Attention ladies (and curious gentlemen). Today, we are going to discuss a very secret yet important issue: what vaginal discharge looks like. Our vaginal discharge chart will illustrate this.
We will also answer common questions about vaginal discharge like: Is my discharge normal? Should it be white or yellow? Should it be slimy or gel-like? Is it normal for it to turn brownish? All these questions haunt us, yet we keep mum on the topic.
But here’s the truth: vaginal discharge is normal. Every woman has it. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not gross. And, it is a part of your body.
To help you better understand this natural discharge from your body, we’ve made the ultimate guide with everything you want and should know about. We look into the different types of vaginal discharge as well as what is considered abnormal to know when to seek medical attention.
Vaginal Discharge Chart: Everything You Want To Know
Image source: iStock
Your vaginal discharge is made up of vaginal secretions and cervical mucus. This is a normal bodily function and keeps the vagina healthy. It is unique to each woman.
However, certain types of vaginal discharge can be abnormal and even indicate an infection. Let’s try to understand this in depth.
What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge?
Typically, normal vaginal discharge will be clear or whitish and will not have any foul smell. The texture may vary. It could be watery and thin or stringy. It depends on what time of the month you checked. It’s time to check the vaginal discharge chart.
The volume of vaginal discharge may also vary. For instance, you might see a little on a few days, more on some and then none on others.
The ‘normal’ could vary, so you must know what is normal for you. Now how do you understand that? You can do this by looking at the discharge’s colour, consistency and odour.
What Are The Different Types Of Normal Vaginal Discharge?
Based on the vaginal discharge chart, normal vaginal discharge can range from white to yellow and thick to slimy. It all depends on your health condition and the time of the month you checked.
The cervix creates four types of mucus in the vagina based on the time of ovulation.
To understand more about normal vaginal discharge and its nature, here are its various types and forms in detail. We’ve listed everything from its colour, substance, and what it looks like. This way, you can determine whether your discharge is completely normal or if it should raise a cause for concern.
1. Dry discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: Dry vaginal discharge looks like this. | Image source: YouTube screengrab.
As the name suggests, this type of discharge is dry, and pasty and makes penetration difficult. You may feel your vulva becoming quite dry, and this mostly happens during the infertile time of the month, seven days before and after your menstrual cycle.
These days are also called ‘dry days.’ You are least likely to get pregnant these days, even if you have unprotected sex. The purpose of this dry, pasty discharge is to block sperm from entering your uterus.
2. Creamy discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: Creamy discharge looks like this. | Image source: YouTube screengrab.
As estrogen levels begin to rise in the body, the cervix will produce a more liquid discharge. At this time, your vulva may feel sticky and wet.
You may notice sticky and wet discharge on your labia during the days between ovulation and dry days. So, for instance, if you have a 28-day cycle, you will see this type of normal vaginal discharge between your 7th and 11th day.
In the discharge chart, typically, this type of discharge is thin and can filter out poor-quality or abnormal sperm before they enter the uterus.
3. Egg-white discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: Egg-white discharge typically occurs when you are fertile. | Image source: YouTube screengrab
As you near your ovulation days, you will notice a stretchy and slippery discharge. This is often called egg-white vaginal discharge or ovulation discharge.
You may feel a distinct wet sensation right at your vulva with strings of egg-white-like discharge. Some may even be clumpy.
Based on the discharge chart, this is a good sign of ovulation. If your menstrual cycle is 28 days, you may see this type of discharge between the 12th and 16th. So if you are planning to conceive and you notice this type of discharge, it is a good time to start trying.
This ovulation discharge creates an easy pathway for good-quality sperm to enter the uterus.
4. Lubricating vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: This is what lubricating vaginal discharge looks like. | Image source: YouTube screengrab.
Just days before ovulation begins, your discharge will become quite slippery. The cervix mucus loses its stretch and becomes lubricating.
Interesting fact: the last day that you notice this type of normal vaginal discharge is actually the most fertile day of the month.
That’s because it is the last day before the egg is released. This type of discharge is also potassium-rich.
5. White vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: This is what normal, creamy discharge looks like. |Image source: File photo.
This is usually a normal vaginal discharge. You may notice a little white discharge at the beginning or the end of your monthly menstrual cycle. This is the discharge before your period that you may notice.
However, if you see a thick slimy discharge with a cottage cheese texture that is accompanied by itching, you have contracted a yeast infection.
You can also detect infection if the white discharge is accompanied by a foul smell, pelvic pain and severe itching or uneasiness.
6. Clear and watery vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: clear, slippery vaginal discharge is quite normal. | Image source: YouTube screengrab
Apart from the set types of vaginal discharge, you may notice a clear watery discharge as well. This can come at any time of the month.
It is not abnormal at all. In fact, it’s completely normal, and you will especially notice it after you’ve had a strenuous exercise session.
7. Brown or bloody vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: Bloody mucous could occur just before or after your period. However, if it is smelly or you experience pain, you should see a doctor. | Image source: YouTube screengrab
Right after your period ends, you may notice a brown discharge. Worry not. It is also normal vaginal discharge. It’s just your body’s way of clearing your uterus after your period.
In addition, if you’ve had unprotected sex, and you notice a brown or bloody vaginal discharge, it could indicate pregnancy. Alternatively, heavy spotting can also indicate a miscarriage. Either way, you must rush to a doctor for a proper checkup.
In postmenopausal women, this may be a sign of cervical cancer. A routine pap smear or a pelvic examination can clear that doubt.
8. Yellow vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: if you have yellow discharge, please see a doctor. | Image source: YouTube screengrab
A yellow discharge can potentially mean an infection. Usually, this type of discharge is thick and if it smells foul, it is a clear indication of an infection of the vagina.
It can also potentially indicate trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted infection. You should note that while most women suffering from chlamydia or gonorrhoea do not show any symptoms, a yellow discharge is an indication. So keep an eye on this type of vaginal discharge as it is not normal.
9. Green vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge chart: Green vaginal discharge is not normal. | Image source: YouTube screengrab.
Such vaginal discharge is abnormal and usually a sign of a severe internal infection. If it is accompanied by a foul smell, it is also indicative of trichomoniasis.
If you notice this type of vaginal discharge, you should visit your doctor.
Now that we have taken a brief look at types of normal vaginal discharge and a few that are abnormal let’s understand what makes vaginal discharge abnormal.
Women who have been pregnant before know that vaginal discharge increases during pregnancy. It is caused by elevated hormone levels and blood flow in the vagina.
While it can be bothersome, the purpose of increased discharge during pregnancy is to prevent infections as your cervix and vaginal walls soften.
What does early pregnancy discharge look like? At the start of your pregnancy, you may notice that the discharge is thin and clear or white and only has a mild odour. This is also known as leukorrhea.
But towards the end of the pregnancy, the discharge will thicken and sometimes have a brown or blood tinge in it, which can be a part of the mucus plug.
Is It Normal to Have Vaginal Discharge Every Day
The short answer is yes, but it depends on what kind of discharge you’re talking about.
Some people experience vaginal discharge that’s thin and clear—this is known as leukorrhea. It’s not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and is actually pretty common, especially if you’re going through puberty or menopause.
Other people may experience thick, white discharge with an odour—this is known as malodor. This type of discharge can be a sign of an STI like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, so it’s important to get tested if you’re experiencing this kind of discharge on a regular basis.
What Is An Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Image source: iStock
When normal vaginal discharge has an imbalance of bacteria and gives out a foul smell or colour, it becomes abnormal. Here are a few things (as listed in WebMD) that make vaginal discharge abnormal.
- Antibiotic or steroid use
- Bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection that is common in pregnant women
- If women have multiple sexual partners
- Birth control pills
- Cervical cancer
- Chlamydia or gonorrhoea (STDs), sexually transmitted infections
- Vaginal douches
- Using scented soaps or lotions, or even taking a regular bubble bath
- Pelvic infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection caused by unprotected sex
- Vaginal atrophy, the drying and thinning of the vaginal walls during the menopause phase
- Vaginitis, is an irritation in and/or around the vagina
- Yeast infections
Smelly Vaginal Discharge
At times, vaginal discharge can become smelly or change colour. The most common causes are infections or allergies—especially if you’re wearing synthetic underwear or using scented soaps.
Here are some tips for avoiding smelly discharge:
- Wear cotton underwear
- Avoid scented soaps and tampons
- Limit the use of douches and feminine hygiene sprays
- Wash with unscented soap
Vaginal Discharge Chart: Things to Consider
To determine whether your vaginal discharge is normal or abnormal, doctors check certain crucial factors. These include previous medical history, pregnancy, menopause and even fever.
Here’s what you will be asked if you go for your vaginal discharge check-up:
- Are you pre-menopausal or menopausal?
- Have you conceived and are pregnant?
- Do you experience any abdominal pain or fever with your discharge?
- Does your vaginal discharge have a foul smell?
- Have you noticed a rash or a bump near your vagina?
- Did you have unprotected sex?
Apart from these, another crucial factor is colour and consistency. Although it should be noted that sometimes even white discharge can become abnormal if there is an underlying medical condition.
In such a case, the doctor will administer a pap smear test or take a sample of your vaginal discharge.
How Do You Treat Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Image Source: iStock
Once your doctor has identified the cause of the abnormality in your vaginal discharge, your treatment will start accordingly. For instance, if you have a yeast infection, you will be prescribed anti-fungal medications that may be taken orally or inserted into the vagina.
You may be given pills or creams for bacterial vaginosis. And for trichomoniasis, you may be prescribed metronidazole or tinidazole.
While you will probably refer to your doctor in case of abnormal vaginal discharge, keep a few things in mind even if you have normal vaginal discharge.
- Keep your vagina clean by washing it with some warm water and mild soap.
- Use 100 per cent cotton panties, and do not wear extremely tight underpants.
- Do not use scented soaps, douches or feminine soaps.
- After using the bathroom, make sure to wipe from front to back. This will prevent infection from entering the vagina.
If you follow just these basic rules, you will be able to maintain a healthy vagina.
Updated by Pheona Ilagan
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