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discharge after sex = infection?

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Victoria asks:

I had sex for the first time last night, and today I've noticed that I'm discharging a lot more than usual- it's clear and has no smell, so I'm not sure I should worry that it's because of an infection- but is this normal?

Heather Corinna replies:

You know, this happens a lot.

That, after a woman becomes sexually active, or does a given new sexual thing, she'll notice what appear to be changes with her body.

But when it all gets sorted out, it pretty much always turns out that there wasn't anything different. In other words, that your discharges are probably the same as they ever were, but you're just feeling a little nervous about any bad consequences, so you're noticing them more, or are more observant about your genitals than you were before because you're worried, or looking for changes.

Mind, it's possible your discharges are just a little more fluid today because of the addition of arousal fluids or lubricant last night, but it's not so possible to have symptoms of any infection the very next morning after sex the night before. Most sexually transmitted infections are asymptomatic anyway, but even when you get symptoms from one, they're never that immediate.

So long as you're having safer sex, including using latex barriers and including getting sexual healthcare and a full STI screening at least once a year, or whenever a new risk or new partner has occurred, you can let go of the big worries. If you're not doing either or both of those things, now is the time to start. But if you are, there's little for you to worry about.

If over the next month or so you do notice any more changes to your discharge (and per infection symptoms, you'd be looking for color, texture and scent changes primarily, so clear, unscented discharge isn't anything to sweat) then it's sage to check in with your gynecologist or other sexual healthcare provider.

written 10 Jun 2007 . updated 06 Dec 2012

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