Discharge refers to a mixture of vaginal or penile fluids. People can find discharge before sexual intercourse, during, or after.
Many discharge from the vaginal and penile systems can be expected, and there is no standard amount of either.
Healthy penile discharge in a person is either preejaculate or ejaculate.
The volume and presentation of discharge may be influenced by certain factors. For example, the quality of vaginal discharge naturally varies over the whole menstrual cycle.
Some discharge changes may, however, indicate a health problem.
This article will look at possible causes of post-sex discharge.
Vaginal discharge after sex
Healthy vaginal discharge is a clear or white fluid containing cervical mucus, vaginal fluid and debris from the cells.
Many changes can occur spontaneously in the amount or appearance of vaginal discharge, while others may suggest an underlying health condition.
The section discusses several common causes of post sex vaginal discharge.
Sexual excitement causes an increase in blood flow to the genitals. The blood vessels are widening to support an increased supply of blood.
It induces swelling in females in the labia, clitoris, and tissues that line the vagina. A transparent, watery fluid that helps lubricate the vagina during intercourse is also secreted by glands in the vagina.
This excitement may make vaginal discharge more noticeable by the presence of this fluid. The discharge can get thicker and have a clear or milky white look.
This form of vaginal discharge is natural, and does not suggest a medical condition underlying. Nevertheless, if there is a foul smell of thicker discharge it can suggest a health problem.
A female may ejaculate while on sex. This entails the expulsion of fluid through urethra.
Scientists are unsure exactly how many females ejaculate, according to a systematic review in 2013, but they estimate a prevalence of 10–54 percent.
The female ejaculation is a healthy and natural phenomenon in those who do experience it.
Menstrual cycle changes
The hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout the menstrual cycle change the amount of vaginal discharge and its appearance.
The discharge may be thick and white at the beginning and finish of the menstrual cycle. It can be smooth and stretchy, during ovulation.
Some times, the discharge may be transparent and watery throughout the cycle.
Old blood may be present in the discharge till the end of the menstrual cycle, giving it a brown color.
This is all normal, and not a cause of concern.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can make discharge more visible following sex. It occurs when the vagina’s pH changes, which disrupts the vagina’s healthy bacterial balance.
Having a new sexual partner, multiple partners, or douching regularly can increase the risk of developing BV.
BV may cause off-white or gray discharge, and may have a strong fishy odor. BV discharge after sex can be easier to identify.
Other symptoms include BV:
- an itching or burning sensation in the vagina
- an itching or burning sensation around the vulva
- painful urination
A doctor will conduct a physical vaginal exam and examine a vaginal discharge sample for signs of bacterial overgrowth.
Most people do not need BV treatment but they may need antibiotic treatment when a person has symptoms.
Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), untreated BV can increase the risk of:
- pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID
White, clumpy, vaginal discharge may indicate a yeast infection during or after childbirth.
Yeast infections arise in infected parts of the body when the Candida fungus develops too rapidly. Candida exists naturally in the mouth, throat, intestine, vagina and skin surface.
Over their lifetimes, up to 75 percent of women develop at least one vaginal yeast infection.
The following factors that increase the risk of infection with leasts:
- uncontrolled diabetes
- use of estrogen-dominant birth control
- recent use of antibiotics
- a weakened immune system
- use of douches or other vaginal hygiene products
Yeast infections cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- itchiness in or around the vagina
- swelling, redness, and soreness of the vulva and vagina
- pain while having sex or urinating
- an odorless, white vaginal discharge that looks similar to cottage cheese
Penile discharge after sex
Penile discharge refers to any fluid that passes through the urethra, other than urine.
Normal penile discharge involves preejaculate and ejaculate that occurs during intercourse and sexual arousal.
Having unrelated penile discharge to sexual stimulation can suggest an underlying health condition.
The bulbourethral glands— situated under the prostate— develop a dense, transparent mucus known as preejaculatory fluid during sexual stimulation.
Preejaculatory fluid works, during sex, as a natural lubricant for the tip of the penis. It also neutralizes male urethra acidity, and vagina acidity.
Ejaculate, or semen, is a pure, opaque fluid containing both seminal and sperm cells.
Usually, the ejaculation happens during orgasm.
Urethritis leads to urethra-inflammation. The causes include infections of the bacteria and viruses, as well as injuries and chemical exposure.
Cloudy or white penile discharge can cause urethritis.
Other signs include:
- a burning sensation while urinating
- frequent urination
- itching, swelling, or soreness in the penis and urethral opening
- enlarged lymph nodes in and around the groin
- pain during intercourse or ejaculation
- blood in the urine or semen
A doctor should look to the abdomen and groin for tenderness, swelling, and enlarged lymph nodes. We may also obtain urine and discharge samples for further study, which we send to a laboratory.
Doctors treat bacterial urethritis using antibiotics.
People who develop urethritis due to injury or exposure to chemicals should avoid vigorous sex and any chemicals that contain irritants.
Sexually transmitted infections
The spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is attributed to unwanted sexual activity.
Other STIs can cause irregular penile and vaginal discharge, including chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Chlamydia is among the most common STIs. The people affected tend to be between the ages of 15 and 24.
Usually the chlamydia is asymptomatic. When symptoms appear, they may become apparent just a few days to several weeks after the infection has been contracted.
Vaginal discharge can seem yellow. Some symptoms of Chlamydia in females include:
- rectal bleeding, pain, or discharge
- painful urination
- vaginal bleeding
Penile discharge may be watery, with white or gray appearance.
Other symptoms of chlamydia include:
- symptoms of urethritis
- pelvic or abdominal pain
- difficult or painful urination
- pain, tenderness, and swelling in one testicle
Gonorrhea is a different ITS. This requires an infection with the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Nearly 1.14 million new gonorrhea infections occur in the United States each year.
Gonorrhea can cause discharge of the white, yellow, or green penile, or an increased amount of discharge from the vagina.
Other Gonorrhea signs include:
- difficult or painful urination
- pain or tenderness in the testicles or scrotum
- urinary tract infection symptoms
- bleeding between periods
Doctors can diagnose chlamydia and gonorrhea by examining vaginal or urethral swabs obtained from cell cultures.
Doctors can use antibiotics to treat chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Those who have been diagnosed with STI should notify recent sexual partners, so they can be screened.
People should also avoid vaginal, anal, and oral sex until care is complete. This will help prevent reinfection and reduce the risk of the infection spreading to others.
When to see a doctor
A individual should seek medical advice if they find any discharge that looks odd, or smells. Foul-smelling discharge is indicative of medical care needs.
A discharge of white, brown, yellow, or green may indicate an infection.
A male can benefit from medical care provided that penile discharge is followed by one of the following:
- pain while urinating or having sex
- painful ejaculation
- penile discharge that occurs outside of sexual stimulation
- itching or burning of the urethra, vagina, or vulva
- pain or tenderness of the testicles or scrotum
- abdominal or pelvic pain
For females, regular after-sex discharge includes a combination of cervical mucus and vaginal fluid. It may carry seminal fluid and sperm for males.
People might notice more discharge of the vaginal or penile during an excitement.
Penile discharge typically occurs during sexual activity, while vaginal discharge appears to be constant throughout the menstrual cycle, and varies.
If any discharge from the vaginal or penile is foul-smelling or excessively colourful, see a doctor. Such symptoms may suggest an underlying condition of health, such as BV, yeast infection, or an STI.