We’ve all had that moment. Whether you’re mid conversation and laugh a little too hard, or killing it at the gym and hit a squat a little too low, you get the sudden warm sensation. “Did I just pee myself?” Rushing to the restroom to assess the damage, you find that the gush was actually just some abnormal watery discharge.
With so many unknowns when it comes to vaginal health, it can be worrisome to wonder, “Why does my watery discharge feel like I peed myself?” It’s important to understand our discharge and what it could be communicating to us about our bodies. This helps to empower us to take charge and not rely on anything outside of ourselves to know when we’re in or out of balance.
What is a Discharge?
For those with a vagina, understanding discharge can be insightful for a myriad of reasons. It lets us know where we’re at in our cycle, our fertility window and whether or not our hormones are balanced.
Vaginal discharge is one of the natural ways your body dispels fluids and cells. This discharge begins to produce as early as a few months before your first period and generally begins to dissipate after menopause.
Mainly made up of cells and bacteria, your uterus, cervix and vagina produce this discharge to help clean and lubricate your vagina, as well as fight off bad bacteria and infection. Abnormal changes in discharge can indicate a yeast infection, potential sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or an inserted object like a tampon.
Kinds of Discharge
Knowledge is power, especially when the teacher is your very own body. It’s important to take the time to differentiate the textures of your discharge and what your body is telling you.
Generally, healthy vaginal discharge is clear or off-white in color, slightly odorous but not overwhelmingly so, and leaves a yellow-ish tint in your underwear.
However, the discharge will shift in consistency relative to your age and ovulation cycle. When your body releases an egg, your vaginal discharge tends to be thicker, indicating peak fertility time. During pregnancy, your body may produce a noticeable increase in discharge, while those in perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause may experience less discharge, and therefore, vaginal dryness.
Abnormal or unhealthy vaginal discharge may appear yellow, green or gray, resemble cottage cheese, pair alongside itchiness and a strong odor, or is blood-stained. It is important to immediately address it should any of these symptoms present themselves.
What Watery Discharge Means
If your discharge is particularly watery to the point where it resembles pee, there could be quite a few reasons for it. These include a vaginal infection, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy or the use of birth control, amongst others.
An imbalance in the natural microbial flora of the vagina, bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV, is a common vaginal infection known to cause watery discharge. It can lead to more severe medical consequences if left untreated, though fortunately, can be easily cured with antibiotics.
From polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to hypothyroidism, there are plenty of reasons why your hormones may be a bit out of wack. Your hormones also shift dramatically when entering menopause and gradually producing less estrogen, leading your vaginal discharge to become thinner and watery. Luckily, there are also plenty of natural ways to get your hormones in a state of balance, like food choices, supplements and lifestyle changes.
Just like how your body shifts discharge consistency during its ovulation period, it will do the same should you be pregnant. Watery discharge during pregnancy is normal when thin and clear, without any strong odor. However, if the watery discharge becomes thick, discolored or pungent, it could be a sign of infection. In some cases, the watery discharge could indicate preterm labor, especially if accompanied with contractions or abdominal pain.
If birth control is the reason why you’re noticing a shift in your vaginal discharge, there isn’t much to be concerned about. Hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills can sometimes cause watery discharge, though this is a harmless medicinal side effect with no implication of a more serious health issue.
The next time you ask yourself, “Why does my watery discharge feels like I peed myself?” it’s important to consider which of these circumstances best describe your state. Other factors to potentially consider include STDs and STIs, so it’s important to be in contact with a medical professional to rule out anything more severe.