What Are the Common Causes of Thin Vaginal Discharge?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2016
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Vaginal discharge is normal, even necessary, for a healthy reproductive system, but some changes can signal a health problem. For example, certain conditions can cause particularly thin vaginal discharge. Atrophic vaginitis, in which the vagina is inflamed and dry, is one cause of discharge that is suddenly more watery than usual. Chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted disease (STD), also can cause abnormally thin discharge, along with lower abdominal pain and burning during urination. Another STD that can lead to thin discharge is trichomoniasis, which results in a foul odor and itching in the vaginal area.

Atrophic vaginitis is usually caused by a sudden drop in estrogen levels, leading to a decrease in vaginal lubrication because of overly thin discharge in addition to thin vaginal tissue. Estrogen levels may drop after taking medications meant to treat breast cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis, because these conditions are often caused by excessive estrogen to begin with. Stress, depression and lots of exercise can all lead to atrophic vaginitis, as well, though it also can appear just after childbirth because of naturally reduced estrogen levels. The overly thin vaginal discharge and the resultant dryness mean many women with this condition suffer from painful intercourse, burning with urination and vaginal itching. The treatment usually consists of estrogen supplements, lubricant during intercourse, and switching to a different medication when possible.


In some cases, thin vaginal discharge is a result of an STD, such as chlamydia. Some of the other symptoms in women include painful intercourse, burning during urination and pain in the rectum, though many women affected by chlamydia do not get any symptoms. This STD can be prevented by using condoms during sexual activity but, once it has been contracted, it can be treated with antibiotics. The abnormal vaginal discharge should be rectified with the antibiotics but, until the disease and its symptoms disappear, patients can use lubricant to keep the vaginal area moist.

Other STDs, such as trichomoniasis, can cause thin vaginal discharge, as well. Women with this condition often notice that their discharge is not only thin, but also green or yellow and foamy. This symptom tends to be accompanied by itching, swelling of the labia and a bad odor in the vaginal area. Antibiotics can be used to treat trichomoniasis, and intercourse should be avoided until the infection clears up. Like most other STDs, this condition, and its resulting abnormal vaginal discharge, can usually be prevented with the proper use of condoms during sexual activity.


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Post 3

@ankara-- Slightly watery discharge doesn't always mean a vaginal infection. Normal hormonal changes throughout the month cause discharge to be sometimes more watery and sometimes more gel-like.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- Hey, thanks for your post! I had never thought about a fungal infection before. Is thrush similar to a yeast infection?

I wonder if I have this too. I think there is a connection between my discharge and processed, sugary foods. Whenever I binge on processed foods, my discharge becomes thinner. I think fungi feed on sugar right? Do you think there is a link?

Post 1

Excessive, thin, watery vaginal discharge was the only symptom I had when I was diagnosed with thrush. I avoided the issue for a while because I thought it was normal. But when I mentioned it to my mom, she wanted me to see my gynecologist to make sure. My doctor took a swab of the discharge and sent it for testing. It turned out to be thrush which is a type of fungal infection.

She gave me anti-fungal medication and cream and my discharge went back to normal after several weeks.

If anyone else is experiencing this right now, don't be afraid to speak to your doctor about it. This sort of thing happens to women all the time.

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