Read below about clear vaginal discharge, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your clear vaginal discharge from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Clear Vaginal Discharge Symptoms

Don't feel alarmed or embarassed to be researching this topic, most women have some level of vaginal discharge and it is considered a normal bodily process. However, what characterizes normal vaginal discharge is usually that of clear or white color. Some women discharge daily, while for others, it is more intermittent. Probably no one will describe it as a pleasant experience, yet it is usually nothing to worry about. Even still, it is a good idea to take vaginal discharge seriously and be mindful of its occurrence.

Clear vaginal discharge symptoms may include:

The vagina naturally produces mucus that can often discharge. Discharge also includes skin cells and normal secretions. Typically, this discharge is clear or white and is common, particularly in women of childbearing age. Age, menstrual cycle, taking oral contraceptives, and being pregnant can all affect the amount of normal clear vaginal discharge. Conversely, taking antibiotics, douching, and having sex can be negative influences on discharge. Increases in the amount of discharge or, more importantly, changes in the color, smell, and condition of the vagina can be a signal of larger issues.

Understanding your body and monitoring vaginal discharge is an important step toward identifying a problem. Relating clear vaginal discharge symptoms to the cause can also be critical.

Clear Vaginal Discharge Causes Overview

There are several factors that can increase clear vaginal discharge symptoms or cause changes to discharge that are worth monitoring. Often times, limiting or completely stopping behaviors that adversely affect discharge can be a positive step toward managing discharge.

Common causes of clear vaginal discharge include:

  • Natural Causes: The female body experiences natural hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and pregnancy. Hormonal imbalances are the most likely cause of varying levels of clear vaginal discharge. Ovulation, pregnancy, and sexual excitement can all cause an increase in the amount of clear vaginal discharge.
  • Medications: Certain medications like antibiotics or birth control pills can affect bacterial growth in the vagina. These bacteria are linked to both normal and abnormal discharge.
  • Environmental Factors: Poor psychological well-being, being depressed, or having high anxiety levels for example, has been linked to abnormal vaginal discharge. Douching is a process of cleaning the vagina that can affect bacterial growth and alter vaginal discharge. Taking contraceptives may impact the amount or frequency of vaginal discharge.
  • Disease: Anything that impacts pH and hormone levels in the body can result in variations in vaginal discharge. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, and cancer are examples of diseases that impact the amount of vaginal discharge.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Clear Vaginal Discharge

Updated on Aug. 29, 2018

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced clear vaginal discharge. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Normal Case of Vaginal Discharge

    Vaginal discharge is a common issue many women experience and is likely nothing to worry about. Your vaginal discharge can change depending on your menstrual cycle. Recent initiation or a change in contraceptives can also cause a temporary change in discharge.

    A few days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, mild vaginal discharge, white/gray vaginal discharge, clear vaginal discharge, severe vaginal discharge
    Symptoms that always occur with normal case of vaginal discharge:
    vaginal discharge
    Symptoms that never occur with normal case of vaginal discharge:
    vaginal itch or burning, painful urination, severe vaginal discharge, vaginal pain, abdominal pain (stomach ache), bleeding after sex, missed period, vulvovaginal odor
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Symptoms of Menopause

    Menopause is the point in life where your period stops. This happens when the ovaries stop making hormones that keep your cycle going. The transition into menopause is called peri-menopause and can include symptoms like hot flashes, shortening of menstrual cycle and mood fluctuations.

    Hot flashes typically peak approximately 1 year after the final period and last 4-10 years. Most women stop having hot flashes 4 years after they start, but 10% of women may have hot flashes up to 12 years after their last period.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Bacterial Vaginosis

    Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection caused when too much of certain bacteria change the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection and is not caused by poor hygiene (in fact, excessive washing of the vagina may increase the risk). Its symptoms are usually mild, consisting primarily of a white-gray vaginal discharge that has a fishy smell.

    5-7 days antibiotic treatment. May resolve on its own.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal odor, bloody vaginal discharge, white/gray vaginal discharge, thick vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Ovulation Pain (Mittelschmerz) or Midcycle Spotting

    Mittelschmerz, also known as ovulation pain or mid-cycle pain, is abdominal pain that occurs around the time the egg is released from an ovary. Ovulation can sometimes cause some mild vaginal bleeding, spotting or blood-stained/brown discharge as well.

    As ovulation occurs monthly, it's possible you will experience this pain once a month.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), last period approximately 2 weeks ago, vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, pelvis pain
    Symptoms that always occur with ovulation pain (mittelschmerz) or midcycle spotting:
    last period approximately 2 weeks ago
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female genital structures like the uterus, fallopian tube, ovary, and the surrounding abdominal wall. It is typically caused by N. Gonorrhoeae or C. Trachomatis.

    Prognosis after treatment within 3 days of symptom onset is great (88%-100%). Those that are hospitalized, older, or have had gynecological surgery have a worse time with this infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pelvic inflammatory disease:
    fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  6. 6.Yeast Infection

    Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called "Candida." Candida is the scientific name for yeast that lives almost everywhere, including in the human body. Typically, our immune system keeps it under control, but if you take antibiotics or gets sick, the fungus can multiply and cause an infection. In this case, it is happening in the vagina.

    50% of women have relapses within 2 months, and 9% have more than 4 episodes per year. For those, maintenance therapy is possible.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, white/gray vaginal discharge, thick vaginal discharge, vaginal pain, vulvovaginal redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Atrophic Vaginitis

    Atrophic vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina and surrounding structures. It is caused by decreased levels of estrogen which causes the endometrial and vaginal lining to thin and vaginal pH to increase, causing symptoms like dryness, burning, and itching.

    Treatment will effectively manage symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal itch or burning, signs of urinary tract inflammation
    Symptoms that always occur with atrophic vaginitis:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Clear Vaginal Discharge Treatments and Relief

If you typically experience clear vaginal discharge, then the treatment may likely be to "wait and see" rather than "rush to the doctor." As discussed, clear vaginal discharge is typically a normal byproduct of the female body and does not need treatment. The more urgent concern is not when normal discharge is clear and consistent, but when it begins to change, as this may be a sign of infection or other health issues.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you experience the following:

If measures must be taken, there may be steps that you can take at home or others that require a medical professional.

Professional clear vaginal discharge treatments:

  • Medications: Your health care professional may prescribe antibiotics for certain types of sexually transmitted diseases or yeast infections. Vaginal creams may be necessary to treat vaginitis.

At-home clear vaginal discharge treatments:

  • Product Avoidance: A wide range of common products can irritate the vagina. These irritants include feminine hygiene spray, soaps, tampons, bubble bath, body creams, and laundry detergents/fabric softener.
  • Allowing more air to reach the vagina can be beneficial: This can be accomplished by wearing looser clothes, avoiding synthetic underwear, or wearing no underwear.

The good news in all of this is that some level of clear vaginal discharge is normal for many women. If you see changes in the amount or frequency of clear vaginal discharge, give your doctor a call. An even stronger indicator of a medical issue is changes to the appearance and smell of the discharge. If this starts to happen, it's time for a checkup.

FAQs About Clear Vaginal Discharge

Here are some frequently asked questions about clear vaginal discharge.

Can clear vaginal discharge be an early sign of pregnancy?

Women who are pregnant tend to have an increased amount of vaginal discharge. In fact, increased clear vaginal discharge can often be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, sometimes appearing even before a missed period is noticed. Often times, this increased level of discharge continues throughout a pregnancy.

Why do I have clear discharge after my period?

Vaginal discharge is common, particularly around the menstrual cycle. Normal discharge flushes harmful bacteria from the vagina. After your period is complete and your body has eliminated the blood and tissue from the uterus, additional “flushing” may be required to complete the cycle or your body may simply be returning to its normal state and producing clear discharge.

Is clear discharge normal?

Yes, clear vaginal discharge is normal. The vagina regularly discharges to help keep itself clean and remove old cells. The amount of discharge varies from person to person, but it is normal to anticipate clear, non-odorous discharge.

Why does my clear discharge have an odor?

Odor associated with vaginal discharge can be a sign of problems with the vagina. Infections, irritation, and inflammation of the vagina can result in changes to the amount, color, and odor of discharge. STDs and vaginitis are both known causes of odorous discharge. Depending on the cause, avoidance of irritating health products and maintaining good hygiene may also eliminate the odor.

Why do I feel burning when I have clear discharge?

A burning sensation during discharge is a sign of complications inside the vagina and likely the sign of an infection. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) often cause a burning feeling. The use of irritating health products in and around the vagina can also cause burning.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Clear Vaginal Discharge

  • Q.Are you sexually active?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Q.When was your last menstrual period?
  • Q.Do you use birth control beside condoms?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our clear vaginal discharge symptom checker to find out more.

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Clear Vaginal Discharge Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced clear vaginal discharge have also experienced:

    • 16% Vaginal Discharge
    • 9% Foul - Smelling Vaginal Odor
    • 8% Vaginal Itch or Burning
  • People who have experienced clear vaginal discharge had symptoms persist for:

    • 39% Less Than a Week
    • 26% Less Than a Day
    • 18% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced clear vaginal discharge were most often matched with:

    • 75% Bacterial Vaginosis
    • 25% Symptoms of Menopause
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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