Women may normally have vaginal discharge all through their menstrual cycle. It is common to have about half a teaspoon of clear to white colored discharge each day. Depending on where you are at in your cycle, the discharge might be thick or thin. It typically has no odor.
Vaginal discharge is naturally occurring fluids combined with bacteria that the cells in the vagina shed. The change in amount, frequency, thickness, color, and even odor, occur naturally for many reasons including:
- Sexual Activity
- The use of birth control pills
- And during ovulation
During ovulation the vaginal discharge can range in color from white, to a yellow or even brown color. It can decrease or increase in amount.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of the last period to the day before her next period. Typically this time frame is between twenty-three to thirty-five days with most women falling between twenty-eight to thirty-two days each cycle. For those who have a twenty-eight to thirty-two day cycle they can approximately count from the first day of the cycle, and between ten and nineteen days out will be the window for ovulation.
Ovulation occurs when the ovaries release a mature egg. This egg then moves down the fallopian tube. If you are trying to get pregnant, this is where you want the egg and sperm to meet for fertilization. If fertilized the egg continues to move until it reaches the uterus, implanting itself in the uterine or endometrial lining.
If the egg isn’t fertilized it doesn’t implant in the lining and starts to decompose. The egg is viable for fertilization for about forty-eight hours. If the egg doesn’t implant then eventually the lining is shed through menstruation.
Ovulation and Discharge
Vaginal discharge is greatly affected by a woman’s hormones. Ovulation causes a lot of hormonal changes within the body. The levels of two of these hormones, estrogen and progesterone, climb and fall throughout the ovulation process and actually create changes in the discharge before, during, and after ovulation. Common changes in vaginal discharge include:
- Having little to no discharge or slight sticky discharge is common right after your period has ended. Vaginal dryness can occur for a few days, which lessons the chance of you getting pregnant during this time.
- Having white, slippery discharge nearing ovulation is common, and in fact signals that ovulation is about to occur. As you get closer to ovulating the discharge will typically start to get whiter in color, be slick, and will come apart if you stretch it between two fingers.
- Having stretchy vaginal discharge at the point of ovulation is just what you need for optimum fertility. The discharge at this time is often compared to egg whites. It can be clear to white in color, and stretching it an inch or two between your fingers won’t break it. This cervical mucus actually will feed and protect the sperm for several days, helping it on its journey to fertilize the egg.
- Having a slight brown discharge or even spotty bleeding during ovulation might be due to implantation of the egg. About twenty percent of those who become pregnant have implantation bleeding.
- Having sticky discharge right after ovulating is common. Again your vagina may be dry as the amount of discharge slows down or stops.
Vaginal Discharge Information
Vaginal discharge and the above changes are very normal and every woman will go through some version of this. It is important to note that before ovulation the occurs amount of mucous your body produces will typically increase more than thirty times what is when you have finished ovulating.
There are some changes to your vaginal mucous discharge that if they occur, you should see your gynecologist immediately. The changes include:
- Green or yellow discharge with pain, discomfort, or irritation that occurs in the vaginal area during the time you would be ovulating or at any other time.
- Anytime you have a rash, sores, or tenderness in and around the vagina, you could have an infection.
- If your vaginal discharge resembles cottage cheese or curdled milk, you should talk to your doctor.
- If the discharge has a bad odor you should also take to your doctor.
- Thick, white discharge that makes you itch may signal a yeast infection. Speak to your doctor.
Right after you have a period your menstrual bleeding could change from red to brown. This is generally just old blood and should stop in a day or two.
Vaginal discharge or cervical mucous will change due to a normal hormonal process throughout your menstrual cycle. During ovulation this discharge will resemble egg whites. Appearing clear to white in color and being stringy. The discharge at this time is used by the sperm for nutrition and protection on its way to the egg.