February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Vaginal discharge provides clues about your health and fertility

It is normal for women to experience different types of vaginal discharge at different times. Your discharge provides information about your health.

What is vaginal discharge?

It is a combination of fluid and cells made by the cervix and excreted through the vagina.

Normal discharge lubricates and protects your vaginal tissues from irritation or infection.

Abnormal discharge that itches, burns, smells, or is an unusual color may indicate a medical problem.

Yes, it is normal for the discharge to change!

Your discharge changes throughout your monthly cycle and gives an indication of your fertile days (the days when you are most likely to get pregnant).

After wiping, observe the discharge on a clean/flat cloth or use your fingers to note the texture

during your period

Mainly blood cells from the uterus, which shed their inner lining

after your period

dry or moist; no observable discharge for a few days

Before fertile days

Cloudy or white and feels thick, pasty, or creamy

fertile days

several days before and after ovulation transparent, stretchy and slippery (like egg white); helps sperm survive and fertilize the egg

Post fertile days

Dry or thick; minimal discharge until period starts again

Hormones affect your vaginal discharge

Estrogen levels affect mucus, so women with lower estrogen levels (during menopause or while taking birth control) usually have less discharge or drier patches of sticky mucus.

What color should the vaginal discharge be?

Clear

Healthy, indicates peak fertility days

White

Healthy, frequent on infertile days and throughout pregnancy

(Clumpy, white, “cottage cheese”-style mucus can mean a yeast infection.)

pink

Often just before your period (or just before you’re about to go into labor if you’re pregnant)

Red

Usually indicates a period, but can also mean a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (report blood clots, heavy bleeding, or abdominal pain to your doctor).

Brown

Typically, old blood leaves the body, no problem

Yellow

Can be normal after your period, but can indicate an infection if you experience pain or an unusual smell

Green

Not healthy; can indicate a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia

Does vaginal discharge have an odor?

Normal, healthy vaginal discharge has only a slight odor.

It’s normal to smell semen and other liquids after sex, but these go away after a shower.

A foul, fishy odor can indicate bacterial vaginosis—an infection that needs treatment.

Contact your doctor if you notice any discharge or vaginal odor that worries you.