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All Types of Vaginal Discharge: What Do They Really Indicate?

What types of vaginal discharge are there? Did you know you can actually determine your cycle phase by the color and structure of your discharge? Find out how below!

All women occasionally notice underwear stains of various shades of white.

They are associated with vaginal discharge, which is considered normal.

Wet discharge generally looks white or transparent. When it dries, the liquid evaporates from it, leaving a white or yellowish solid that can be covered with a crust.

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This is absolutely normal, provided that your discharge is:

  • odorless or has a weak salty odor
  • not accompanied by itching or burning

Otherwise, it is recommended that you consult a doctor to be on the safe side.

Any mucous membrane needs moisturizing. The vagina’s healthy condition is maintained with the help of a viscous discharge layer.

Vaginal discharge consists of:

  • secretions (mucus) produced by the cervical and Bartholin’s glands, as well as the endometrium
  • a fluid that comes through the walls of blood vessels supplying the reproductive system organs with blood
  • secretions produced by the sebaceous and sweat glands of the vulvar vestibule
  • dead cells of the vaginal epithelium and cervix
  • a large number of bacteria colonizing the vagina, including beneficial ones, which prevent pathogenic bacteria from multiplying, thus maintaining an acidic pH

To sum up, the vaginal discharge consists of water, mucus (which is also a water-containing liquid) and cells normally present in your body.

There is nothing unpleasant about the vaginal discharge. It is as natural as the saliva in your mouth.

Now, let’s dive into the types of vaginal discharge you might see and what they can actually tell about your body.

The precise time of ovulation differs from woman to woman, and sometimes, even from one month to the next.

The egg white vaginal discharge is a telltale sign that you are about to ovulate. It’s the perfect consistency to allow the sperm to penetrate the cervix and help in the fertilization process.

The type of vaginal discharge that stretches between the fingertips when they’re spread apart means that it’s fertile! The longer the stretch holds between the fingers, the better its fertile quality.

It may be difficult to notice the changes in cervical mucus at the beginning of your observations.

A creamy discharge precedes fertile discharges (egg white type). This fluid type of vaginal discharge may be observed either before your ovulation time or later — right before your period.

Knowing your cervical mucus will help you to plan your sexual activity, in order to conceive.

Track your cervical mucus during the cycle, noting any changes on the chart, and after a few cycles, you may find a pattern.

You have logged “sticky” discharge, which is a common type of cervical mucus (CM) during your luteal phase.

You may or may not see some sticky cervical fluid several days after your period (your “dry” days gradually convert into “sticky”).

Knowing your cervical mucus will help you to plan your sexual activity, in order to conceive.

The amount and type of vaginal discharge varies among women and throughout the woman's menstrual cycle.

Some women are concerned about the amount of vaginal discharge they get. It may seem excessive, but there is no need to worry about it.

A healthy woman’s body produces an average of 1–4 ml of discharge within a 24-hour period. You can visualize this amount by filling a syringe with colored water and squirting it out onto a cloth.

This parameter varies on a case-by-case basis; that is, the amount can exceed 4 ml and still not be indicative of a problem.

It is worth remembering that the amount of female discharge sometimes increases significantly during ovulation, pregnancy, and oral contraceptive intake.

If you are having more cervical mucus than usual in your vaginal discharge cycle, or if there is itching, odor, or pain during sex, be sure to consult a doctor.

The main function of vaginal discharge is to maintain the health of the mucous membrane lining the vagina. Like any mucosa, it requires constant moisturizing to ensure comfort and protection.

Throughout the menstrual cycle, the amount of cervical mucus may vary, but even at peak times (during ovulation), it is not enough for comfortable intercourse.

Regular vaginal discharge is part of natural lubrication, but there are other processes that come into play for additional moistening.

The vaginal area becomes engorged with a large amount of blood, and the blood vessels expand, letting the transudate fluid come through their walls.

During arousal, mucus is also produced by the Bartholin’s glands (located in the vulvar vestibule) and Skene’s glands (located behind the urethra).

Vaginal lubrication is necessary for facilitating penetration as well as reducing friction and irritation during intercourse.

Its amount differs for every woman, and can vary depending on life stages or menstrual cycle phases.

Between periods, women can notice vaginal discharge, which changes in color (from white to transparent), in amount, and in viscosity during the cycle.

These natural changes in vaginal discharge cycle occur under the influence of hormones, especially estrogen.

In each vaginal discharge cycle, normal hormone-dependent processes occur in a woman’s body.

  1. Discharge is almost absent immediately following your period (“dry days”).
  2. As you approach ovulation, the amount of discharge increases, and cervical mucus becomes stretchy and transparent, like egg white.
  3. The amount of discharge decreases again before menstruation.

Observe discharge for several months and log it in Flo to notice changes in its amount and nature.

If you notice anything abnormal about your discharge, it is worth consulting a doctor.

  • No change in the nature of discharge throughout the menstrual cycle may indicate a hormonal imbalance.
  • Unusually abundant vaginal discharge observed for several consecutive weeks is one of the indicators of a high estrogen level.
  • An extremely low amount of discharge may be indicative of low estrogen levels.

Normal discharge is odorless. It is white or transparent, thick and sticky, or slippery and stretchy.

Unusual types of vaginal discharge can indicate:

  • bacterial vaginosis (discharge has a fishy odor)
  • a yeast infection (discharge is clumpy like cottage cheese)
  • trichomoniasis (discharge is yellow/greenish and foamy).
Be sure to consult a specialist if you are experiencing:
  • an atypical increase in the amount of discharge
  • changes in vaginal discharge color, smell, or texture
  • bloody discharge
  • genital skin irritation, itching or burning
  • lower abdominal pain while urinating

Vaginal discharge plays an important role in the female reproductive system. If the color, smell, or consistency seem significantly unusual, especially if accompanied by vaginal itching or burning, it could be a sign of an infection or other medical condition. If something bothers you a lot, it’s time to visit your doctor.

Frequently asked questions about vaginal discharge

Is it normal for a little girl to have a discharge?

Yes, it is usually normal for girls of all ages to have some amount of vaginal discharge. In little girls, the vaginal discharge is usually only a small amount, but it increases as they near puberty. Some girls experience less discharge and some have more; in some, discharge is clear and in some, it is yellowish or whitish. It is important to know what is normal discharge. If the discharge is having unusual consistency, color or bad odor, then it could be a sign of infection which needs immediate medical attention.

How do I get rid of discharge?

Most of the time vaginal discharge is a normal thing and a regular occurrence. You do not have to get rid of it as long as you do not experience anything unpleasant and unusual in the discharge. However, if the consistency, odor, and color of the discharge is unusual, then it is a concern. Also, if the discharge is causing any itching or burning, it could be an infection or any other condition which needs immediate medical attention. 

Is discharge a pregnancy symptom?

Yes, if the discharge is white, thin, milky and mild smelling, then it is a symptom of early pregnancy. The vaginal discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea and is normal and nothing for you to worry about. One change in vaginal discharge during pregnancy is that it varies in consistency or thickness, frequency as well as amount.  Vaginal discharge begins as early as 1 to 2 weeks after conception.

What age does a girl get discharge?

Puberty starts in girls between eight and thirteen years of age. However, it is normal for some girls to show puberty signs before eight or after thirteen years of age. A girl will usually get her period a year after she has her first vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge in very young girls is quite common for no obvious cause and is considered absolutely normal.

How much discharge is normal?

No set amount of vaginal discharge is considered “normal” for everyone. The amount of vaginal discharge churned out varies during different phases and days of your menstrual cycle. Usually, the normal range of vaginal discharge is 1-4 ml per 24 hours. Birth control pills make it less likely that your vaginal discharge will fluctuate throughout the month. Vaginal discharge increases during pregnancy. So, it can be said that vaginal discharge levels keep changing throughout the month, depending on several factors. But if you notice that you are producing way more of it than normal levels, immediately consult a doctor. 

What color is fibroids discharge?

A uterine fibroid (also termed as leiomyoma, fibromyoma, or myoma) is a noncancerous growth of the uterus. This means they are benign. The fibroids discharge is clear to white to blood red to grayish or brown in color. This discharge comes from the breakdown of the fibroid tumor and is absolutely normal. This is a common symptom that the dissolving of the fibroid is occurring.

What causes excessive discharge?

There are several causes of excessive vaginal discharge which include:

  • You are ovulating
  • You are aroused
  • You are having an allergic reaction
  • You are stressed or dealing with hormonal balance
  • You are taking antibiotics
  • You use hormonal birth control
  • You have an intra-uterine device
  • You are showing early signs of pregnancy
  • You are breastfeeding

What does it mean if you have discharge every day?

Normal vaginal discharge every day indicates a good vaginal health and a healthy way for the body to remove fluids and old cells. But excessive vaginal discharge can be indicative of some serious complications. Vaginal discharge can be white, pasty, thick, or thin — and can have irregular consistencies, a bad smell or no odor at all. Due to air exposure, the vaginal discharge sometimes may turn white or yellow

Is white discharge a sign of period coming?

Yes, usually a thick and white vaginal discharge is a sign of period coming, due to the elevated presence of progesterone — a hormone responsible for pregnancy and menstrual cycle.  This is treated as healthy unless the vaginal discharge is lumpy or accompanied by a strong odor.

In other phases of the menstrual cycle, when the body has increased levels of estrogen, the vaginal discharge tends to be clear and watery.

What does it mean if you have a milky white discharge?

You may be pregnant if you have a milky white discharge. This white, thin and milky discharge during pregnancy is called Leukorrhea. It is fairly common vaginal discharge, especially early in pregnancy.  However, if the color of the discharge is slightly whitish gray in shade with strong and foul odor, the discharge could be a sign of infection called bacterial vaginosis.






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