What are the common causes of increased vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge is completely natural and normal, but when it increases, it can be alarming for 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 illnesses, for example, can cause an increased amount of vaginal secretions.

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

Vaginal discharge will also usually increase naturally during pregnancy. This also occurs due to an increase in estrogen levels. More estrogen is needed during pregnancy than at any other time.

Certain infections also cause increased vaginal discharge. In these cases, excessive discharge is a sign of a larger problem, and it may be an odd color or have an unpleasant odor.

STDs can also cause abnormal discharge from the vagina. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, for example, can cause a yellow vaginal discharge. This discharge may also have an unpleasant odor and be accompanied by itching.

A yeast infection can also explain the increased vaginal discharge. This discharge is usually thick and white. Many medical professionals describe it as 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 often cause the cervical glands to produce excess mucus. This mucus is usually white, with a creamy texture. The excessive discharge caused by these growths usually does not have a strong odor.

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