Understanding Vaginal Discharge: What You Need to Know

12 February 2024  |  Admin

Vaginal discharge might not be the most glamorous topic, but if you're female, you've got it.

But why does discharge vary in colour and consistency? Well, it's down to hormonal changes in your estrogen levels. We have the answers...

What Does Discharge Before Your Period Mean?

At the beginning and end of your period white or creamy discharge is normal and can be up to 4ml (almost a teaspoon) every day. The amount of vaginal discharge may increase or decrease in volume.

Discharge before your period is your body's way of preparing for menstruation and is usually nothing to worry about.

White Discharge

White discharge is what you'll see most of during your menstrual cycle and most women have a small amount of this daily.

White discharge is one of the most common types of vaginal discharge. Before your period, it can become thicker and more abundant. This type of discharge is typically a sign of normal hormonal changes in your body.

Hormonal birth control such as birth control pills or the coil can increase the amount of white discharge.

Creamy Discharge

Creamy discharge is another common type of discharge before your period. It has a thick, creamy consistency and may be white or slightly yellowish. Like white discharge, creamy discharge is usually nothing to be concerned about and is a sign of your body's natural menstrual cycle.

If however your discharge become more like cottage cheese, then it's possible that you have a yeast infection or thrush and should see your GP.

Sticky Discharge

Sticky discharge is exactly what it sounds like – thick and sticky. It's common to experience sticky discharge before your period as your body prepares for menstruation. This type of discharge helps to protect your vagina and keep it healthy.

If you're sexually active, sticky discharge can also simply be semen making it's way out of your body.

Stretchy Discharge

If you have stretchy, slippy discharge, good news, you're just about to ovulate! And you may well have LOTS of it, up to 30 times the usual amount of discharge.

"Lots of choice, they work like a charm and are really cheap compared to other brands of this quality.

Used the "feeling free" for two cycles now. Whenever I just put them on they feel a tiny tad thicker and less stretchy than my usual briefs, and it has a kind of rustly sound to the touch, but I compare them to my usual nylon quick dry sports briefs, so it's kind o unfair because Nothing is as supple and inexistent when worn as those. And once I'm fully clothed, nothing bothers me anymore!!

They don't rustle, shift, leek, sweat, chafe, itch (even the tag is soft) cut into my hips or leg skin and they don't bother me at all, and I surprised about how good they absorb anything into the crotch part so ti doesn't feel dirty after visiting the loo without changing. They even dry quite fast after sporting compared to regular cotton underwear in which my legs and the crotch stay wet for longer after sweating a lot.

I've both used them with my cup and without, and also when I'm losing a lot of discharge around my fertile phase. I have a light flow and I can wear one 24h no problem and smell free. Bye-bye diaper feeling, it truly feels like regular underwear and when I say that it really means something! I have only 3, and it's enough for me. So to you hesitant people out there with fear of itchy fabric, tags or other peculiarities around your clothing size and fabric: try them out, at the worst you might only have to make a size change which is free of charge! " Rosanne, Trustpilot

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Why Do I Have Brown Discharge but No Period?

Brown discharge or bleeding between periods can be alarming, but it's often nothing to worry about. If it's a few days after your period, it's usually just old blood that is being expelled from your uterus.

However, if you experience brown discharge or pink watery discharge or vaginal bleeding with other symptoms like pain, it's a good idea to see your doctor.

What Does Discharge Look Like Before Period if You’re Pregnant?

If you're pregnant, you may have an increased amount of thick, milky white discharge just before your period is due.

It's tricky to tell whether this type of discharge varies from normal discharge, but it may be thicker than normal. If you think there's a chance you may be pregnant and have extra discharge, it's a good idea to do a pregnancy test as this can be an early sign of pregnancy.

"Excellent period pants. Actually used this in the very late stage of pregnancy as fluids discharge increased and very comfortable to wear. Hoping to use it for first bleed after birth too!" Trustpilot Review

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Is My Pre-Period Discharge Normal?

In most cases, as we have already discussed, pre-period discharge is completely normal. It's your body's way of preparing for menstruation and is a sign that your reproductive system is functioning properly.

However, if you notice any changes in color, odour, or consistency of your discharge, or if you experience itching or irritation, it's important to see your doctor.

When to Talk to a Doctor about Vaginal Discharge

While most changes in vaginal discharge are normal, there are some signs that may indicate a health condition, particularly if you are sexually active or have a new sexual partner.

If you experience a significant increase in discharge, a foul odour or fishy odour, changes in color or odor, or if you have any other concerning symptoms like itching or burning, or pelvic pain it's important to see your doctor.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and sexually transmitted infections (STI's) such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) can also impact your discharge. Discharge from BV is grey-ish in colour.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis can also cause changes to discharge. Chlamydia and gonorrhea cause more yellowy discharge. Trichomoniasis can smell fishy with yellow-green discharge and itching.

Your Doctor can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment if necessary.

We hope this has been helpful to you.  If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to us, the team all use the products themselves and LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods.

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About the Author: Helen Rankin founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. 4 kids later, she went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include period pants, reusable period kits and reusable sanitary pads. Both she and the rest of the leadership team are now navigating menopause, with all the joys it brings!

The Cheeky customer services team pride themselves on providing honest, friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long, helping people make the switch to reusables! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.

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