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Thick white vaginal discharge is generally considered normal so long as its not malodorous or clumpy in texture. Some potential causes of abnormal discharge may include yeast or bacterial infections. Discharge often changes in texture and color from week to week or during times of hormonal changes.
One of the most common causes of thick white discharge is ovulation. Although some women experience clear, slippery cervical mucus during this time, many have thick white discharge instead. Both variations are considered normal in most cases, so long as the discharge is white and odorless in nature.
Other reasons a woman may experience thick white discharge include yeast and bacterial infections, also called vaginosis. Yeast-related vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of naturally occurring organisms found inside the vagina. Symptoms may include thick, white, clumpy discharge as well as itching and localized irritation. Treatment usually includes an antifungal medication applied directly into the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth in bacteria which are found in the vagina naturally, although occasionally outside pathogens may also cause problems. Discharge is often yellow or green, but sometimes a white discharge may also be noticed. Itching, irritation, and a foul odor are also commonly present. Antibiotic medications, delivered vaginally or orally, are the most common treatment for this condition.
Pregnancy may also cause a thick white vaginal discharge, although this varies from woman to woman. As hormones change and fluctuate during pregnancy, discharge may become thicker and more abundant, and may alternate between clear and white. Sometimes yellow discharge is also considered normal, but this should be checked by a medical professional because it could also signal an infection.
Any vaginal discharge which is accompanied by itching, irritation, or swelling should be checked out by a licensed medical professional. Many times it will be due to a minor infection, but sexually transmitted diseases often exhibit similar symptoms. If vaginal discharge increases beyond what is normal for a woman’s body, whether or not additional symptoms are present, she should seek medical advice.