When they think of vaginal fluid, many people probably first think of sex or a fishy-smelling discharge. Few people know that women have a permanent discharge. Together with gynecologist Prof. Dr. med. Werner Mendling from the German Center for Infections, I have compiled the 6 most important facts on the subject for you.
1. discharge is something quite normal
Every woman of sexually mature age has a certain amount of discharge. “For the first time, a girl is confronted with the so-called ‘white flow’ at the beginning of puberty, which signals that the girl will soon get your period,” explains the expert. It is not until the onset of menopause that the woman then has significantly less vaginal fluid again. This discharge is a mixture of cells of the vagina with fluids leaking through the vaginal walls, and additionally at ovulation from glands of the cervix.
2. how much vaginal fluid is normal?
Every woman is different, and so one woman may have a fairly heavy discharge while another has relatively little discharge. This is quite normal. So don’t be surprised if your new girlfriend is different from your previous partner. However, on average, a woman produces about 5 milliliters of vaginal secretion per day. The amount can be significantly increased in some situations.
3. what is the purpose of the vaginal secretion?
The vaginal fluid fulfills several purposes at once. You can probably guess one of them: During sexual arousal, the woman produces additional fluid from glands at the vaginal entrance. She becomes moister down below, which makes it “flow” better during sex. This makes perfect sense, because dry sex is no fun for either partner.
On the other hand, the vaginal secretion forms a kind of barrier for bacteria and other pathogens. The lactic acid bacteria, the so-called lactobacilli, occur naturally in the vagina and produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. This creates the acidic vaginal environment of the vagina, with a pH of around 4. Most bacteria do not feel comfortable in an acidic environment. This allows the vagina to protect itself from excessive bacterial colonization. Otherwise, the bacteria could travel unhindered through the vagina to the fallopian tubes and organs and cause infections.
4. what is the vaginal sect made of?
The fluid, also called fluorine, consists largely of water, shed cells and protein. The ovarian hormones estrogen and progestin stimulate the glands in the cervical canal around ovulation (around the 12th — 14th day after the start of menstruation) to produce more secretion. Like sperm, this has a pH value of 7 and is thus intended to attract sperm away from the acidic silk discharge into the cervical canal.
5. what does vaginal fluid smell and feel like?
The fluid that comes out of the vagina changes during the month and depends on which phase of the cycle your partner is in. This means that depending on whether a woman is having her fertile or infertile days, the secretion will change. “Around ovulation, a woman is particularly fertile. Then the secretion from the cervix develops a ‘spinnable’ and more slimy consistency than usual. In addition, the pH of the vagina aligns with the neutral pH of the sperm, which increases the chances of fertilization,” explains expert Mendling. Outside of your ovulation, the vaginal secretion is more watery and clear.
Good to know: The consistency of the vaginal fluid can also be used to find out when a woman has her fertile days, namely when the ‘spinnable’, stringy clear mucus from the cervical canal emerges from the vagina. If you then include the temperature, you can thus determine the fertile days of the woman. However, this requires a certain amount of experience and practice on the part of the woman.
6. what does the smell/taste say about health?
Discharge is a very normal phenomenon and is nothing wrong or bad at first. A healthy vagina smells non-specific, slightly sour. However, if it starts to smell under the panties, this is an indication that something is wrong. “Many people think that a vagina smells fishy, but this is wrong. A fishy smell is not normal, but indicates a change, bacterial vaginosis. This is a disturbance in the balance of the vagina. There is a reduction in lactic acid bacteria and an increase in numerous other types of bacteria,” emphasizes Mendling. The bacterial imbalance then causes a strong fishy smell. The woman notices this quite quickly, especially during her period, when the unpleasant odor is even stronger. So if you notice a fishy smell, advise your partner to consult a doctor. He will prescribe an antibiotic or antiseptic to bring the vagina back into balance.
Conclusion: Vaginal fluid keeps the vagina healthy.
Every woman is different, and so the vaginal fluid differs. A woman can produce more or less secretion, and it still changes within a month. A fishy smell, on the other hand, is not normal and indicates bacterial vaginosis. Then it’s off to the doctor!
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