Why Do I Have So Much Discharge?

Reasons you may produce vaginal discharge in excess

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Some vaginal discharge is healthy. It keeps the vagina clean and lubricated, and is a product of arousal and ovulation. When you have so much discharge that it feels out of the norm for you, however, it could be a sign of an infection, pregnancy, fluctuations in hormone levels, or another concern that may need treatment.

Other features of vaginal discharge can also hint that there may be an issue that needs addressing. For example, healthy discharge is clear or white and does not smell bad. With that sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it can be yellow or green and have a foul odor.

In this article, you will learn about possible reasons for excessive discharge, abnormal discharge, and when to call your healthcare provider.

The word “woman” is used here to refer to people who identify as women and have typical reproductive organs of a cisgender female. We recognize that some people who identify as women do not have the same anatomy as that depicted in this article.

Excessive Discharge Causes

There are several reasons why you have so much vaginal discharge. One is that it is simply normal for you.

The average amount of discharge a woman produces is about 1 teaspoonful (4 milliliters) per day. Some women regularly produce more than this, and that's OK. It's when the amount of vaginal discharge you have is not something you usually experience that there may be cause for concern.

Here's a look at possible causes of excessive amounts of vaginal discharge, both harmless and otherwise.


Extra lubrication or liquid is perfectly normal when a woman is sexually aroused. It’s the body’s way of preparing the vagina and vaginal opening for intercourse and making it more comfortable.

During this time, you may also notice your heart rate increase or swelling of the vulva or external genitalia. 


The average menstrual cycle usually lasts 28 to 31 days. About mid-month, a couple of weeks before your period starts, one of the ovaries releases an egg. This is when a woman is most fertile.

Around ovulation, discharge increases and thins out. It becomes more clear, slippery, and stretchy. You may notice ovulation pain in the abdomen (belly) or pelvis (between hips) during this time. 

Other Hormonal Changes

In addition to ovulation, birth control, menopause, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can all affect hormones and affect vaginal discharge.

Increased vaginal discharge is also common with pregnancy and begins a couple of weeks after conception. Amounts continue to increase as hormonal shifts prepare the woman’s body for pregnancy. 

Yeast Infection

Vaginal candidiasis, commonly called a yeast infection, is very common. Discharge from a yeast infection is usually white, thick, and chunky, like cottage cheese. It often causes itching or burning. However, up to 20% of women with a yeast infection may not have any symptoms at all.

Changes in hormones, medications such as antibiotics or steroids, excess sugar, or diabetes can increase the risk of a yeast infection. If you’ve had yeast infections in the past, your healthcare provider may recommend trying an over-the-counter (OTC) medication

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal condition for women ages 15 to 44. BV occurs when the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. The harmful bacteria take over the “good” bacteria. While BV is not spread through sexual contact, it typically occurs in sexually active women. The risk increases with multiple sexual partners.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:

  • Gray vaginal discharge
  • Pain, itching, or burning in the vagina
  • A strong fish-like odor, especially after sex
  • Burning when urinating
  • Itching around the outside of the vagina

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

Some infections are spread during sexual contact. They are referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Common STIs that may increase vaginal discharge include:

Other symptoms of STIs include:

  • Bright yellow, greenish, white-gray, or gray discharge
  • Pus-like discharge
  • Fishy or foul-smelling discharge
  • Vaginal pain
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain not associated with menstrual cramps
  • Watery or bubbly (frothy) discharge with an unpleasant odor
  • Rash or sores 
  • Burning while urinating (peeing)


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and chlamydia have overlapping symptoms and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Your healthcare provider will most likely order specific testing of your urine to make a diagnosis.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

It is always worth telling your healthcare provider about any significant changes in vaginal discharge. Though quantity alone isn't a surefire way to determine if there is an issue, vaginal discharge that has certain characteristics can be more telling.

See your healthcare provider if you have any signs and symptoms of abnormal discharge. For context, here's how they compare to the features of normal discharge:

Normal Vaginal Discharge
  • Clear, white, off-white, or pale yellow

  • Thin/watery or goopy

  • Odorless or mild/inoffensive odor

Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
  • Green, gray, or bright yellow

  • Clumpy, pus-like, frothy, or bubbly consistency

  • Strong, unpleasant odor or fishy smell

You should also see a healthcare provider if excessive vaginal discharge is accompanied by:

  • Swelling, redness, or itching around the vaginal area
  • Vaginal or urinary burnin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain unrelated to menstruation
  • Rash or sores
  • Missed period(s)

A variety of at-home testing kits—e.g., for pregnancy, pH levels, vaginal flora, and STIs—can help you determine if some of the causes excess vaginal discharge may be at play in your case. That said, any results should be confirmed by a healthcare provider.

Can Excessive Discharge Be Prevented?

Home Remedies for Excessive Discharge - Illustration by Jessica Olah

Verywell / Jessica Olah

Normal vaginal discharge cannot be prevented, nor should it be. You can, however, take steps to reduce your risk of some of the abnormal reasons for excess vaginal discharge, like infections:

  • Wipe front to back: This reduces the risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract.
  • Wear breathable underwear to key the area dry.
  • Avoid wearing tight pants.
  • Change clothes when wet, like after working out or swimming.
  • Avoid hot tubs.
  • Clean around your vaginal opening with water only.
  • Avoid chemicals from detergents, scented toilet paper, or scented feminine hygiene products (like pads and tampons).
  • Skip douching, which disrupts the normal flora in the vagina.
  • Use a barrier device such as a condom during sexual intercourse: Semen from a male can change the pH balance in the vagina, increasing the risk for yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Barrier devices also help protect against STIs.
  • Avoid latex condoms or sperm-killing gels that may be irritating to you.


Vaginal discharge is a normal part of a woman’s life and usually indicates a healthy reproductive system. Some change in the amount of vaginal discharge is normal. 

Increased discharge can occur for non-alarming, natural processes such as sexual arousal or ovulation. Abnormal discharge may also indicate infection, especially when other signs and symptoms such as a foul smell are present. A woman should be aware of her normal amount of discharge and call her healthcare provider if there are changes. 

A Word From Verywell 

Abnormal or excessive amounts of vaginal discharge are usually caused by something treatable. If excessive amounts are still occurring after treatment, talk to your healthcare provider. Don’t be embarrassed about these conversations. It is a perfectly normal conversation for them, and they will want to know so they can be of help.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it normal to have excessive discharge every day?

    What is normal differs for each woman. However, most women fluctuate in amounts throughout the month. What’s most important is to know what is normal for you and what may seem like so much discharge. If it is a change for you, call your healthcare provider. 

  • What causes excessive white discharge?

    White discharge amounts can increase with hormone fluctuations throughout a woman’s monthly cycle, pregnancy, ovulation, and sexual arousal.

  • How much discharge is normal?

    The average amount of discharge is 1 teaspoonful per day. However, it’s important for a woman to know what’s normal for her so she can detect changes.

  • Is excessive discharge before a period normal?

    Yes. A few days before menstrual bleeding (period) the hormone progesterone spikes, causing an increase in discharge. It’s usually a milky white at this stage.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sutter Health. Vaginal discharge.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaginal candidiasis.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial vaginosis.

  4. Medline Plus. Sexually transmitted diseases.

  5. Tomas ME, Getman D, Donskey CJ, Hecker MT. Overdiagnosis of urinary tract infection and underdiagnosis of sexually transmitted infection in adult women presenting to an emergency department. J Clin Microbiol. 2015; 53(8):2686-92. doi:10.1128/JCM.00670-15.

Additional Reading

By Brandi Jones, MSN-ED RN-BC
Brandi is a nurse and the owner of Brandi Jones LLC. She specializes in health and wellness writing including blogs, articles, and education.