What Are the Common Causes of Increased Vaginal Discharge?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2018
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Vaginal discharge is a completely natural and normal occurrence, but when it increases, it may be alarming to some women. Many times, such as when estrogen levels fluctuate, this is normal. Other times, increased vaginal discharge can indicate a medical problem. Certain infections and diseases, for example, can cause an increase in the amount of vaginal secretions.

One common reason for increased vaginal discharge is the normal hormone fluctuations that a woman experiences during her menstrual cycle. When estrogen levels rise, cervical glands are stimulated to create more mucus. This usually occurs during ovulation and a couple days before a woman's period. This extra mucus helps sperm travel to the uterus to fertilize the egg.

Vaginal discharge will also usually increase naturally during pregnancy. This also occurs because of a spike in estrogen levels. More estrogen is needed during pregnancy than any other time.

Certain infections also cause increased vaginal discharge. In these cases, the excess discharge is a sign of a bigger problem, and it may be an odd color or have a foul smell.

Sexually transmitted diseases also may cause abnormal discharge from the vagina. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, for instance, may produce a yellow vaginal discharge. This discharge may also have a foul odor and be accompanied by itching.


A yeast infection can also account for increased vaginal discharge. This discharge is usually thick and white. Many medical professionals describe it as being similar to cottage cheese. It may also smell bad and the area may itch.

Bacterial vaginosis refers to an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. This imbalance can be caused by douching or having multiple sexual partners. Excess vaginal discharge caused by this condition may be gray and have a strong fishy odor. It can also cause burning and itching.

Some tumors can also cause increased vaginal discharge. Cervical tumors will often cause the cervical glands to produce excess mucus. This mucus is usually white, with a creamy texture. Excess discharge caused by these growths usually does not have a strong smell.


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Post 4

So I've noticed an increase of clear to white vagina discharge. No pain or itching. It has an odd smell but not a foul smell. I haven't had sex in over nine months. Is this normal?

Post 3

@pleonasm - Well, it does say in the article that certain kinds of tumors might cause a white vaginal discharge, but women might not realize that there has been a color change if the fluid doesn't smell different. Personally, I think if you are worried about a change you should mention it to your doctor, or just get a general checkup.

Post 2

@Iluviaporos - It's worth bearing in mind that it can change over a woman's lifetime. There might also be an increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy as well.

It's just the normal cleaning mechanism of the body. The only real time it gets to be a problem is when women use cleaning products for the vagina and mess around with the pH levels there. That can cause some serious problems, including infections.

Post 1

I would say it's the consistency of the discharge rather than the amount that is really important. The amount of discharge for a woman is really similar to erections in a man. For the most part it's related to being aroused (although not always) and it's involuntary. It has to be very unusual amounts for it to be a medical issue, so I don't know if I'd ever be that worried about an increase in vaginal discharge.

If it changes color or smell or texture, on the other hand, then I would probably go to the doctor and get a check-up.

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