The average person with a vagina produces between 1 ml and 3 ml of discharge every day. In other words, discharge is normal!
“Normal” is also different for everyone and it can change over time. Vaginal discharge is healthy, so how do you know when something is amiss? If you’re feeling wet but no period has shown up yet, is it a sign that something’s wrong?
We’re here to talk about it. Read on to learn about a few common (and less common) causes of vaginal “wetness” and what to do about them.
Vaginal wetness is normal. It’s normal for you to experience different “levels” of wetness throughout your cycle. Bodies are not machines, and even small lifestyle changes or actions can influence your vagina and how it responds to stimuli.
As long as your discharge looks and smells “normal,” there’s nothing to worry about. But what is normal?
Most of the time, healthy discharge is thin and clear or white in color. During times of arousal or ovulation, it can be somewhat sticky in texture.
Ovulation can also trigger mild cramps. Cramps and feeling wet before your period might be alarming, but if ovulation is the culprit, it’s completely normal.
It can also just be sweat. Vagnal sweat is a real thing and, just like normal sweat, it’s no cause for concern.
If it’s milky and white, it could also be from your Skene glands. This fluid is for protecting your urinary tract region. Again, it’s not a cause for concern.
In short, as long as you feel healthy and there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for your changes in discharge, you shouldn’t worry.
In this case, it can be helpful to wear pantyliners or even “period panties” if you’re worried about excess discharge and how it affects your underwear.
If you feel wet like a period but nothing happens when it’s supposed to, it could be a sign of pregnancy. If it’s possible for you to become pregnant, pregnancy should always be considered as a potential culprit. In other words, if you’re sexually active and have your reproductive organs, don’t rule it out.
Cramps are common during the early stages of pregnancy. Many people mistake pregnancy cramps for period cramps, especially during cryptic pregnancies.
Pregnancy can trigger changes in vaginal discharge because it messes with your hormones and blood flow. During early pregnancy, discharge tends to be sticky and white or yellowish in color.
You may even notice mild pink in your discharge (which is called spotting).
Most of the time, pregnancy comes with other symptoms. Unusual discharge paired with a late period is enough to indicate that a pregnancy test may be in order. Other early symptoms include:
- Mood disturbances
- Frequent urination
- Tender breasts
Of course, many of these are also period symptoms! When in doubt, take an at-home pregnancy test or visit your doctor for a blood test.
Have you switched birth control methods? If so, this could be the cause of your unusual discharge.
Birth control is, in most cases, full of hormones. In many cases, birth control can cause the same symptoms that pregnancy can cause (which, again, are like period symptoms and PMS symptoms).
Birth control can also alter the timing of your period. After starting a new form of birth control, you may experience unusual periods for several months. Some people stop having their periods entirely after starting birth control.
If you’re experiencing cramping and discharge, you can’t be pregnant, and your period still hasn’t arrived, it could be your birth control!
This is nothing to worry about. If you’re not experiencing any negative symptoms, continue taking your birth control as normal. If you are experiencing negative symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider about alternative forms of birth control.
New Exercise Routine
Does your watery discharge line up with the start of a new workout routine? You may have found the culprit.
When you exercise, your body produces sweat. As we mentioned before, vaginal sweat exists, and exercising in tight-fitting clothing will cause that sweat to leak and show up in your underwear as vaginal discharge.
Exercise also increases blood flow. Your body may produce more discharge to keep itself clean during your workout. This is not a cause for concern.
Vaginal discharge during or after workouts is a sign that your vagina is doing its job! As long as there is no unusual color or smell, you’re in the clear.
When someone has endometriosis, it means that tissue similar to the uterine lining is growing outside of the uterine wall. It can trigger extreme cramps, affect your period’s schedule, and potentially change your vaginal discharge.
Endometriosis has plenty of warning signs. In most cases, it feels like a much more intense version of PMS.
People with endometriosis tend to have painful periods regardless of what they do to control them. They may experience heavier bleeding, stomach problems, and more.
If you suspect you may have endometriosis, it’s important to talk to a doctor. This condition can cause infertility and other issues. With the right treatment, you don’t have to be in pain.
Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition that disrupts the natural bacteria in your vagina. It results in bacterial overgrowth.
If someone has bacterial vaginosis, they will experience more discharge than usual. That discharge may have an unusual “fishy” smell and be grey, green, or white. It’s usually watery and thin.
BV also causes inflammation and sometimes itching.
BV can clear up on its own, but if you get it more than once, it may benefit you to talk to a doctor about your options.
Yeast infections are incredibly common and nothing to be ashamed about (despite being embarrassing). They can happen as a result of high blood sugar, antibiotics, tight clothing, or even wearing a bathing suit for too long.
The discharge from yeast infections is thick in texture and white. There may also be watery discharge alongside the thick discharge.
Some people experience pain during yeast infections while others have no other symptoms. Mild cramping can occur as well.
If you have a yeast infection, you can buy medication over the counter to alleviate it. Oral antifungals and cream antifungals are incredibly effective.
Cervical cancer symptoms can be difficult to spot. In the early stages of cervical cancer, there may be no noticeable symptoms.
As the cancer progresses, some symptoms will start to show up. Pain during sex, cramping, and unusual discharge are all potential early symptoms of cervical cancer.
Note that this is not a likely cause of your excess vaginal discharge. With that in mind, it’s important to have regular pelvic exams to make sure that you’re in good health.
Certain sexually-transmitted infections can cause excess discharge. If you are sexually active, you should be getting screened for STIs before every new partner. While condoms can help with STI prevention, they are not foolproof and infections are still possible.
Many STIs don’t immediately present with symptoms. As they progress, you may notice thick discharge with an unusual smell or color.
If you notice other symptoms, such as pain or bleeding, it’s important to visit your local sexual health clinic for a test so you can start treatment and notify your sexual partners if necessary.
What to Do If You’re Feeling Wet But No Period Starts
In most cases, a bit of extra “wetness” isn’t a cause for concern. If your discharge looks and smells normal and you’re otherwise feeling healthy, you should take note of it, but otherwise conine with your day-to-day life.
If you’re worried despite the normal appearance of your discharge, there’s nothing wrong with making an appointment with a doctor. They’ll be able to put your mind at ease.
If your excess discharge comes alongside other symptoms, make a doctor’s appointment. While it’s possible that nothing is wrong, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to your reproductive health.
Vaginal Discharge Is Normal
If you’re feeling wet but no period has started, don’t worry. In most cases, this isn’t a problem. Your vagina naturally produces discharge to lubricate itself and keep itself clean!
If you’re worried, there’s no shame in visiting your doctor.
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