Hormonal imbalances related to stress, diet, or underlying medical conditions can cause heavier vaginal discharge.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), for example, refers to a set of symptoms that occur as a result of hormonal imbalances. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PCOS affects up to 5 million females in the United States.
Those with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones called androgens. Increased androgen levels can:
- change the amount or texture of cervical fluid
- cause irregular periods
- prevent ovulation
Not everyone with PCOS will have increased vaginal discharge. Paying attention to other PCOS symptoms may help someone identify and seek treatment for the condition faster.
Some other symptoms of PCOS to look out for include:
- fewer than eight periods in 1 year, or periods that occur every roughly 21 days
- excess facial and body hair
- thinning hair or hair loss
- acne on the face and body
- weight gain
- darkening of the skin on the neck, groin, or breasts
- skin tags on the armpits or neck
Hormonal birth control, such as birth control pills and intrauterine devices, can also cause increased vaginal discharge, especially during the first few months of use.
Excess vaginal discharge and other symptoms, such as spotting and cramping, usually resolve once the body adjusts to the hormonal birth control.
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