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What Are the Common Causes of Clear Vaginal Discharge?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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Most clear vaginal discharge is considered to be normal. It is typically caused by ovulation, hormone changes, natural cleansing or sexual arousal. Clear vaginal discharge is usually not a cause for concern unless the frequency, odor or color changes.

In general, most women will experience some type of clear vaginal discharge. The normal frequency may vary between individuals. Discharge is more common around certain ages when estrogen and progesterone hormone levels begin to fluctuate. Normal clear vaginal discharge is usually odorless and colorless, although it may take on a whiter color during periods of ovulation.

One of the common causes of clear vaginal discharge is ovulation. Discharge occurs because the cervical glands become stimulated as the ovaries release their eggs. The discharge is usually clear, with a water-like consistency. It may contain some white spots and is usually odorless.

Although there is considerable variation, vaginal discharge due to ovulation will usually be most prominent about 14 days after the start of the menstrual cycle, which begins with a woman's period. Some women may notice daily discharges around the time of ovulation and others may only notice it occasionally. It is considered to be a normal part of the reproductive cycle and should not be accompanied by itching, pain or discomfort.

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Sometimes the cervix goes through natural cleansing cycles which can result in clear discharge. The reasons for this vary, but it is recommended that women do not use douche products to replicate the body's natural function. Douche products can actually lead to increased irritation and other abnormalities. As long as the discharge is not foul smelling or experienced in conjunction with pain or itching, there should not be too much concern.

Adolescents and teenagers who are going through hormonal changes may experience bouts of clear vaginal discharge. This is due to the fact that their bodies are attempting to establish a regular menstrual cycle and the cervical glands are stimulated by the changes. The frequency usually subsides once regular periods begin.

Sexual arousal is another common cause of normal vaginal discharge. The glands become stimulated in order to make sexual activity more comfortable and enjoyable. Some women may experience heavier amounts of discharge than others.

A number of vaginal infections can cause abnormal clear or white vaginal discharge. Yeast infections may result in a white, clear, or cloudy discharge that is usually accompanied by itching. There are several over-the-counter medications that can help alleviate the problem.

Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that might result in a clear or white discharge. The infection will usually cause the discharge to take on a fishy or foul smelling odor. Prescription medications will usually take care of the issue.

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Discuss this Article

anon931465
Post 4

I've been off of antidepressants for a couple of weeks and my discharge is both clear and totally off the scale like i wake up thinking I wet the bed. I still have like pretty low sexual desire and pretty much zero outcome from masturbation when I can be bothered doing it, let alone having sex with my boyfriend. I just needed to vent.

ysmina
Post 3

@SarahGen-- I think it's normal for vaginal discharge to have some odor, but it shouldn't be very strong. If it's strong enough to bother you, it could be a yeast infection. You should see your doctor. Yeast infections also cause itching, but it's possible not to have that symptom.

A yellow or brown vaginal discharge is more indicative of an infection. I had yellow vaginal discharge once and it turned out to be a urinary tract infection.

SarahGen
Post 2

Is it normal for clear vaginal discharge to have a sour smelling odor? Is this a sign of infection?

burcinc
Post 1

The presence and amount of clear vaginal discharge is definitely directly related to hormones. When hormones increase, the discharge increases and when hormones decrease, so does the discharge. This is what I've learned from my personal experience.

I did not have any vaginal discharge until after I was eighteen. I think my hormone levels started to increase at that time and I started to get thick, clear vaginal discharge on a daily basis.

And when I started taking antidepressants, my vaginal discharge decreased to almost nothing. When I stopped using antidepressants, the discharge returned. Antidepressants are said to decrease sexual desire, and based on its effects on vaginal discharge, I think it's true. I guess the medication affected my reproductive hormones.

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