Why Do Vaginas Produce Discharge?

If you have a vagina, you are very likely aware that it produces discharge. And I’m sure that when you first noticed it, you did a panicked Google search to find out whether it was normal. That probably led you to doing countless searches about everything from the color of your discharge, to the amount, to how to remove stains. You might even have ended up researching nipple discharge.

But, did you ever find out why your vagina produces discharge in the first place? There is a reason and *spoiler alert* it’s not just because. Here’s the reason vaginas produce discharge.

So, what’s the deal with vaginal discharge, or are you going to make me wait longer?

Your vagina produces discharge because it’s a normal bodily function. It’s basically your body’s way of keeping down there clean. WebMD brilliantly describes it as your vag’s “housekeeping function.” The website explains how it works: “Fluid made by glands inside the vagina and cervix carries away dead cells and bacteria. This keeps the vagina clean and helps prevent infection.”

Are all types of discharge good?

No. In most cases vaginal discharge is normal, but you should be on the lookout for changes, especially in color, texture, and smells because they could indicate a problem. Discharge does change depending on where a person is in their menstrual cycle. It can go from being milky to clear to whitish and the amounts can vary. Sometimes after your period, it might have a slight brown tint.

If your discharge starts getting a strong smell, it changes to different colors (red, green, yellowish), or it starts to look like cottage cheese, you will want to get things checked out. Furthermore, you will want to have things looked at down there if you discharge looks different than it normally does and it doesn’t seem to be going back to its regular look.

What things can mess with vaginal discharge?

There are a range of things that could potentially mess with your vaginal discharge. Basically, your vagina has its own cleaning system so anything that interferes with that could potentially lead to problems. One thing that can throw your vagina out of whack is douching. Certain antibiotics and medications can impact it. Illnesses, yeast infections, vaginal conditions, pregnancy, diabetes, surgery, and STDs can all impact your vag and in term your discharge.

So, if my vagina is cleaning itself, do I actually need to clean it?

I talked about douching kits. You don’t need those because they’ll actually cause more harm than good for your vag. You can still gently cleanse down there using a gentle non-scented soap or one that’s formulated for your lady bits. So we’re clear, you don’t need to technically wash your vagina which is the inside part because your vag has that under control. It’s the outer parts like the labia and vulva that you can look after.

Do you know what healthy discharge looks like versus non-healthy? Let us know in the comments!


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