Vaginal discharge can be completely normal, or it can be a symptom of certain health conditions such as a yeast infection.
Creamy white discharge is probably one of the most common types of vaginal discharge, and most women will experience it at some point in their lives. This type of discharge can have many different causes, ranging from normal to pathological.
Creamy white discharge before your period is especially common. As long as the discharge is odorless and doesn’t cause itchiness, it’s probably a normal part of your menstrual cycle.
It’s important to remember that in many cases, vaginal discharge is your body’s way of keeping itself clean. Even if the discharge is a bit icky, it’s there to protect you! The glands in your cervix produce fluids throughout your cycle. The amount of fluid that’s secreted by these glands might make your discharge stickier or more watery, depending on the phase of your cycle.
Before your period, your discharge will probably be more on the sticky side. This happens because, unlike the stretchy fluid that’s secreted during ovulation, your body is trying to prevent sperm from swimming up your cervix during these days. Without a fertile egg around, sticky creamy discharge is meant to keep sperm out.
White creamy discharge before your period is also full of dead cells, white blood cells, and bacteria. Producing discharge helps clean out your vagina from unwanted substances and microorganisms.
Because of this, some women actually produce lots of creamy white discharge a few days before their period. After your period, you could also experience some creamy pink discharge. This happens because the white discharge is tinged with blood from your period.
It’s normal to experience clear, stretchy, egg white-like mucus discharge right when you ovulate. This discharge is meant to help sperm swim so that they can reach the viable egg that’s in your fallopian tubes.
But that egg is only viable for 24 hours. And once ovulation is over, you can expect your vaginal discharge to change again. This is called the luteal phase of your cycle. During this phase, secretion becomes stickier and less penetrable.
There are several things that can cause vaginal discharge after sex. Some of these include:
- natural female lubrication
- female ejaculation
- male ejaculation, if you didn’t use a condom
- normal white creamy discharge
Some women also experience pink creamy discharge after sex. In some cases, this could be due to rough intercourse that made your cervix bleed very lightly. This can also happen if you’re having sex right before, during, or after your period.
Menopausal women can also experience creamy pink discharge after sex. During menopause, hormonal changes can cause vaginal dryness. This condition can make it more likely for women to experience vaginal bleeding after sex, since their tissues are more prone to injury.
Most women will experience an increase in vaginal discharge during their pregnancies. Although it’s understandable if you find this worrying, fear not. As long as this white creamy discharge has no smell and doesn’t cause itching, this increase is perfectly normal.
This creamy white discharge is known as leukorrhea. Rising hormone levels during early pregnancy increase your body’s production of fluid and discharge. Your body does this to keep your uterus safe from bacteria that could harm the growing baby.
Keep in mind that if you’re pregnant and you notice discharge with an unpleasant odor or feel vaginal itchiness, you should see your doctor. Vaginal infections during pregnancy could lead to different complications, including preterm birth and neonatal infections.
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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that can cause vaginal discharge. The discharge produced by BV isn’t usually white; instead, it’s yellow or gray. This discharge also has a “fishy” smell that can worsen after sex.
Yeast infections are very common. Vaginal yeast infections affect three out of four women at some point in their lifetimes. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called candida, which is a normal part of your vaginal flora. However, candida can cause unpleasant symptoms when it grows excessively.
This is more likely to happen when women take oral contraceptives, antibiotics, or suffer from diabetes. Yeast infections cause white creamy discharge, which is clotted and can be compared to cottage cheese. Symptoms of a yeast infection can also include:
- vaginal itching or burning
- genital redness or swelling
- painful urination
- painful intercourse
The thick creamy discharge that accompanies a yeast infection is usually odorless.
There are many reasons why women produce creamy discharge. If you’re experiencing vaginal discharge, using an app like Flo can help you keep track of your symptoms. It can help you understand when your discharge is normal — for example, when it only happens around your period — or when it’s time to call the doctor. As long as your white creamy discharge is odorless and isn’t accompanied by other symptoms, it’s probably just a normal part of your cycle.
However, if you’ve noticed new symptoms or a sudden increase in the quantity of your vaginal discharge, a doctor could help determine the cause of these changes. If a hormonal imbalance or infection is causing your vaginal discharge, they’ll be able to prescribe the right treatment to make you feel better in no time.