Us ladies are amazingly complex. As part of our menstrual cycle we have a vaginal discharge cycle that can tell us so much about our health and fertility.
While there are times when the discharge may be abnormal, there is a ‘normal’ pattern yours will follow in line with your cycle. It might go from creamy, to egg white and stretchy to white, sticky and dry.
Knowing what each phase of discharge means can tell you so much about where you are in your cycle. It can even help you to get pregnant, or avoid it.
Getting to know your cervical mucus (another word for discharge) can also help you spot when something isn’t quite right. It could be that it is related to hormones or an infection.
In this blog, we are going to look at the different types of discharge during each phase of the month and answer some of your most commonly asked questions about your vaginal discharge cycle.
The vaginal discharge cycle explained
Discharge during menstruation
Day one of your cycle is the first day of your period. During this time hormones progesterone and estrogen are very low.
This means that your cervix won’t be producing much fluid- if any. Chances are, you won’t see any discharge during this time as your period is in town.
Discharge before ovulation
Before you ovulate and after your period is called the follicular phase.
During this time your body is gearing up to release an egg within the next 14 days, though this will depend on how long your cycle is.
In the first few days after you have finished your period your estrogen levels will be rising. This will cause a dry spell as they are not high enough to trigger any cervical fluid.
After a few dry days you will start to notice a sticky and thick discharge.
It may develop into a lotion type texture with a white colour over the coming days.
Discharge during ovulation
In the days before you ovulate your hormone levels will rise and your cervix will start to produce a slippery, stringy discharge that could be compared to raw egg white.
This is the type of environment that sperm loves.
If you are trying to get pregnant then this cervical mucus means it is go time.
If you aren’t planning a pregnancy then when you see the raw egg whites it is time to play safe.
Do keep in mind that while cervical mucus tracking is a good way to indicate ovulation it is most accurate when used alongside ovulation strip tests and tracking your body temperature each morning.
You probably won’t have to hunt for this kind of mid cycle discharge, it will likely be evident in your knickers or on the toilet roll when you wipe.
Discharge before your period
After you have ovulated your progesterone levels will rise. This will create sticky or tacky cervical mucus or it might even dry up completely. If you are not pregnant, your period will be in the post any day.
Discharge before your period may be white, tacky and sticky. It may also be tinged with pink. Just before your period it will likely dry up completely as hormone levels drop off.
Signs discharge is unhealthy
When you start to track your cycle, from menstruation and discharge to how you feel, you will notice when something isn’t quite right.
There could be a change in:
Vaginal discharge smell
Vaginal discharge may or may not have a smell. However, if there is a smell it would be mild and not particularly unpleasant. If you are noticing a fishy smell or something that is just not usual for you, then it is time for a doctors appointment.
Vaginal discharge colour
Vaginal discharge can have a yellow tinge, particularly when it has dried in your undies. It can also be white and creamy, or even pink if it is mixed with spotting. If you notice a green, grey, brown or yellow colour to your discharge it could be a sign of a hormonal problem or an infection. See your doctor.
Vaginal discharge consistency
While the consistency of your discharge changes over your cycle some changes can indicate a problem. If you are noticing chunky, thick, textured or very thin cervical mucus then it could be an issue.
How do I track my vaginal discharge cycle?
To track your vaginal discharge cycle you could download an app. Period or fertility tracking apps often have a place where you can input your cervical mucus.
Great apps include:
How do I find vaginal discharge?
There are a few ways to find your cervical mucus.
- Look in your underwear
- Before you wee, wipe your vagina with toilet paper and see any discharge on the paper
- Insert clean fingers into your vagina and inspect the texture and colour
Why don’t I have normal discharge during menstrual cycle?
If you are taking hormonal birth control, such as the pill, then your cycle will be disrupted. While you may bleed every 28 days your body is having a withdrawal bleed, which isn’t a period.
If you want to really get to know your body and understand your cycle, then you would need to avoid hormonal birth control.
You might look to using fertility tracking apps where you add your body temperature, track your discharge and other factors to help determine your fertility.
Have a chat with your Doctor about birth control and your options.
Another reason why your discharge cycle might be off the standard pattern may be because of hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalance can cause irregular periods and therefore vaginal discharge cycles.
CBD oil may help to balance hormones, which can also help with low mood.
Why do I have clear stretchy discharge before period?
Progesterone levels should cause your discharge to change into a sticky, tacky, white and cloudy substance. However, if you are noticing clear stretchy discharge before your period is due, then it could be a few different things.
- Day old sperm
- You haven’t ovulated yet and your cycle is longer than expected this month
- You are pregnant
Discharge during menopause and perimenopause
As you go through the menopause your estrogen levels will drop significantly. This can cause your vagina to become dry. This can be uncomfortable and lead to irritation. Read our blog on natural remedies for a dry vagina.
What is discharge supposed to look like?
In a nutshell, discharge can be anything from sticky and tacky, to lotion like or creamy. It can even resemble raw egg whites. This is all totally normal and part of your vaginal discharge cycle.
If you are noticing something that is not right for you, or experiencing symptoms of an infection, STI or other issue, always seek medical advice.
Summary for the skim readers
This has been a pretty long post, so we won’t take offence if you skimmed past to the summary.
- Vaginal discharge can be sticky, tacky, stretchy or lotion-like.
- Some days may be ‘dry days’ particularly after your period has just finished.
- By getting to know your vaginal discharge cycle you can understand when you are ovulating. Using cervical mucus tracking alongside body temperature can indicate fertile days and be used as a natural method of contraception.
- If vaginal discharge is chunky, smells unpleasant or is a different colour to usual, it could indicate an infection.
Want to know more about your vagina? We discuss how to do proper vaginal hygiene on our blog.
The NHS website also has a lot of information on Vaginal Discharge
Thanks for reading and lots of love,
Our Remedy xx