For women, watery, odorless discharge while running is completely normal and does not require medical treatment. The amount of discharge you experience directly correlates with your menstrual cycle. If you feel you have more discharge than normal while running, or if the discharge takes on an unusual color or consistency, consult your doctor to either diagnose or rule out any underlying medical conditions.
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The amount of discharge you have depends on several factors, such as your age, sexual activity, menstrual cycle and menstrual flow. Vaginal discharge is caused by fluids and cells being naturally cleansed from the vagina. The secretions help clean the vagina and the acidic pH levels discourage infections, the University of Illinois' McKinley Health Center explains. If you’re at a child-bearing age and are fertile, you will notice more vaginal secretion when you’re running during ovulation than at other times of the month. The amount of vaginal secretion you notice while running will depend on the amount of estrogen in your body during your cycle. Pregnancy can increase your amount of vaginal discharge and you can test for pregnancy with an at-home pregnancy test.
Clear and watery discharge can occur at any time during your menstrual cycle and may be heaviest after running. Ovulation typically occurs around the 14th day of your menstrual cycle; this is when the egg is released from the ovaries and your chance of becoming pregnant is the highest. If you’re ovulating, you may also notice slight abdominal cramping, which may interfere with your run. During ovulation, you may notice a discharge that’s a watery slime and looks like raw egg whites, Mayo Clinic obstetrician Dr. Roger W. Harms writes. Once you have ovulated, you typically have less vaginal discharge than before ovulating.
If you feel you’re leaking beyond your normal vaginal discharge volume, you could be leaking urine and confusing it with discharge. Urinary incontinence causes a loss of bladder control and may occur in younger women who have recently given birth. Otherwise, this usually affects women over the age of 50, the FamilyDoctor website notes. Stress incontinence occurs when there is sudden pressure on the lower stomach muscles, which can result while running and most commonly occurs to women. Kegel exercises can help strengthen the muscles that control the bladder, so you don’t leak urine while running.
Cloudy white and pale yellow discharge are also normal, but green or dark yellow discharge, a foul odor or a white discharge that resembles cottage cheese indicates a vaginal infection. Vaginal infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses and yeast. Consult your doctor if you suspect a vaginal infection. If your vaginal discharge is watery while running, but you’re experiencing pain, itching or notice a sore in your vaginal region, this also indicates an infection. If a vaginal infection is left untreated, it could result in a more serious medical problem, such as pelvic inflammatory disorder.
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Female Health Vaginal Discharge
- MedlinePlus; Vaginal Discharge; Nov. 1, 2009
- MayoClinic.com; Ovulation Signs: When Is Conception Most Likely?; Roger W. Harms, M.D.; Jan. 29, 2011
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; McKinley Health Center: Vaginal Discharge; 2008
- FamilyDoctor; What is Urinary Incontinence?; July 2010