One of the vagina’s main functions is to produce discharge. The thick white vaginal discharge that is generated serves as the body’s way to rid the vaginal canal and cervix of harmful bacteria and viruses as well as eliminate dead skin cells. A woman can know that her body is doing its job by the presence of white discharge that may occur several times a month. This white vaginal discharge is entirely normal and a sign that a woman’s body is healthy and free from reproductive diseases that could negatively impact her overall wellness.
The creation of white vaginal discharge continues during every stage of a pubescent woman’s life, even when she is pregnant or going through end-of-fertility stages like perimenopause or menopause. It remains one of the body’s primary ways of keeping infections out of the vaginal canal and away from the reproductive organs. It also serves to keep the reproductive areas hydrated and lubricated. Proper lubrication is necessary for sexual intercourse and childbirth.
White vaginal discharge can be thick or thin and watery. As long as it is not green or yellow in color and free from odor or a cottage cheese-like appearance, it poses no risk to a woman’s health. If a woman sees off-color discharge or experiences pain, itchiness, cramps, or notices a distinct odor with the discharge, she should see her doctor immediately. She may suffer from an STD or a yeast infection for which treatment is necessary. Discharge that is white in color typically does not require that a woman wear a sanitary napkin or tampon. In fact, inserting a tampon to absorb the discharge could lead to irritation and cause the vaginal tissue to dry out and become damaged. If the discharge becomes distracting, a woman may choose to wear a panty liner.
What Is A White Discharge During Early Pregnancy?
Pregnant women may be alarmed to see white discharge in the earliest weeks of their pregnancies. However, the vagina does not stop producing discharge simply because a woman is pregnant. In fact, discharge in early pregnancy indicates that the cervix has closed to protect the developing fetus inside the uterus. Discharge that is mucus-like and thick also indicate that the cervix and vagina are working together to keep viruses and bacteria away from the unborn baby. Given these facts, a pregnant woman should view the discharge as a positive sign rather than something to be afraid of or try to halt.
Discharge during pregnancy can warrant concern if it takes on a certain appearance or it is accompanied by symptoms like swelling and itchiness. When a woman becomes pregnant, her hormones start to fluctuate. This fluctuation can cause the delicate chemical balance in her vagina to be thrown off, resulting in a yeast infection. Yeast infections are one of the most common minor, yet annoying complications of early pregnancy. The discharge found with one of these infections may be white in appearance, but also accompanied by symptoms like extreme itching and swelling of the interior and exterior vaginal tissue.
Women in early pregnancy are always advised to see their doctors for prompt treatment of yeast infections, especially if this is the first yeast infection they have experienced. The doctor can prescribe medications that are safe to use during early pregnancy. The discharge from an early pregnancy yeast infection may look thick and clumpy, much like cottage cheese. It also may have a bread-like odor from the yeast that cause the infection to develop. Yeast infections are not life-threatening, although they are annoying for women who are pregnant and those who are not. They are also easy and inexpensive to treat.
Is A White Vaginal Discharge A Sign Of Pregnancy?
Along with generating discharge to flush out bacteria, viruses, and dead skin cells, the vagina also is tasked with protecting a growing pregnancy. As the entryway to the cervix, the vaginal canal could be a portal of potential threats to a growing unborn baby. The vagina creates discharge that will filter out toxins like bacteria and viruses and also prevent the cervix from being compromised by diseases. When a pregnant woman notices discharge during early pregnancy, she may wonder if it is normal or something about which she should notify her doctor. As long as she is not in physical distress and the discharge does not have an odor, she should regard the discharge as normal and even expected during early pregnancy.
As you near the end of the pregnancy, a woman may notice that her discharge becomes more mucus-like and gelatinous. This discharge could be an indication that delivery is near. During the 37 to 38 weeks leading up to delivery, the cervix maintains what is called a mucus plug to keep toxins away from the pregnancy. As delivery nears, the cervix will slowly start to open in preparation for childbirth. As the cervix opens, the mucus plug will loosen and work its way out of the body.
What a woman could mistake as discharge could actually be the cervical mucus plug indicating that labor is within days or hours of starting. A woman may tell her obstetrician about this mucus-like plug so that the doctor knows that his or her patient may be delivering soon. Even after the plug is expelled from the body, the vagina may still continue to produce discharge in a bid to keep viruses and bacteria way from the opening cervix and full-term pregnancy.
What Is A White Discharge After Ovulation?
Vaginal discharge tells much about a woman’s overall health and where she is at in her menstrual cycle. Right after her period ends, she may notice that her discharge is thin and watery. As she nears the midpoint of her cycle, her discharge may become thick and white in color. This white, thickened discharge means that she is nearing the peak fertility in her cycle and could conceive a pregnancy if she were to have sexual intercourse during this time frame. Many women who want to have children use this thickened discharge as an indicator of when they can get pregnant.
The discharge during this peak fertility time is the result of hormones that work together to cause ovulation and the release of an egg from one of the woman’s ovaries. The hormonal influx makes itself apparent in the discharge that the woman’s vagina and cervix create during this cycle midpoint. As soon as the egg is released into the fallopian tubes, the hormones start to wane until fertilization has taken place or the egg is flushed from the body during a regular period. As the woman nears her period, the discharge may become thin and watery again until her period starts in full.
Women who are eager to start a family are advised to monitor their discharge and to engage in sexual intercourse when their discharge is at its thickest and whitest. For most women, this thick discharge occurs near the 14th day of their cycles. Some women ovulate sooner, however, while others ovulate after the 14th day. As long as the discharge is not yellow or green in appearance, thickened like cottage cheese, or accompanied by itching, swelling, or pain, it is no cause for alarm and even to be expected during a woman’s monthly cycle.