How much vaginal discharge is normal?

Are you concerned that you have more vaginal discharge than normal? Are you embarrassed to discuss discharge with your ob/gyn? I have fielded many questions about vaginal discharge from several patients in the last week so I figured it was time to write a blog about it!

First, vaginal discharge is normal. All women have some sort of discharge throughout their life, some more than others. It is also normal for the amount of discharge to change throughout the menstrual cycle, peri-menopause and menopause. I do have some patients that complain that they need to wear a pantiliner everyday otherwise they soak through their underwear and other patients complain that their discharge has disappeared. So, the natural question becomes, “What is normal?”

Well, what is normal for one woman is not normal for another. Everybody has their own unique body chemistry and it is normal for that to change throughout one’s lifetime. So, if you find your underwear is wet or sticky and mostly white or clear…that is ok. If you find your discharge to be green, yellow, gray, and/or has a malodorous fishy smell that is something to be concerned about. Colorful foul smelling discharge could indicate an infection and should be evaluated by your ob/gyn.

Otherwise, if you feel you are too wet I have a couple of suggestions. You can carry an extra pair of underwear in your purse and change your underwear when needed. I am not a big fan of patient’s using pantiliners daily as they can irritate the sensitive vulvar tissue. Instead, I recommend reusable cloth pantiliners that you can wash with gentle detergent. You can do a quick google search of Mama Bear, Luna Pads or GladRags to see examples.

I hope this helps to ease your anxiety about your vaginal discharge. Again, if the discharge is colorful and smelly seek out medical attention. If not, this is your normal and there is nothing to worry about!

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