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
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?
Healthy, indicates peak fertility days
Healthy, frequent on infertile days and throughout pregnancy
(Clumpy, white, “cottage cheese”-style mucus can mean a yeast infection.)
Often just before your period (or just before you’re about to go into labor if you’re pregnant)
Usually indicates a period, but can also mean a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (report blood clots, heavy bleeding, or abdominal pain to your doctor).
Typically, old blood leaves the body, no problem
Can be normal after your period, but can indicate an infection if you experience pain or an unusual smell
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.