My vagina won't stop dripping — Help!

Hi Alice,

I have a problem in my uh "area." See, you know the natural lube that comes out of a woman's vagina? Well, it is constantly dripping, and I don't have sex or anything. I always have to wear toilet paper in my underwear. Do I need to get it checked out by a doctor? Or can I treat it myself?

Ew gross

Dear Ew gross,  

The natural lube you mentioned is referred to as vaginal discharge and is very common. That being said, each person with a vagina experiences discharge differently. It can vary in quantity, color, scent, and consistency. All of these factors vary not only from person to person, but also throughout the menstrual cycle. While it might seem like you have a lot, most vaginal discharge is normal and is a product of your vagina cleaning itself. That being said, certain infections or conditions may also lead to an increase in vaginal discharge. To help you feel more comfortable, you might try a few strategies such as wearing breathable cotton underwear, changing your underwear throughout the day, or using panty liners or pads to absorb discharge and keep you dry. If you're ready to learn more about all the options that could contribute to this dripping feeling, time to read on!

In general, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what your vaginal discharge looks, smells, and feels like. That way, you’ll be able to make note of any significant changes over time. Because vaginal discharge is also connected to the menstrual cycle, at some times of the month it may be thin and watery, and at other times, it may become thicker and stickier. These changes are normal. However, if your vaginal discharge takes on a foul odor or starts to be uncomfortable, you may consider making an appointment with your health care provider to explore potential causes. At your visit, they’ll likely ask whether you’ve had a change in the amount of discharge or if you've always had lots of natural lubrication. They may also ask if you’ve had any other symptoms, such as pain, itching, or burning in your vaginal area. During your appointment, they may also examine your vulva and collect a sample of the discharge so that it can be tested to help determine the exact cause.  

A number of gynecological issues can cause changes in vaginal fluids, including:  

  • Yeast infections  
  • Bacterial infections  
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis  
  • Pregnancy  
  • Hormonal birth control methods (the pill, patches, rings, intrauterine devices)  
  • Allergies to soaps, creams, powders, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, feminine hygiene sprays, douches, or spermicides  
  • Medical conditions that change the balance of hormones (chemicals) in the blood  

Another factor to consider is whether the discharge you’re experiencing is actually urine. It could be that you have a bladder infection that’s causing leakage and it’s being mistaken as vaginal discharge. The good news is that there are medications to treat these infections, so you may consider talking with your health care provider about that possibility.

Discharge is a bodily function that individuals with vaginas often experience and is an experience to which you’ll likely grow accustomed. If you continue to have concerns, it’s wise to reach out to your health care provider. Kudos to you and your interest in knowing more about your own body! 

Last updated Jun 11, 2021
Originally published Feb 22, 2002

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