Understanding Your Vaginal Discharge

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There are a few topics in women’s health that you might not want to talk about with your family or friends, but is still really important to get answers for. While we recommend talking to your doctor about anything you are concerned about, we have some answers to get you started on the topic of vaginal discharge.

The first thing to understand is that every woman has vaginal discharge. It is very normal, and it is also normal to change to different amounts and textures throughout your menstrual cycle. Here are some things to know about vaginal discharge.

Different Types of Discharge

First things first – let’s talk about the different types of vaginal discharge you may see during your menstrual cycle. 

White and Sticky or Creamy – For the majority of the month, you will probably notice that your mucus is white and either creamy or sticky inconsistency. This occurs both at the beginning of your cycle, and near the end shortly before your period arrives.

Watery – Another common type of discharge is watery, which is typically clear, and occurs before you get to your fertile period, though you might notice it after a workout, or shortly before your period.

Stretchy – This is often referred to as “egg white cervical mucus” because it is clear and stretchy, similar to egg whites. It is the most fertile type of mucus, so if you are trying to get pregnant, it is a good indication that you are in your fertile period. This tends to occur a few days before your ovulation each cycle.

Brown Discharge – Don’t be alarmed if you have a discharge that is brown or has streaks of blood in it. This is completely normal around the time of your period, either before or after you get menstrual flow. Some women also experience it in the middle of their cycle during ovulation.

Is Your Discharge Abnormal?

All of the above types of discharge are normal, with the exception of the last greenish or yellowish discharge, which might point to an infection. 

However, there are some types of discharge that are abnormal and should be discussed with your physician.

It has a strong odor. The vaginal discharge might have a slight odor, which is normal. However, if you suddenly notice a very strong odor that is unpleasant, you might want to see your doctor or OBGYN.

It is green or yellow in color. A discharge that looks yellow or green, especially accompanied by itching, burning, or an odor, could be a sign of an infection.

It is cottage-cheese like. Yeast infections usually present with a few symptoms, starting with vaginal discharge that is thick and looks like cottage cheese. This combined with itching and burning could be a sign of a yeast infection.

There is itching and redness with your discharge. Additionally, if you notice a lot of itching or redness with any type of discharge, it is another sign of an infection.

When to See Your Doctor

Even though it isn’t the easiest conversation to have, it is really important that you talk to your doctor any time you have the above symptoms. The sooner you get treatment for your infection or other condition, the sooner you will experience relief.

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