One of the questions we get asked frequently is “Is my discharge normal?”
The most well-known fluid to women is the blood that results from her menstruation. However, did you know that we have five different kinds of discharge throughout our monthly cycle?
These fluids can indicate information such as whether or not you’re menstruating, ovulating, which part of your cycle you’re in, and can even point to conditions that may be occurring in your cervix.
If something seems off, it is important to schedule an appointment with your Ob/Gyn right away.
First, let’s brush up on the basics of your cycle. While not every woman has the same amount of days in her menstrual cycle, it lasts between 21 and 35 days on average.
The length is determined by the number of days between the first days of your menses. For example, if the first day of your period was January 5th and the first day of your next period was February 7th, then the length of your cycle is roughly 33 days. So, even though only one part of the cycle is the ‘most famous’, there are actually a few more important players and, in essence, a woman never really begins or ends her cycle - it just keeps going!
There are 4 phases of your cycle:
1. Menstrual phase: During this phase, the inner lining of the uterine wall starts to shed and as a result, menstruation occurs.
2. Follicular Phase: During this phase, one of the eggs in the ovary begins to grow and mature. As this is happening the egg follicle sends out a hormone messenger to signal the uterus to start developing a lining of blood to start forming for the egg.
3. Ovulation Phase: During this phase, the egg has matured and has left the ovary via one of the fallopian tubes toward the uterus.
4. Luteal Phase: During this phase, the egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus and waits to be inseminated. If it isn’t, then it disintegrates, and the inner lining of the uterus gets ready to shed - which initiates the menstrual phase.
How can we tell when these other stages are happening? What are the other fluids?
The fluids produced during the cycle produces originate from the cervix, which is located below the uterus. When the menstruation phase occurs, the cervix doesn’t cease to produce its fluids - they’re just not visible due to the blood that is flowing at the same time.
There are 5 main kinds of fluids that occur every month and two other fluids, which happen during specific times of a woman’s life.
Five main kinds of fluids:
1. When your cycle starts, you will notice that the fluid is white and thick.
2. When your cycle ends, the fluid will be white and thick.
3. When ovulation is about to begin, you will notice that your discharge is clear, lubricious and rubbery.
4. During ovulation, you will notice that your discharge is clear and thin. This is a clear indication of fertility.
5. After ovulation, a similar kind of fluid that is slightly darker will be produced during ovulation.
Two other kinds of fluids are:
1. The discharge right before a young lady’s first period: The fluid is similar to #1 and #2 on our previous list but may have a slight yellow tinge to it.
2. The discharge that indicates when a woman is pregnant: This may come in the form of spotting and as the pregnancy progresses, she will produce discharge that is thinner, slightly odorous and white.
If your discharge begins to look abnormal, it may indicate several conditions. For instance, if the texture is clumpy, that may mean that you might have a yeast infection and should see your Ob/Gyn for treatment.
If your discharge has any or a combination of the following characteristics, schedule an appointment by calling (631) 587-2500, as it may be indicative of an infection or other abnormal conditions:
● Strong smelling
● Green in color
● Yellow in color
● Heavy in texture
There are many kinds of fluids that are by-products of our cycle. It is important to pay attention to your body as it communicates the condition it is in. The more aware and in tune we become of this, the quicker we can respond by seeking medical attention if needed and practicing self-care.