The uterus is a magical place that also just so happens to be super confusing. Essentially, what we’re saying is that there’s a lot we don’t know about our bodies – especially when it comes to vaginal discharge. Yes, we pay attention to discharge and notice that it changes throughout our cycles, but we don’t always know why. Now, it’s time to find out. Here’s what to expect of your discharge throughout the month…
1. Before One’s First Period
Before a young woman even gets her first period, Dr. Nancy L. Brown explains that it’s perfectly normal for them to deal with discharge. Typically, this discharge will be yellow or white and will end up drying on their underwear.
2. Beginning and End of Cycle
At both the beginning and end of an individual’s cycle, it’s common for one to notice thick, white discharge. However, this should not be accompanied by itching (which may instead be a symptom of a yeast infection).
3. Before Ovulation
Before one begins ovulating, Palo Alto Medical Foundation states that up to 30 times more mucus is produced (when compared with the mucus generated after ovulation). Dr. Alyssa Dweck adds, “Just before ovulation, more cervical mucus is produced and a clear, slippery, and stretchy vaginal discharge (think raw egg white) is obvious.”
4. During Ovulation
When you are ovulating, according to Dr. Brown, your discharge may appear to be clear and stretchy. That’s because it’s “fertile” mucus. “The change in your discharge during ovulation is designed to create a hospitable environment for the sperm to travel up to the egg,” explains Dr. Karen E. Boyle, adding that up to 2 teaspoons of discharge can be brought forth each day during ovulation.
5. After Ovulation
Similar to what one experiences before ovulation, the discharge that comes after one is finished ovulating appears clear, watery, and elastic. As one gets closer to their period, these secretions start to decrease, but become thicker and darker in color.
6. After Menstruation
Dr. Brown states, “It is not uncommon for the normal discharge to be dark, brown or discolored a day or two following the menstrual period – this is just old blood.” This is essentially the body’s way of cleaning out the vagina after menstruation.
“If spotting occurs during the normal time of your period and you have recently had sex without protection, this could be a sign of pregnancy,” confirms Dr. George Krucik. “Spotting during an early phase of pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage, so it should be discussed with your OB-GYN.”
As for white discharge, it may be an early sign of pregnancy. According to the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board, this discharge can look like an egg white or mucus from a runny nose.
With all this information before us, it’s important to keep in mind that we’re all different. To figure out what is normal for you, Dr. Brown recommends that you keep track of your discharge on a calendar for several months. This will then allow you to observe your body’s unique rhythms.
Then again, if you notice something unusual about your discharge, it’s important that you pay a visit to your doctor. If your discharge is yellow or green in color, cottage cheese-like, or has a pungent odor, these are signs you should seek medical attention.