Do You Have Too Much Vaginal Mucus?

Causes of Excess Vaginal Discharge: What's Normal & What's Not

Cervical mucus can be an easy way to know when you're not fertile... but not if you're finding it all month long. Hitoshi Nishimura / Taxi Japan / Getty Images

Women may experience what appears to be egg white or very watery vaginal mucus a few days before ovulation. So, what happens when the amount is excessive and lasts longer than the usual period of time? When should you be concerned?

A Normal Amount of Vaginal Mucus

It's normal to have one to five days of egg white vaginal mucus just before ovulation and have another patch of egg white or watery vaginal mucus just before menstruation begins.

However, if you notice several patches of egg white vaginal mucus throughout your cycle or you notice egg white vaginal mucus for over a week, this can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.

Normally, a peak in the hormones LH and estrogen lead to an increase and change in your vaginal mucus. This peak comes just before ovulation. Some women may have several peaks in the hormones LH and estrogen before ovulation finally occurs. You might think of it like hormonal misfires, as the body attempts to trigger ovulation but is unable to do so.

Sometimes, women with PCOS may have several patches of fertile vaginal mucus throughout their cycle, making ovulation detection with this method tricky. Women may also notice several patches or extended days of fertile vaginal mucus if they have a thyroid problem or if they are under a lot of stress, along with other potential causes.

How Can You Time Pregnancy If You Have Frequent Fertile Vaginal Mucus?

While fertile vaginal mucus can normally let you know ovulation is coming, if you have several patches of fertile quality vaginal mucus throughout your cycle, it can be difficult to know which (if any) of these patches indicates impending ovulation.

If you chart your body basal temperature, the patch that really did precede ovulation will be followed by a sustained temperature rise. Since by the time you see the rise in temperature, it'll be too late to have sex to get pregnant, it's best to treat each patch of fertile quality vaginal mucus as if it may be just before ovulation and have sex with your partner.

Or, an easier and perhaps less stressful choice is to have sex a few times a week regardless of your vaginal mucus changes. What about using an ovulation predictor kit? This may or may not be better for you if you're getting frequently fertile vaginal mucus.

Peaks in the hormone LH trigger the increased vaginal mucus, and this is also the hormone detecting with an ovulation predictor kit. You may get many "false positives" on the ovulation test, making it less useful for pinpointing your most fertile days.

Confusing Sexual Arousal or Semen With Fertile Vaginal Mucus

If you check your vaginal mucus just before, during, or after sex, you can confuse the normal increase in vaginal fluids that comes with sexual arousal with the fertile vaginal mucus that comes before ovulation. It's better not to check your vaginal fluids around the time that you have sex for this reason.

Also, it can be easy to confuse semen with watery vaginal mucus. This means that even the morning after sex, you might confuse the two.

While differentiating between leftover semen from sex the night before and fertile vaginal mucus is tricky, one thing you can notice is how stretchy the cervical mucus is. While semen is watery, it will not stretch like fertile vaginal mucus.

Egg white cervical mucus is also more mucus-like, while leftover semen is thinner in consistency.

Vaginal Mucus vs. Vaginal Infection

Another possibility is that you're confusing fertile vaginal mucus for a vaginal infection. Healthy vaginal mucus will be clear or slightly yellowish, while gray or green discharge can be a sign of infection.

If the vaginal discharge is more like cottage cheese, has a bad smell, or you're experiencing itchiness or irritation, these can also be signs of infection. It's best to see your doctor for a check-up and possible treatment.

Sources:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Patient Education Pamphlet: Vaginitis: Causes and Treatments. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq028.ashx?dmc=1&ts=20120128T1456320578

Weschler, T. (2002). Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Revised Edition) . United States of America: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

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