Vaginal discharge is fluid that flows through the vagina to keep it clean and moist and to prevent infection. Healthy discharge is usually mucus-like and has no smell. It may be clear or milky white. In some cases, it can be sticky and have a thicker texture.
The amount and type of discharge that you experience can change throughout your monthly menstrual cycle. It can also change throughout your life, including during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Watery discharge is typical of normal, healthy vaginas. Most women have about 1 to 4 milliliters (around 1/2 teaspoon) of discharge every day during their reproductive years. You may experience more discharge when your estrogen levels increase because you are ovulating, pregnant, or using birth control pills.
Normal discharge looks like water, egg whites, or milk, and has an mild odor. If you notice any significant changes in the consistency of your discharge, it could be a sign of an infection.
Read on to learn more about watery discharge.
Causes of Watery Discharge
Vaginal discharge helps keep your vagina clean and free from infection. Healthy bacteria living in your vagina help make your secretions acidic. That acidic discharge fights off bad bacteria and clears out dead cells.
Vaginal discharge can begin about six months to one year before a girl gets her period. It’s caused by hormonal changes. If the discharge is watery, it’s most likely normal and not a sign of infection.
Clear and watery discharge can increase at any point during your cycle. Estrogen can stimulate the production of more fluids.
Is Watery Discharge a Sign of Ovulation?
You may notice more discharge when you’re ovulating. This discharge tends to be clear and stretchy, like egg whites. It may be less watery than discharge you have during other parts of your menstrual cycle.
Watery Discharge and Pregnancy
Many women have an increase in discharge during pregnancy. Watery discharge is usually harmless, but other types of discharge can be a sign of infection. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- pain or itchiness in your vulva or vagina
- a green or yellow discharge
- a foul-smelling discharge
- white, cottage cheese discharge
Changes to discharge may be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), like chlamydia or gonorrhea, or another type of infection. Bacterial and viral vaginal infections can cause pregnancy complications, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms.
If there is a rush of water, it’s probable that your water broke and you need to seek immediate care. If you’re at the end of your pregnancy, this is a normal sign of labor starting. If you aren’t yet due, this can indicate premature labor and delivery. Immediate care can increase outcomes.
Watery Discharge and Sexual Arousal
Sexual arousal can trigger an increase in watery discharge. When you’re sexually aroused, blood flushes to the vagina and triggers the release of lubricating fluids. You may notice an increase in discharge following sexual intercourse.
Watery Discharge and Menopause
You may continue to experience vaginal discharge during and after menopause. Vaginal atrophy can cause a watery discharge. Vaginal atrophy is a condition that causes the vaginal walls to thin and may occur in women who’ve gone through menopause.