The vaginal fluid is a thin layer of fluid that lines the vaginal walls and helps:
- Lubricating the vagina, which makes the intercourse easier
- Minimizing or preventing vaginal pain
- Supporting fertility
Several factors may cause vaginal wetness; sexual arousal is not the only reason. It can be a natural part of the body’s physiological functioning. The fluids from the cervix and the vaginal wall enter the vagina to lubricate it. Lubrication of the vagina protects it from any injury or prevents tearing and keeps it moist and clean.
- Arousal or excitement: Arousal leads to increased blood flow to the genitals. This leads to the release of fluid from the cervix and Bartholin’s gland, providing lubrication during the sexual activity. The vaginal wetness is directly proportional to the intensity of the arousal.
- Hormonal changes or aging: Hormones like estrogen play a big role in vaginal wetness. During the reproductive age, high estrogen levels in the body help in keeping the vagina moist. However, during and after the menopause, the estrogen levels reduce drastically leading to vaginal dryness. When the body prepares for menstruation and ovulation, the estrogen level rises to lubricate the vagina, which in turn eases the sperm traveling toward the egg for fertilization.
- Infection: If there is excessive or abnormal vaginal discharge, there could be a high possibility of bacterial or fungal infection. The vaginal fluid usually removes the bacteria from the vaginal canal. Any change in the vagina’s balance of normal bacteria can affect the odor and texture of the vaginal fluid. Foul-smelling vaginal fluid should be brought to a physician’s notice.
- Medication: Birth control pills with high hormonal content may either moisten or dry the vagina.
- Vaginal sweat: There are several sweats and oil glands around the vulva that keep the vagina wet. Stress can aggravate the sweat production, especially around the vagina. Wearing cotton underwear, practicing good hygiene, and trimming the pubic hair can combat vaginal sweat.
- Cervical fluid: A thick, creamy, yellowish, whitish, and sticky, damp discharge is quite normal vaginal discharge, and it changes with the cycle and hormone levels. It causes vaginal wetness, which may vary with each menstrual cycle.
What is vaginal wetness?
Vaginal fluid is typically made up of water, salts of phosphate and sodium chloride, organic compounds such as amino acids and lipids, antibodies, and sloughed cell linings of the uterus and cervix. The body may normally produce 1-4 mm of vaginal fluid daily.
When to see a doctor?
If you experience the following symptoms, immediately consult a doctor:
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