So You’re ‘Wet’ Down There — But What Does That Even Mean?
There are a number of reasons why you can suddenly find yourself with damp undies.
1. It can be absolutely normal…
Yup, the vagina is not supposed to be dry and it’s completely normal to experience an increase in vaginal fluid at certain times in your normal menstrual cycle. It does, however, depends on the degree of your ‘wetness’. Assess it by checking that it’s not one of the three other culprits listed below.
2. Bacterial vaginosis
It can be due to bacterial vaginosis, a mild vaginal infection, not an STD, that’s caused when the balance of good and bad bacteria in your vagina is upset. Your risk is higher if you have more than one sex partner, a new sex partner, or if you douche. The most common symptom is a smelly discharge, which may look greyish white or yellow in colour. The slightly “fishy” smell may be worse after sex. (Note: About half of women with bacterial vaginosis don’t notice any symptoms!) If you’re worried, pay a visit to your pharmacy or doc – it can easily be treated with an antibiotic.
3. Pelvic congestion syndrome
It can also be due to pelvic congestion syndrome. This is a condition where the blood flow in the area is too high, resulting in wetness. It’s also often associated with a sensation of fullness in the pelvis and manifests in varicose veins developing around the ovaries, similar to those that occur in the legs. It’s pretty common and is often misdiagnosed due to physicians being unfamiliar with it, or failing to actually look for it. So, if you experience pelvic pain during or following sex, during your period or while doing activities such as cycling or horseback riding, in addition to your wetness, pay a visit to your gynae.
4. Desquamative vaginitis
Desquamative vaginitis occurs when the cell turnover in the vagina is too high and the lining of the vagina becomes inflamed. It’s not an STD and, while the cause is unknown, it’s thought to be either an infection or an autoimmune, inflammatory problem, which can be triggered by low oestrogen levels. Telling signs include: a heavy yellow or greenish-yellow vaginal discharge, usually with little or no odour, painful intercourse and vulvar irritation and itching. On examination, the opening to the vagina and the vagina itself may look red and inflamed. Luckily, it can be treated with a steroid cream, so get to your gynae asap!