongst many women. But, women generally tend to get worried if the clear watery discharge from their genitalia is normal or does it point towards an underlying disease.
But, not all vaginal discharges are pathologic. The majority of times genital discharge , including the clear watery discharge, is completely normal. This type of clear liquid discharge helps is getting rid of all the dead cells and also the harmful bacteria that accumulate in the female genitalia.
Do you know that not all the bacteria are harmful? There are some helpful bacteria that inhabit our bodies. Some such commensal bacteria exist in the genitalia too. The presence of clear watery discharge indicates that the genitalia contains healthy and helpful bacteria and helpful fungi like yeasts.
Do you know when clear watery discharge occurs?
Clear watery discharge occurs during many physiological conditions like during ovulation, during pregnancy and also after you have intercourse.
During such periods, clear watery discharge occurs mainly due to hormonal changes. Let us look in depth at all the causes of clear watery discharge.
Clear watery discharge during ovulation:
Ovulation occurs 14 days before the first day when your menstrual bleeding starts. Many hormonal changes occur during ovulation. Estrogen and progesterone are the two most important hormones regulating our menstrual cycle.
During the time of ovulation or just one day before ovulation, the levels of estrogen in the body elevate to high levels. This leads to the excessive production of mucus in the body. This mucus production is more than 25 times when compared to the normal mucus production in a woman’s body.
This mucus facilitates the easy passage of the ovum or egg through the genital canal when the ovum is not fertilized by a sperm. This mucus produced during ovulation is seen as a clear watery discharge. It is completely odorless just like water.
Is clear watery discharge sign of pregnancy?
Many women have this question whether clear watery discharge sign of pregnancy. Yes, clear watery discharge is, in fact, one of the signs of early pregnancy. Clear watery discharge during pregnancy is extremely common.
All the women who were pregnant at some point of time will tell you that they always had clear watery discharge throughout the pregnancy. It is definitely not a cause for concern.
During pregnancy, the blood flow to the uterus increases manyfold. Also, the estrogen and progesterone levels rise a lot in pregnancy to maintain the pregnancy properly. But, hormones have their own effects, right?
Estrogen which is increased and also the high degree of blood flow to the uterus play a role in producing this clear watery discharge. But, there is no need to worry at all. This watery genital discharge is indeed protective to your baby.
Your baby resides in your uterus which is connected to your cervix and genital opening. The female genitalia harbors many bacteria and also many pathogenic bacteria can enter your uterus through the external genitalia. So, this watery genital discharge protects your baby from all the infections that might enter your uterus through the genitalia.
But, do you know when you need to get worried regarding this clear watery discharge? You definitely need to be worried and consult your gynecologist if you experience any symptoms like redness of the genitalia, itching of the genitalia, any foul-smelling genital discharge, any streaks of blood or heavy bleeding from the genitalia, etc in addition to the clear watery discharge.
Clear watery discharge after intercourse:
All the women have clear watery discharge after intercourse. This is just a normal physiological process and it is in fact very helpful for us. Do you know why?
When we perform the act of intercourse, we need adequate lubrication to facilitate easy movement of our genital parts during intercourse. Otherwise, intercourse can become extremely painful and our external genitalia starts to become sore.
But, our body has wonderful compensatory mechanisms in it. It always tries to protect us from any type of damage. Whenever we are aroused, the glands which are present above the female genital opening called the skene’s glands and bartholins glands are activated.
These glands produce a clear watery discharge in order to lubricate the genitalia and prevent painful intercourse. You might have noticed that you will have severe pain while having intercourse if you are not lubricated enough.
This clear genital discharge continues even after you stop intercourse. This watery genital discharge occurs for about 1 to 2 hours after stopping intercourse. But, it’s completely normal. This is the time required for the bartholins and skene glands to come back to the normal pre-arousal state.
But, if you have any other symptoms like foul smelling discharge, thick mucus discharge, green frothy discharge, etc, then you might need to visit your gynecologist. This might indicate some infection of your genitalia like trichomoniasis, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
Do you know when is genital discharge a cause for concern?
Although clear watery discharge is completely normal, there are times when we have other types and colors of genital discharge. Some types of genital discharge indicate infections of the genitalia. Let us look at some of the most common types of genital discharges which should make you worried.
Cottage cheese like genital discharge:
Do you know why cottage cheese like genital discharge occurs? It is mainly due to an infection of the genitalia with a type of fungus called Candida. This infection of the genitalia is called candidiasis.
In addition to cottage cheese discharge, candidiasis also produces severe itching or pruritus of the genitalia, redness of the genital walls, painful urination, etc. You will need to be treated with antifungal genital suppositories like clotrimazole to get rid of this candida infection. Candidiasis doesn’t spread to your partner.
Thin grayish discharge:
Thin gray discharge from the genitalia is mainly caused by a condition called bacterial vaginosis. This condition is caused by a bacteria called Gardnerella vaginalis. There is also the presence of many bubbles in the genital discharge is frothy due to bacterial vaginosis or BV.
Also, the discharge is foul-smelling or has a fishy odor. Bacterial vaginosis doesn’t spread to your partner. It needs to be treated with drugs like metronidazole.
Yellowish green thin discharge:
Yellowish green or greenish thin discharge is caused by a condition called Trichomoniasis. This condition is caused by a protozoon named Trichomonas vaginalis. It also produces many other symptoms like burning urination or dysuria, redness and swelling of the genitalia and also itching or pruritus.
You need to be treated with metronidazole to get rid of this condition. This condition can spread to your partner. So, your partner also needs to be treated with a course of metronidazole.
Yellowish green thick mucopurulent discharge:
Yellowish green discharge is caused by trichomonas and also by some types of diseases transmitted by intercourse or STD’s. But, the discharge due to trichomonas is thin and that due to STD’s is very thick and mucopurulent.
The STD’s or sexually transmitted diseases causing mucopurulent thick yellowish green discharge are Chlamydia and gonorrhea. For both the conditions, your partner needs to be treated.
When to consult a doctor:
While clear watery discharge is harmless, it is absolutely essential to know when to be reassured about clear genital discharge, and when to consult a physician. Let us look at reasons for you to visit a physician.
- Whenever you find that your genital discharge has turned thick or mucopurulent.
- If your odorless clear genital discharge has turned into something like a foul smelling discharge.
- If you see any streaks or spots of blood in your clear watery discharge.
- If you find yourself itching your genitalia quite often.
- If you find it painful to urinate or have dysuria.
You have seen all the possible causes for clear watery discharge, the reasons for you to visit your physician and also about other causes of genital discharge. If you are pregnant make sure to consult your gynecologist and rule out infections that might damage your fetus or baby.
Whenever you are not sure if your clear watery discharge is normal or not, take the opinion of your doctor. Your doctor might take genital swabs and send them for culture. If the swabs turn out to be positive, your physician might treat you with drugs to cure the infections.