What is a discharge?
A discharge is a fluid or mucus that comes out of a girl or woman's vagina. It is normal to have a discharge. A normal discharge ranges from clear to milky white in color. It could be smooth, creamy, thick or stick in consistency depending on what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in.
This type of discharge is produced by the glands in the cervix and the glands in the walls of the vagina.
Around a year or two before a girl starts having her period, white discharge starts coming out from her vagina. The discharge continues until after menopause. This is based on her changing level of hormones at puberty.
The discharge helps to keep the vagina moist, clean, and protects it away from infections.
"So what exactly causes this discharge and why is it necessary" you ask
What Causes Discharge?
A discharge is caused by a variety of reasons. Every woman gets a vaginal secretion. The question is "is it a normal or abnormal discharge?"
1. Hormonal Changes
During a woman's monthly menstrual cycle. Two hormones estrogen and progesterone controls the menstrual cycle. During the first phase (follicular phase) the estrogen hormone is dominant. During the second phase (Luteal phase) Progesterone hormone increases while estrogen level diminishes.
The changing levels of this hormones triggers the glands in the cervix to secret different types of white discharges. They could be thin, thick, sticky or tacky stretch, wet, dry secretions.
2. Vaginal Infections
Another cause of discharges in women is an infection of the vaginal. Not all infections are sexually transmitted diseases. Yeast infection and Bacterial vaginosis are mostly caused when there is an imbalance between the organisms in the vagina.
Sexually transmitted infections such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea are transmitted during sexual intercourse.
Symptoms of abnormal vaginal infections are:
- Yellow or greenish in color
- Itchy or has an unpleasant smell especially fishy
- Burning sensation during sex and while urinating
- Vulvar soreness
- Vaginal opening irritation
- excessive watery or clumpy discharge
Is it normal for a woman to have a discharge everyday or during early pregnancy?
Having a white discharge is very normal and it lets you know what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in. Women trying to conceive keep adequate track of their discharge daily.
Not all women experience discharge every. But some women do experience discharge however little daily. The first 1-3 days after your period is usually known as the dry days. As your estrogen level increases in the follicular phase, your discharge also increases, up until ovulation. When a slippery transparent egg white is produced.
The amount of discharge you have varies from woman to woman. Some women suffer from hormonal imbalance or estrogen dominance which can cause them to have excessive discharge. Also if you have a vaginal infection you would continue to have a itchy or smell discharge. This vaginal infections may be recurring at a particular time in the month.
Different Types of Discharge with Pictures
1. Milky White
A milky discharge is perfectly normal. Most women experience this discharge before their period or after their period. This discharge helps in washing away dead cells an harmful organisms from the cervix.
2. Clear Watery
A clear watery fluid is also perfectly normal. As long as it doesn't have a fish or unplesant odor. And it is not itchy.
This type of discharge also helps keep the vagina clean and prevents germs from getting into the uterus.
3. Egg White / clear and stretchy
Egg white cervical mucous is the slippery and stretchy discharge that you see at ovulation. This discharge indicates that you are most fertile. The purpose of the egg white discharge is to make the acidic and harsh vaginal very sperm friendly. Also Help the sperm in easy movement and navigation towards the egg.
4. Yellow Discharge
A yellow or yellowish green mucus indicates an infection. A normal discharge should be clear, white or off white. If the discharge is accompanied with unpleasant like fish then you have bacterial vaginosis.
5. Green Discharge
A green or yellow greenish discharge means you have an infection. If the discharge is itchy and smelly, you most likely have Trichomoniasis.
6. Brown Discharge
A brown bloody discharge could happen anytime in your cycle. If you see constantly see brown spots between your period, see a doctor.
Another possible reason for a brown discharge is implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding usually happens 6-7 days after ovulation. When the fertilised egg burys itself into the walls of the uterus.
If you are pregnant and you notice a brown or bloody mucus, see your doctor immediately.
It is also possible to see a brown discharge after your period. During mensuration the uterine lining contracts to expel blood and shed the lining of the uterus.
Not all the blood is sometimes expelled when you are on your period. This may be due to uterine incapacity.
The remaining blood is then expelled some few days after your period is over as a dark brown blood.
7. thick white Creamy discharge
Most women experience, creamy white discharge after ovulation. A creamy discharge signifies that you are in your non-fertile phase. The non-fertile cervical mucus prevents easy sperm movement in the vagina.
8. Thick White Clumpy Discharge
If you have a discharge that is clumpy and resembles cottage cheese then you have a yeast infection or thrush. It may be whitish or off white in colour.
Every healthy vagina naturally contains yeast cells and bacteria. The proper balance between the yeast and bacteria is what makes the vagina healthy and infection free.
But if due to some reasons, the yeast cells starts to multiply at an abnormal rate, it leads to yeast infection. Yeast infection is a fungus infection caused by the organism Candida Alblicans
What is the female discharge before period
A milky white or creamy discharge is common before period. Due to hormonal changes after ovulation, where the hormone progesterone takes over from the estrogen hormone. This discharge before period signifies your period is coming soon.
What are the normal discharge color?
Discharge color can vary from one woman to another. But a normal discharge is usually clear to milky white-ish in color. If you have an infection or sexually transmitted diseases your discharge will range from yellowish to greenish.
Is White discharge a sign of pregnancy
If pregnant, a thin milky white discharge known as Leucorrhea may serve as a symptom and sign of early pregnancy.
Not all women experience or notice this discharge in early pregnancy. So don't worry if you don't.
Some women experience implantation cramping or implantation bleeding as pregnancy signs before a missed period.
The best and most reliable way to confirm pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test about a week after a late period.
Picture of What yeast Infection discharge look like?
Yeast infection or thrush happens mostly in warm and moist areas in the body, like the mouth and or vagina.
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections are:
- Intense vaginal itching and vulva soreness
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Burning sensation during and after intercourse
- Thick clumpy white discharge that resembles cottage cheese or wet toilet paper