An Introduction to Clear Watery Discharge
Vaginal discharge, at times is a normal thing and a way for your vagina to keep itself clean and free from infection. It’s normal for it to begin six months to a year before getting your first period and continue on until menopause.
It’s not normal if it’s an unusual colour (not white, clear, or yellow), smells bad, is clumpy, or accompanied by pain, itching or burning. “Normal” discharge looks like egg whites, water or milk and has a mild odor to it.
The amount and type varies throughout your menstrual cycle with changing hormone levels.
What about clear, watery vaginal discharge? Keep on reading to find out the most common causes of clear discharge, as well as when to see a doctor or other health care provider and finally, advice for how to manage it well.
Clear Watery Discharge Causes
There are a number of reasons why you might be having clear, watery vaginal discharge. Some of the most common ones to be aware of include the following:
- Sexual arousal
- Starting new birth control
- Yeast infection
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
- Before puberty
Cause #1 of Clear Vaginal Discharge: Ovulation
When you’re ovulating, you might notice that you have clear, stretchy discharge. It’s known as cervical mucus or fertile mucus.
This happens because of a peak in estrogen levels. However, it may be less watery than the discharge you have at other times of your menstrual cycle.
This clear discharge around ovulation helps to prevent your vagina and cervix from bacteria and other harmful things. It also serves to make pregnancy easier by providing a stretchy, watery environment for sperm to swim through.
Cause #2 of Clear Discharge: Pregnancy
It’s quite common to have an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge during early pregnancy as a result of skyrocketing estrogen. If you’re trying to conceive, clear discharge can be a good sign!
Clear discharge at the beginning of a pregnancy is usually normal, but can also be a sign of infection. Contact your doctor or health care provider if:
- You have any pain or itchiness, as well as increased discharge
- You have green or yellow discharge (usually a sign of an STI)
- It smells bad
- It has a cottage cheese like consistency (usually a sign of a yeast infection)
Besides just the beginning of pregnancy, increased amounts of discharge is very normal throughout your pregnancy.
If it’s more than just a little bit of discharge, it’s possible that your water has broken and the baby is coming!
Learn more about Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Cause #3 of Clear Stretchy Discharge: Sexual Arousal
When you’re aroused, your vagina becomes lubricated as a way to get ready for penetration. This may result in an increase in discharge following sex.
In addition, if your partner ejaculated inside of you, the clear/white discharge may actually be semen.
Cause #4 of Clear Discharge: Menopause
Vaginal atrophy is a normal condition for women who’ve gone through menopause. It’s basically a thinning of the walls of the vagina, and can result in an increase in clear, watery discharge.
Various symptoms can occur in the years leading up to menopause during a phase known as perimenopause. The average age this happens at is 50. You can also expect irregular periods, weight gain, hot flashes, trouble with sleep, mood swings, etc. during this stage of life.
Cause #5 of Clear Vaginal Discharge: You’ve Just Started Birth Control
Hormonal birth control prevents pregnancy by raising estrogen levels. One result of this is an increase in vaginal discharge.
It’s usually nothing to worry about as long as it’s clear or white and doesn’t smell bad.
Or, you may have just stopped birth control and your body is adjusting back to normal. This is usually a time of fluctuating hormones, and the result may be an irregular period, and things like excessive vaginal discharge.
Cause #6: Yeast Infection
If you have white discharge that’s chunky, you likely have a yeast infection. It’s basically an overgrowth of yeast in your vagina and is often very itchy. You may also experience burning.
They are best treated by your doctor, so book a quick appointment!
You can learn more about this here: Everything you Need to Know about Yeast Infections.
Cause #7: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
White-grey vaginal discharge is often caused by bacterial vaginosis (BV). It’s an overgrowth, but in this case it’s bacteria.
BV is usually not itchy, but it’ll almost always smell fishy. This condition is also best treated by your doctor.
Cause #8 of Watery Discharge: Before Puberty
Around six months to a year before someone gets their first period, they may start to produce vaginal discharge. This is a normal thing and is caused by changing hormones.
Along with vaginal discharge, things like breast buds, pubic hair, growth spurts are a sign that the first menstruation is approaching.
As long as it’s not an unusual color (brown, or green for example), doesn’t smell bad, or cause itching and burning, it’s not usually a cause for concern.
Cause #9: Breastfeeding
Although not so common, some women notice an increase in egg white like discharge during breastfeeding. This is normal and not a sign of something wrong.
I Have Clear Watery Discharge Before Period
Before you get your period, you may notice and increase in the amount of discharge. It’s usually white or cloudy and a result of the spike in progesterone during the Luteal phase of your menstrual cycle.
You can track your cycle to help understand what’s going on with things like PMS and discharge.
After a period, you may notice that your discharge is brown. This is due to old blood that has taken a long time to leave your uterus.
Learn more about a Watery Discharge Before Period
I have Clear Watery Vaginal Discharge Instead of my Period
If you experience clear vaginal discharge around the time of your period, but you don’t get your period, it could be a sign that something is wrong, or that you may be pregnant.
Some of the things that could cause this besides pregnancy include the following:
- Fibroids or Polyps
- Hormonal imbalance (progesterone/estrogen)
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Cervical cancer
As already mentioned, it’s quite normal to have some clear discharge throughout your menstrual cycle. However, if you have this, instead of your period, check in with your doctor to make sure everything is okay and to get a pregnancy test if you’re sexually active.
Clear Watery Discharge and Cramps
Some people may have clear, watery discharge as well as what seems like menstrual cramps. Is this normal, or a cause for concern?
We’ve already mentioned that you may an increase in discharge before your period due to an increase in progesterone.
It’s also not uncommon that some people experience menstrual cramps 1-3 days before their period. They then peak 24 hours after your period starts, and subside a day or two after that.
So, if you happen to have vaginal discharge before your period, and menstrual cramps before your period starts as well, this could happen to.
It’s totally normal and not something to worry about, as long as the cramps aren’t too painful.
I Haven’t Started my Period, but I Have Discharge
Around 6 months to a year before you have your first period, you may experience some small amounts of vaginal discharge. This isn’t unusual, and it’s just a sign that you’ll begin menstruating soon.
Along with discharge, you may also begin to develop breasts, grow hair in additional place (pubic region, underarms, legs), or go through a growth spurt.
I Have Excessive Watery Discharge
Okay, so your watery discharge levels have gone far beyond the normal amounts and are veering into excessive. So much so that you have to constantly wear a pad or period panties for example.
What are the reasons for this excessive discharge and is there a solution?
Reasons for Excessive Discharge
There are a number of reasons why you might have excessive discharge beyond vaginal infections, which we’ve already mentioned. Some of them include the following:
- Allergies: Have you recently switched brands of tampons, menstrual cup wash, etc.?
- Lost condom of tampons: Do you have anything in there that shouldn’t be? Just double-check, okay?
- STI’s: They can cause a number of symptoms, one of which is lots of discharge. Check in with your doctor to rule this possibility out because they can develop into some serious problems if left untreated.
- Cancer: Cervical or endometrial cancer may result in excessive amounts of discharge. Make an appointment with your doctor to rule out these conditions.
Solutions for Excessive Watery Discharge
The solution, of course depends on the cause of your excessive watery discharge. If you have left something like a tampon if for too long, take it out immediately and check in with your doctor to make sure everything is okay.
Otherwise, just a quick check-in with your doctor could work wonders for your excessive discharge issue. This condition is often quite easily treated, and of course, you should rule out the more serious problems like cancer or STI’s too.
When to See a Doctor about Clear Vaginal Discharge?
In general, clear, watery discharge is rarely a sign of a problem and not usually a reason to visit the doctor.
However, if the fluid is accompanied by itching, burning, bad smell, chunks, or abnormal bleeding, then check in with your doctor. These can be signs of an infection, or even as something as serious as cancer.
Or, as mentioned above, if you have excessive watery discharge, it may be a sign of something more serious. Check in with your doctor to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong. If you don’t, there may be further complications.
That said, if you’ve been having excessive watery discharge for years, perhaps since you reached puberty, it’s probably nothing to worry about. Your body may just naturally produce more of it than other people.
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Should I use a Douche for Vaginal Discharge?
Nobody likes the “wet feeling” in that area.
You may be tempted to use something like a douche or vaginal soap for discharge. However, neither of these things are recommended, and they may in fact make an otherwise happy vagina unhappy and lead to something like bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
These things are actually on our list of the Top Things to Never Put into your Vagina.
The reason douching and vaginal soaps aren’t recommended are that they can disrupt the pH balance of your vagina. Your vagina actually doesn’t need cleaning, beyond regular showers to maintain good, overall body hygiene.
Are there Home Remedies for Watery Discharge?
If you watery discharge, you may be tempted to try some home remedies to get rid of it. However, this isn’t always advisable!
As long as the discharge isn’t excessive, foul-smelling, a strange colour, or accompanied by itching or burning, then it’s probably just a normal thing. Interfering with some home remedies could throw off the pH balance of an otherwise normal vagina and cause some more serious problems besides normal discharge!
If you have discharge that is one of these things, then treatment, or even home remedies will depend strongly on the underlying reason for it. Please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
How to Manage Watery Vaginal Discharge?
If you’re experiencing an increase in the amount of discharge you have, you might want to know what we recommend for handling it. You may want to consider panty-liners, or period panties.
When you’re looking for pantyliners, be sure to use the unscented or organic ones. They contain fewer (or no) toxic chemicals that can irritate your skin. Here are some of our top picks:
You can also consider menstrual underwear to help deal with vaginal discharge. There are two basic kinds:
- Panties that have just a leakproof layer
- Underwear with a leakproof layer, plus absorbent padding
Which ones you need depends on how much discharge that you have. You can check out a review of our top brand of period panties here:
I Have Clumpy White Discharge
If you have discharge that is clumpy and white that kind of resembles cottage cheese, you may have a yeast infection. It’s often accompanied by itching, burning and irritation, but no bad smell.
While there are over the counter treatment options available at your local pharmacist, it’s recommended that you check in with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Self-treatment for a yeast infection can often make whatever you do have much worse.
I Have Watery Discharge that Smells Bad
If you have discharge that has a fishy smell to it, you may have bacterial vaginosis. It will often have a kind of watery discharge to it, but it can appear more yellow or grey than clear.
Usually there’s no itching or burning along with BV.
I have Green Discharge
Okay, so instead of clear watery discharge, you have some green discharge going on. This is almost always a sign that you have a problem of some kind that requires medical attention. It’s most likely an STI of some kind.
Let’s talk Vaginal Health to Avoid Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Okay, so if you’re serious about preventing vaginal discharge issues, then you’ll need to work on prevention. Here are a few quick tips to keep your vagina in tip-top shape, and avoid those visits to the doctor it at all possible. Let’s get to our advice for keeping your vagina healthy and happy.
Avoid Douches, and Soaps
Your vagina is really good at cleaning itself. That’s good news, right? It basically means that you don’t have to do anything to keep it clean.
Just say no to douches, vaginal soaps and all that other kind of stuff.
They can throw off the pH balance of your vagina like nothing else, and lead to increased vaginal infections and other problems.
Does your Vagina Smell Bad? Don’t Use Deodorizers
It’s normal for your vagina to have a strong, or musky smell at various points throughout your menstrual cycle. It’s really nothing to worry about.
However, if your vagina smells bad, there’s something going on. And, if it has a strong fishy smell to it, it’s likely bacterial vaginosis. Check in with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Whatever you do, don’t use vaginal deodorizers and feminine hygiene sprays. Like douches, they can throw off the pH balance and leave you susceptible to infections.
Get some Air Flow Going
Remember that bacteria and yeast like to grow in warm, moist environments. Although your vagina is like this most of the time, don’t help them out!
After a workout, change out of your sweaty clothes. Avoid pantyhose, or tight leggings for long periods of time.
Go commando (when sleeping?) or use cotton underwear that’s breathable. Whatever you do, try to keep things dry in that area for optimal health.
Take Regular Showers
Good hygiene is important for good vaginal health. As already mentioned, you don’t need to clean your vagina specially. However, a shower every day or two can help keep things clean. Get some water down around your vulva when you’re doing this.
Use Condoms and Practice Safe Sex
One of the causes of the vaginal discharge that you don’t want (bad smelling, itching, burning, or strange colours) is an STI. Avoid them by using condoms with all new partners. Then, only stop using them when you’re monogamous and you’ve both had a recent STI check.
Wipe from Front to Back
After going to the bathroom, be sure to wipe from front to back to avoid getting fecal matter near your vagina.
Avoid Yoni Eggs and the Ceres Stick
Okay, so may be tempted by these things because you want to increase the intensity of your orgasms, or tighten your vagina. The bad news is that they don’t work. The worse news is that they can increase your chance of vaginal infections because they’re really hard to keep clean and sanitary.
Vaginal Health Tips
Clear Discharge: Males
Okay, so you’re a guy and are having some penile discharge. Here’s the deal.
Clear discharge in males falls into three main categories: watery/clear, cloudy (containing pus), or bloody. The two most common causes are an UTI (urinary tract infection) or STI. Most people have pain during urination, the need to urinate frequently, or itching/rash.
As you might guess, the suggested treatment is to see your doctor. Discharge from your penis is not a good thing, and will often require a course of antibiotics. In case of STI’s, sexual partners may require treatment as well.
That said, some discharge during arousal is normal, and it’s known as pre-cum. It’s usually clear/whitish and amounts can vary.
Clear Watery Discharge: Have your Say!
Do you have any questions or experience with this? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.