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What Are the Common Causes of Vaginal Discharge with No Odor?

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  • Written By: Bobbie Fredericks
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 March 2014
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Vaginal discharge with no odor is normal and healthy. It helps keep the vagina free of infection, prevents trauma during sexual intercourse, and nourishes sperm on the way to the fallopian tubes. Normal vaginal discharge can vary in color and consistency, but should be clear, white, or tinged yellow.

Changes in vaginal secretions occur throughout the menstrual cycle. These come from both the cervix and the vaginal walls. Vaginal discharge with no odor is also a result of sexual arousal. Many women also experience increased discharge during pregnancy.

After the menstrual period has ended, thick white vaginal discharge is normal. It is also normal not to notice any discharge. Vaginal discharge is also present after ovulation, before the next menstrual period begins. Its function is to rid the body of infectious material.

Around the time of ovulation, in the middle of the menstrual cycle, most women experience abundant clear, stretchy vaginal discharge that has no odor. The purpose of this discharge is to nourish and protect sperm, so it can reach the egg released during ovulation. Normally the vagina is acidic, which is hostile to fragile sperm. The vaginal discharge produced by the cervix during ovulation neutralizes the acidity. It also provides nourishment, and is similar in composition to semen. More odorless discharge is produced by the vagina during sexual arousal. This discharge is thin and watery and protects against injury during intercourse.

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During pregnancy, more odorless vaginal discharge may be experienced. This increase is caused by increased estrogen and blood flow to the vagina. As labor approaches, thick vaginal discharge with no odor is expelled. This is a mucus plug that formed in the cervix to keep infections from entering the uterus.

If odorless discharge is abundant, a panty liner can be worn to ease the feeling of wetness. Douches should never be used, since they flush away the secretions that inhibit infections. A tampon should not be used to absorb discharge, because there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome, a serious infection caused by staph bacteria.

Vaginal discharge that has a foul odor indicates a problem. Yellow, green, or brown discharge may also be a problem, and any change in discharge should be reported to a health care professional.

Most females who have experienced puberty have vaginal discharge. After menopause, the drop in estrogen may cause this discharge to cease. This can cause itching and burning, painful intercourse, and an increased risk of infection. Women who experience a cessation of vaginal discharge should consult their health care provider.

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Discuss this Article

medic16226
Post 6

I'm 22 and yesterday, I cam home after eating. I had to pee real bad and when I looked down, I saw dark brown spotting on my undies and a little on the tissue. I'm cramping a tiny bit, but not much. I do have a big headache so I took pain pills for the headache and have a pad on and new undies just in case I spotted again. The next day, there was nothing on the pad and every time I go to the bathroom and check my pad, there has been nothing on it. Can you help me? My period was the third week of last month.

anon321761
Post 5

I also have a foul odor and it's slightly greenish in color, but I didn't experience pain in urinating, even itching or swelling. What do you think may be the cause of it?

healthy4life
Post 4

I have had several yeast infections in my life, but none of them have ever caused my discharge to have an odor. They did cause an abnormal vaginal discharge that was lumpy and white, though.

I don't know if it was all mental or what, but seeing those lumps in my discharge made me think I could feel them moving around in the vaginal canal. It itched all the way up in there, and I just had this mental picture of lumpy stuff stuck in there.

I never did notice any odor, which seems strange. You would think that something that could cause discharge that weird and that much discomfort would come with an odor.

Oceana
Post 3
It's nice to know that discharge has a purpose. I always found discharge to be annoying, but now that I know it flushes bacteria out of the area, I can appreciate it.

My vaginal discharge often causes me to wear a panty liner. During certain times of the month, it gets pretty heavy, and if I don't wear one, my underwear will get soaked. I hate wearing one though, because it bunches up when I sit down and the sticky side curls up and attaches to my skin.

StarJo
Post 2

@OeKc05 – That is strange. I've heard that fishy vaginal discharge that smells like tuna can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, but since you don't have burning or itching, that doesn't seem likely.

I normally have vaginal discharge without any odor, but sometimes, in the days following my period, I will notice an unusual smell. It's a very faint hint of the smell of menstrual blood, because my discharge still has a small amount in it.

You might want to ask your doctor about that odor. It could be some sort of bacterial infection, even if it's not one of the most common ones.

OeKc05
Post 1

For me, it seems that vaginal discharge and odor go hand in hand. I only notice the smell when I take off my underwear, but it is pretty strong.

I wish that it would go away. I always look forward to my period, because I get to wear a tampon, and that absorbs the odor from the discharge.

I don't seem to have any sort of infection. There is no itching, and I'm not in pain. I don't know why my discharge has this odor, but it seems to be natural.

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