Fact Check: How to Stop Discharge Everyday

If you’re wondering how to stop discharge every day, the short answer is: that you can’t. Most of us grew up being told (explicitly or not) that vaginas are gross and need to be “cleaned” with special products, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ and your discharge is literal proof of that. 

It's OK — great, even — to have vaginal discharge every day. But if you've noticed a sudden increase in discharge or any other changes that seem unusual for your body, it's worth paying attention to. Understanding what's normal for you and what can be a sign of a vaginal infection can help you decide when to seek treatment and how to prevent potential health issues from becoming more serious.

Read on to learn more, including why you might have excessive vaginal discharge, and what abnormal discharge looks like.

What is discharge?

Vaginal discharge is an umbrella term for any fluid that is produced by the reproductive tract and comes out of your vagina. It’s made of a 2mix of cervical mucus, bacteria, dead cells from the vaginal lining (epithelium), and vaginal fluid. 

It might not sound very appealing, but vaginal discharge is a vital sign for vaginal health. Vaginal discharge serves to clear out old cells and unwanted bacteria, keeping the vagina and reproductive tract clean, and lubricated. It also serves as an important indicator of overall vaginal health and the body's ability to prevent vaginal infections.

Healthy discharge can range from clear and stretchy to white and sticky. Vaginal discharge changes in volume and texture in response to hormonal fluctuations during your menstrual cycle — that's why you might notice excessive discharge at some points during the month. 

How much discharge is normal? 

When it comes to vaginal discharge, "normal" can look different from person to person. Some people produce so little discharge that it’s barely noticeable, while others make so much that it soaks their underwear. So what's normal for your friend or sister might not be normal for you.

On average, though, most people make about one-half to one teaspoon (2 to 5 ml) of vaginal discharge daily, but this can change. The quantity of discharge you make can fluctuate depending on a few factors, including hormones. If you're on hormonal contraception, you might notice an increase in vaginal discharge. Pregnancy also leads to more discharge. Throughout the month, the consistency of discharge can also change in response to fluctuating hormone levels.

The key is understanding what's normal for you, so you can recognize any changes that might signal something's up.

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Why do I have so much discharge? 

There are several reasons why you might have a lot of vaginal discharge. For starters, it might just be totally normal for your body. Here are some reasons why you might have excessive discharge, both harmless and worth checking out.

Ovulation

The amount of vaginal discharge you produce can change throughout your menstrual cycle. When you're ovulating, you may notice an increase in discharge that has the consistency of raw egg whites. As estrogen levels peak one to two days before ovulation, your body starts producing more cervical mucus, which becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy to help sperm travel up toward the egg.

If you’re trying to conceive, keeping track of your vaginal discharge can help you figure out when you're ovulating and can get pregnant. This is called the cervical mucus method or natural family planning. If you can stretch your discharge between your index finger and thumb, it's a reliable sign that you're ovulating and have a good chance of conceiving.

Pregnancy

An increase in vaginal discharge can be an early sign of pregnancy. It’s normal to have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy, as early as a couple of weeks before conception (before you even know you’re pregnant). It’s your body’s way of preparing for pregnancy and preventing any infections traveling up from the vagina to the uterus. Pregnancy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear, or milky white and doesn’t smell bad.

Arousal

It's totally normal to experience extra lubrication or wetness when you're feeling sexually aroused. Your body is just getting ready for intercourse and trying to make things more comfortable for you. It’s worth noting, though, that arousal fluid is slightly different from daily discharge. Rather than being a daily biological function, arousal fluid is produced by glands in and around the vagina (called Bartholin glands) in response to sexual stimulation.

Infections 

Abnormal vaginal discharge can often be a sign of an infection, including a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Here are some common conditions that cause excessive discharge, and what symptoms to look out for:

  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV): grey, watery discharge that has a fishy odor.
  • Yeast infection: thick, white, clumpy vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
  • Trichomoniasis: green, frothy vaginal discharge that has a foul or “rotten” smell. 
  • Chlamydia: thick, yellow or white vaginal discharge with a strong, unpleasant odor.
  • Cytolytic vaginosis: white, watery, or clumpy vaginal discharge (similar to a yeast infection).

Can you stop daily discharge?

You can’t stop normal discharge, nor should it be stopped! It's your body's way of keeping your vagina clean and healthy. You can, however, reduce your risk of developing an infection that will lead to abnormal vaginal discharge. 

  • Don’t use douches, which can flush away the healthy bacteria in your vaginal microbiome and increase your risk of infections. Remember: your vagina cleans itself by producing vaginal discharge!
  • Use a barrier device such as a condom or dental dam during sex. Semen can change the pH balance in the vagina, increasing the risk of yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Barrier devices also help protect against STIs.
  • Get regular STI check-ups. Most STIs don’t cause symptoms, so regular screenings are the best way of catching and treating a sexually transmitted infection early.
  • Change your pad or tampon every four hours (or more often, depending on your flow).
  • Wipe front to back when you go to the bathroom and always use a new condom when switching from anal to vaginal penetration during sex. 

If you’re experiencing unusual vaginal discharge, your healthcare provider can prescribe treatment. Depending on the cause, treatment will include a round of antibiotics or antifungal medication. 

When to see a doctor

The general rule of thumb is to see your healthcare provider if you notice any drastic changes in the color, consistency, or smell of your vaginal discharge. Other signs to look out for include any vaginal itching, burning, discomfort, pelvic pain, or pain when you pee or have sex. Anything that feels out of the ordinary for your body should get checked out. 

FAQ

How can I control my daily discharge?

Although you can’t stop having vaginal discharge, you can control it by wearing a panty-liner or pad during the day. Just make sure to opt for something unscented, as fragrances can irritate the skin of your vulva. Make sure to change your liner throughout the day.

What can I drink to stop discharge?

There are no proven remedies to stop vaginal discharge, natural or otherwise. Although some people claim that eating or drinking specific things can change the quantity or smell of your discharge, there’s no evidence that this is true. Vaginal discharge is a normal and vital product of a healthy reproductive system.

Is it normal to have a lot of discharge everyday?

Yes, daily vaginal discharge is normal. It's a sign that your vagina is healthy and doing its thing. More discharge can happen when you're feeling aroused or during ovulation. But if you notice any unusual discharge, especially if it has a foul or fishy odor or if you're experiencing other symptoms, it might be a good idea to reach out to a healthcare provider.