Things You Should Know About Vaginal Discharge
You probably just wipe it away and don’t think about it—vaginal discharge that is. But not all discharge is created equal, and the sticky white stuff can actually tell you a lot about your health. Here are some things you need to know about vaginal discharge.
What it is
To set the record straight, discharge is actually mucus that your cervix creates as a way to remove old cells and flush out potentially harmful toxins. So discharge is usually a good thing.
The healthy kind
You want your discharge to be clear or white and have a sticky consistency similar to phlegm. Sorry, but it’s the most efficient way to describe it! And it is mucus after all.
Discharge and ovulation
If you don’t feel like messing with ovulation calendars and apps, you might be able to get the information you need through your discharge. Some women create more when they’re ovulating.
Birth control can create more discharge
Some forms of birth control stimulate the discharge-creating glands inside your vagina, so you might see a little more discharge when you’re taking the pill.
Birth control can also decrease discharge
If you’re on a pill with a strong progestagen component and weak estrogen element, you might experience vaginal dryness.
It’s part of sex
Discharge is an important part of your own personal and natural lubrication. If you think you create too much of it, maybe you’re just a lucky person with a lot of self-made lube.
It can get stuck
Discharge can get stuck between your inner and outer vaginal lips. This isn’t harmful in any way—just know if you find sticky white stuff stuck in there, it’s probably that. No need to be too grossed out.
Discharge and pregnancy
You’ll create a lot more discharge during pregnancy. Your body is sending plenty of blood to your vagina. Some pregnant women have to wear panty liners just to deal with the excess discharge.
Discharge near delivery
As you near the end of your pregnancy, you might notice that your discharge has become much thicker. This is normal—it’s a part of your cervix preparing for labor.
Maintenance and discharge
For some women, getting the discharge on their skin can actually cause irritation. If this is the case for you, keeping pubic hair longer can help as it keeps discharge from coming in direct contact with your skin.
It might be useful for cancer research
Doctors are currently doing studies that could allow discharge to be used for cancer research. Because discharge carries particles from the cervix, its properties could soon be analyzed to track cancer cells and more.
If you have yellow, green or grey discharge, this could be a sign of vaginosis. Smelly discharge could be another indicator.
If your discharge has a cottage cheese consistency, this could be a sign of a yeast infection. You’ll likely also experience burning and itching down there.
If your discharge gives off the smell of rotten eggs, you may have an STD—most likely trichomoniasis. See a doctor right away.