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What causes Vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge is essential to the proper functioning of your reproductive system: it cleans your vagina, prevents it from drying out, and acts as a strong shield against infections. But where does it come from and why do its characteristics change?
Vaginal Discharge: What causes it and where does it come from?
Like many tissues in your body, the vagina renews itself. Vaginal cells that make up the walls are shed, leaving room for new ones. These old cells form one part of vaginal discharge.
Another element is cervical mucus. As its name implies, it’s mucus secreted by the cervix or the lower part of the uterus. When you want to get pregnant, this mucus will allow sperm to survive and help it find its way to the uterus to fertilize the egg.
This may come as a surprise, but one of the main components of vaginal discharge is sweat. Throughout your cycle, and depending on your levels of hormones, your vagina produces sweat to stay moisturized.
Changes in healthy Vaginal discharge
Healthy discharge varies in amount and texture, depending on which phase of the cycle you’re in. But there are other factors that lead to discharge variations. Here’s everything you need to know.
During your reproductive years, the levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate considerably throughout your menstrual cycle. This fluctuation leads to a change in the quality and quantity of cervical mucus, which you can see mirrored in the changes in your vaginal discharge. When the level of estrogen is low, you will notice that discharge is dense and sticky. But as this level rises, discharge becomes more transparent and fluid.
- Cervical condition
Some women have more mucus glands on their cervix than others. This increase in the number of glands naturally leads to an increase in the amount of discharge.
It has been proven that being overweight has an effect on vaginal discharge. In fact, if you are overweight, your body produces more sweat, which leads to heavier vaginal discharge.
Did you know that wearing tight pants could increase vaginal discharge? Tight pants can lead to excessive sweating in your vaginal area and hence excess discharge.
Also, engaging in physical activities such as jogging or cycling may increase heat and friction and lead to increased vaginal sweating and discharge.
If you notice dark or brown discharge in the next few days following your period, don’t worry. This is just old blood being eliminated.
When it comes to vaginal discharge, it’s really important that you know the difference between what’s normal and what’s not. This way, you will worry a lot less!