Vaginal Discharge After Sex: When It's Normal and When Not

Vaginal discharge after sex is quite common. Causes vary from sex arousal, genital herpes to infections. Know what’s normal and what’s not to rule out problems.

The vagina can produce a number of different fluids that may discharge after sex. A number of fluids are a sign that the sexual organs are functioning normally, but some may be a sign of an STD or other malfunction. The color, odor and consistency of this discharge can be used as indicators of whether or not your condition is normal or may require medical attention.

Normal Discharge after Intercourse

There are a number of fluids that will normally discharge from the vagina after intercourse. These are a sign of healthy function and should not be cause for alarm. The appearance of these fluids may vary based on hormone levels, age and other factors. Those who have undergone a hysterectomy may also see a change in the levels or appearance of vaginal discharge.

  • Sexual arousal fluid - Sexual arousal is produced to aid in the act of intercourse after the body has been stimulated. This fluid will make intercourse more comfortable and pleasurable for both parties involved. It is usually clear and slippery, often with a watery texture rather than a stretchy. The body may continue to produce this fluid after intercourse has ceased.
  • Cervical mucus - Throughout the menstrual cycle, the cervix produces different types of mucus in order to assist the sperm in travelling through the reproductive system to reach the egg. This mucus can be discharged from the vagina at the end of the period. In most cases this mucus will be cloudy that can be stretched between the fingers. The clarity or stretchiness of this fluid will increase as you approach ovulation. After the period has ended, the mucus my dry up and become thick.
  • Female ejaculate - A small gland in the vagina produces ejaculate fluid. In some cases when you are sexually aroused the body may secrete or spray this fluid, which may feel as though you have urinated. Female ejaculate is very watery, looking very similar to urine. Not all women ejaculate when sexually aroused and it is not necessary to have an orgasm in order to ejaculate.

Abnormal Discharge after Intercourse

Healthy discharge should not cause any adverse effects to the body. If your discharge makes you feel uncomfortable or has changed from its usual frequency or consistency you may be experiencing an unhealthy discharge that requires further attention.

Common Signs of Abnormal Discharge

Any sudden changes to your vaginal discharge can indicate that you are suffering from a vaginal infection or other issue that is damaging the vagina. You may feel a wetness and be sore in the pelvic area. You may notice an alteration in the consistency of your discharge or an increase in the amount of discharge that emits from the vagina. This may be accompanied by bleeding or a sudden odor that was not present before.

Common Causes of Abnormal Discharge

Abnormal discharge from the vagina can be caused by sexual and non-sexual causes. Consistency, color and accompanying symptoms will help you evaluate the underlying cause of your discomfort.

Sexual Causes

Unprotected sexual intercourse can cause bacteria, viruses and other items to be transmitted between the two parties. These materials can cause an abnormal discharge after intercourse alongside other symptoms that indicate a problem may be occurring.

  • Bacterial vaginosis - Bacterial vaginosis or BV is one of the most common causes of an abnormal vaginal discharge. This discharge is often gray in color with a fish-like odor. BV is not a sexually transmitted disease, but sexual activity frequently deposits bacteria from other parts of the body in the vagina, which can lead to a bacterial imbalance.
  • Trichomoniasis - This is a common sexually transmitted infection which causes a yellow or green frothy discharge to appear. This discharge will also have a fishy odor and can cause swelling or itching in the vaginal area to occur. You may notice soreness in the vaginal area, particularly when you urinate.
  • Chlamydia or Gonorrhea - If you suffer from pain when you urinate or after intercourse you may have a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. You may bleed after having sex or experience an uncomfortable vaginal discharge. This also frequently causes a green discharge to appear.
  • Genital Herpes - Discharge caused by herpes is actually emitted from the sores and blisters that appear around the genital area. These blisters will begin as red bumps throughout the vaginal area, which will continue to swell until they burst, causing a white discharge to appear.

Non-Sexual Causes

As the vagina is responsible for its own cleaning and protection, there are a number of mechanisms that can cause the vagina to excrete materials that may be causing harm.

  • Allergic reactions - Medications, items in your diet or the presence of a substance that is negatively impacting your overall health can cause an allergic reaction in the vagina. These reactions can kill off the good bacteria in the vagina, causing them to be excreted.
  • PH change of vagina - If the pH of the vagina changes, it can accuse a discharge to appear. Getting substances such as soap in the vagina, coming into contact with chemicals in the vaginal area, menstrual blood, hormonal changes, sexual activity or douching the area can cause the pH of the vagina to change, resulting in such discharge.
  • Thrush - Thrush is commonly referred to as a yeast infection, which is caused when the natural yeast found in the vagina blooms to an unhealthy level. Thrush will cause a discharge that is either thin and watery or thick and white, resembling cottage cheese. The vagina may feel sore and have an odor that resembles bread or beer. An intense itchiness will frequently accompany this condition.
  • For young girls and post-menopausal women - Young girls may experience an uncommon vaginal discharge as they begin puberty. This can also be a sign that an item has become lost in the vagina. Older women may also notice a sudden change in their vaginal discharge at the onset of menopause. This discharge should be examined by your doctor to ensure that it is not caused by cancer.
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