#vaginal secretions
20 April 2008

I have clear white liquid coming from my vagina, and I missed my period last month

I’m a 36 year old married woman. Last month I did not have my monthly period, due to the tension related to my father-in-law’s death, but later it came when I took medicine from a doctor. After one week of my period, a clear white liquid has been flowing slowly from my vagina. What is it? It’s happening when I don’t think or feel anything sexual. Can you give me some advice?

Lorin Young

Hi Anshu – thank you for your question.

Thank you for your question. Clear or light white vaginal secretions (liquid or discharge) are generally normal. The secretions are a slightly acidic mucous-like material that are produced to keep the vaginal canal clean of dead cells and bacteria. For 1 week after their period, some women may have a slightly thicker discharge than normal, though most people with vaginas notice a decrease in the amount of discharge.

It is also very common to have an increase in secretions at the time of ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary). However, it is unlikely to be this if your menstruation (period) had occurred only 1 week prior. This discharge is present because the consistency of the vaginal fluid actually changes in order to make it a more hospitable environment for sperm.

Another possibility is that this is a Candida infection (yeast infection). These are very common infections and are easily treated with anti-fungal medications. With a yeast infection, the vaginal area may be reddened and itchy, as well as having patchy white discharge. However, there may only be an increase in discharge, though it is often creamier and thicker in consistency.

During pregnancy, vaginal discharge increases. However, if you had been bleeding for 1 week and than started to have this discharge, it is highly unlikely that you are pregnant.

Normal discharge does not smell or cause any irritation of the vaginal area. If your discharge smells fishy or foul, is itchy, greenish, has blood in it, or if you have any vaginal sores or ulcers, than you should see your doctor to rule-out the presence of an infection. As well, if you find that sex is painful or if you have had unprotected sex (without a condom) with someone who may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), than you should see your doctor. Some of the sexually transmitted infections that can present this way are trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. It is important that you are treated if you have either of these.

Bacterial vaginosis generally causes a fishy smell and an increase in discharge. It is not an infection that you catch from a partner, but rather an imbalance in the bacteria that are present in your genitals. This is treated with an antibiotic.

Again, this is most likely to be normal vaginal discharge. However, if you have any of the symptoms listed above or if you remain concerned, you should see a doctor.

Best of luck, and please write back if you have other questions or concerns,

Take care –

-L. for Alterheros