HelloFlo has written before about vaginal discharge before, but questions remain from curious readers on this confusing topic, so I’m happy to go into greater detail here about what’s going on in your underwear all month long.
Vaginal discharge is a result of an ebb and flow of hormones throughout your menstrual cycle and serves several important purposes. Secretions originate from glands in the vagina and cervix and help to remove harmful bacteria and dead cells. The clear, thick, egg white variety that is often visible in the middle of the cycle is important in helping transport sperm to egg, ultimately, to aid in conception.
You might see signs of vaginal discharge in the form of dried crust on your underwear, for months, or even a year or two, before your period even starts.
Throughout the Cycle
Remember, the first day of your period is day 1 and you continue counting each day until it starts up again the next month. The number of days and intervals we’ve provided here are averages, not everyone’s cycle will be exactly like this. Noticing your own cycle, and paying attention to any changes from prior ones, is very important. Changes in your cycle, vaginal discharge, and periods, especially sudden ones, are worth discussing with your health care provider.
Red (period) blood, sticky, color varies from light red or pink to dark brown
DAYS 2 – 5
More period, color may vary, from pink to brown, flow may vary, light, spotting to heavy flow
Pasty, white, crusty clear, or dry discharge, possibly egg white. (Some women will experience almost no vaginal discharge during this post-period, pre-ovulation window.)
Clear, stretchy, egg white, rubber cement.
Either no discharge or dry, pasty, thin secretions.
DAYS 29/DAY 1
Period begins again. If conception occurs, more or thicker white secretions may be observed but no period will come.
So, you can see, it’s quite possible to have vaginal secretions throughout the month. If you notice any odor, vaginal or cervical pain, itching, burning, discomfort with urinating or with vaginal intercourse, these are all symptoms worth discussing with your health care provider. As we said before, if you notice a change from one month to the next, especially an increase or change in vaginal secretions, it’s also worth calling your medical care provider.
As with your general health, maintaining a well balanced diet, exercising regularly, and staying well hydrated are important to good vaginal health.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.