Dr. Kate: Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City who answers your medical questions here once a week. To ask her your own question, click here.

One of the most common concerns I hear from patients is about their vaginal discharge. “I have an infection…I’m too wet…I’m too dry…I’m dripping all the time…” Some women come into my office multiple times a year because they’ve noticed a change in their secretions. But vaginal discharge is a good thing — it’s actually a sign of a healthy, working vagina.

What vaginal discharge means:

  • Your vagina is keeping itself clean, just like when your skin sheds cells all day long.
  • Your vagina is keeping itself lubricated, so it doesn’t stick to itself (ouch).
  • Your vagina is actually protecting itself from infection, by forming a slippery barrier between you and the outside world.

What vaginal discharge doesn’t (necessarily) mean:

  • You have an infection. I promise, most vaginal discharge is normal, especially when it changes throughout your cycle: from white and thick, to clear and stretchy, to downright watery.
  • You’re not keeping yourself clean. Discharge has NOTHING to do with how often you wash or shower.

Okay, what discharge MIGHT mean:

  • You’ve developed a non-STD infection, like bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
  • You’ve caught an STD, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomonas.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You’re on the birth control pill.
  • You’re sexually aroused.

So what should you worry about? Changes such as color, consistency, amount, and/or smell of your vaginal secretions that are not like your normal monthly changes. Abnormal vaginal discharge may also come with itching, soreness, rash, a burning sensation when peeing, or pain. If you have any of these symptoms, see your gyno for an exam.

Do any of you have discharge worries?

— Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate of Gynotalk is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. 


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19 Comments on "Dr. Kate: Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls"


Alyssia
3 years 3 months ago

Dr.kate , I’m really worried the past couple of days I’ve had very thick white cottage cheese like discharge with no smell but very bothersome itching and burning I’m not on birth control and have been sexually active the last couple of days without a condom…could this be an STD or yeast infection?

6 years 17 days ago

Jeana, as a gyno, I have to say I don’t think there’s such a thing as too wet during sex! Such abundant lubrication means that you’re incredibly turned on, and your body is really ready for intercourse – both good things. You don’t need to stop in the middle of sex…you can experiment with different positions if you want to try for a tighter feeling during intercourse…try keeping your legs together when he enters you. But lubrication really is a good and healthy thing.

6 years 22 days ago

vagina too watery during sex I have to stop in the middle to dry it out. Is it normal? Not only i have to dry my husband penis out.

6 years 22 days ago

vagina too watery during sex I have to stop in the middle to dry it out. It is normal?

6 years 2 months ago

Jean,
If the only time you feel burning is after sex, it may be a reaction to the lubricant or condoms you’re using. If you’re not using either, try urinating both before and after sex to see if it makes a difference.

A lot of lubrication is a GOOD thing! Don’t worry about the mess (tuck a towel under your bum if you’re really worried) – plenty of lubrication tends to lead to better sex for both of you.

And everyone over the age of 18 should see a gyno every year, whether or not you’re on birth control – an exam may not always be needed, but it’s important to discuss your medical and sexual history with someone who can help keep you healthy.