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What Are the Common Causes of Thick White Vaginal Discharge?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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Thick white vaginal discharge is generally considered normal so long as its not malodorous or clumpy in texture. Some potential causes of abnormal discharge may include yeast or bacterial infections. Discharge often changes in texture and color from week to week or during times of hormonal changes.

One of the most common causes of thick white vaginal discharge is ovulation. Although some women experience clear, slippery cervical mucus during this time, many have thick white discharge instead. Both variations are considered normal in most cases, so long as the discharge is white and odorless in nature.

Other reasons a woman may experience thick white vaginal discharge include yeast and bacterial infections, also called vaginosis. Yeast-related vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of naturally occurring organisms found inside the vagina. Symptoms may include thick, white, clumpy discharge as well as itching and localized irritation. Treatment usually includes an antifungal medication applied directly into the vagina.

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth in bacteria which are found in the vagina naturally, although occasionally outside pathogens may also cause problems. Discharge is often yellow or green, but sometimes a thick white vaginal discharge may also be noticed. Itching, irritation, and a foul odor are also commonly present. Antibiotic medications, delivered vaginally or orally, are the most common treatment for this condition.

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Pregnancy may also cause thick white vaginal discharge, although this varies from woman to woman. As hormones change and fluctuate during pregnancy, discharge may become thicker and more abundant, and may alternate between clear and white. Sometimes yellow discharge is also considered normal, but this should be checked by a medical professional because it could also signal an infection.

Any vaginal discharge which is accompanied by itching, irritation, or swelling should be checked out by a licensed medical professional. Many times it will be due to a minor infection, but sexually transmitted diseases often exhibit similar symptoms. If vaginal discharge increases beyond what is normal for a woman’s body, whether or not additional symptoms are present, she should seek medical advice.

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Discuss this Article

MrsPramm
Post 3

Please remember that it's possible to pass a vaginal infection onto your partner, even if it doesn't seem like he could get one. And he might not have any symptoms either, except that you will keep getting your infection back every time you have sex with him.

If you have an infection, talk to your doctor about getting medication for your partner as well, and stick to other forms of intimacy until you both get the all clear.

browncoat
Post 2

@irontoenail - It's not always a problem though. I think a lot of girls panic because they never get to ask the question "is vaginal discharge normal?" It's not something that gets taught in science class, unfortunately, even though it would be among the most practical science they could be taught.

I have had female friends be absolutely startled by things their bodies have done over the years that were absolutely normal, but they had just never been told about them.

In some ways I think it's getting better, simply because girls know to look online now and they find information on themselves and what is normal and what could be a problem.

irontoenail
Post 1

Even if you don't have itching or irritation, or if you have an odorless vaginal discharge that just looks different from usual, I would still go and get a check-up. Go to the family planning clinic if you can't afford a doctor.

If nothing else, it could be a sign that you are pregnant. And that happens all the time, even if you are using protection. Or it could be an early warning sign of something else. It's always better to know.

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