Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
I notice a white discharge from my vagina after sex...what is it?
I’ve been sexually active since I was 16. Since the first time I had sex ⎼ and every time after that, only with sex ⎼ there’s a white discharge from my vagina. The discharge is kind of thick and smooth, and there’s no unusual odor. Is there something wrong with me?
Thank you for your question. I’m happy to offer you some ideas as to what the discharge you notice after sex may be, but I encourage you to visit your doctor for a personal consult and visual examination.
First, all women have some vaginal discharge. However since you mention that this only happens after sex, a few things may be going on...
One possibility is that you’re seeing your own natural vaginal lubrication in response to sexual stimulation. When women become aroused, they produce a lubricating fluid to aid in sexual intercourse. Natural lubrication is the body’s way of helping a woman have more comfortable sex and it’s completely normal.
Are you using condoms during sex? If you aren’t using condoms during sex, another possibility is that you’re seeing your male partner’s ejaculate. If your partner ejaculates (cums) inside your vagina, most of his semen will exit the vagina after sex. Typically semen is described similarly to the discharge you’ve noticed.
It’s also possible that you have a vaginal infection. Some common vaginal infections include yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. And STDs can also cause symptoms of unusual vaginal discharge ⎼ chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis being the most likely.
Visit your doctor to find out the specific cause of the discharge you’ve noticed. If you do have an STD or vaginal infection, your doctor can help you with treatment to cure the issues and avoid complications down the road. Treatment will also help alleviate any uncomfortable symptoms you may be experiencing.
And, if you aren’t already including STD testing as part of your routine healthcare, I encourage you to do so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that young women who are sexually active and who are 25 or younger should have annual chlamydia testing, at a minimum.
Also, using latex condoms during all sexual activity can help reduce your risk of STDs and unintended pregnancy. Speaking of pregnancy prevention, condoms are a good start, but using another form of birth control (like the Pill) can greatly reduce your risk becoming pregnant before you’re ready.
To find out more about STD symptoms and prevention, visit our Expert Guide to STD Basics.
Good luck, and thanks for bringing your question to us.
Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.