The vaginal secretion, which flows out of the vagina every day helps to maintain your vagina healthy and clean. A normal discharge is usually completely clear although it may also be almost milky in appearance. Normal discharge will also not have an unpleasant odor.
Vaginal Discharge during Your Menstrual Cycle
Vaginal discharge varies during your menstrual cycle. Before ovulation, there is a lot of mucous produced, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation up to 30 times more than after ovulation. It is also more watery and elastic during that phase of your cycle. If you are ovulating your discharge will be thicker than normal as this is the time when your ovaries will release an egg.
It becomes abnormal vaginal discharge when the amount and appearance of discharge changes. The things to be worried about include if the discharge has a yellow or green color, is clumpy like cottage cheese, or has a bad odor.
Different Types of Discharge
Let’s take a look at the different types of discharge:
- White discharge
Thick, white discharge is common at the beginning and end of your cycle. Normal white discharge is not accompanied by itching. If itching is present, thick white discharge can indicate a yeast infection.
- Clear and stretchy discharge
This is “fertile” mucous and means you are ovulating.
- Clear and watery discharge
This occurs at different times of your cycle and can be particularly heavy after exercising.
- White, gray, or yellowish cloudy discharge
With a strange (fishy) odor, it can be caused by bacterial vaginosis.
- Yellow or green discharge
May indicate an infection, especially if thick or clumpy like cottage cheese or has a foul odor.
- Heavy, greenish yellow, frothy discharge
A protozoan infection, called trichomoniasis (STD) changes your vaginal discharge into a heavy, greenish yellow, frothy discharge that may have a bad odor.
- Brown discharge
May happen right after periods, and is just “cleaning out” your vagina. Old blood looks brown.
- Spotting blood/brown discharge
This may occur when you are ovulating/mid-cycle. Sometimes early in pregnancy you may have spotting or a brownish discharge at the time your period would normally come. If you have spotting at the time of your normal period rather than your usual amount of flow, and you have had sex without using birth control, you should check a pregnancy test.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is a highly common phenomenon that can be identified through three main symptoms: excessive vaginal discharge, changes in discharge color and odor, itching, irritation, soreness or burning sensation of vagina and vulva.
Once you find your normal vaginal discharge to be abnormal, it is better to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.