Vaginal Discharge: What’s Normal? 17


Many women wonder about vaginal discharge color, weird textures, and other changes. What’s normal? What’s not normal? Why do you even have vaginal discharge? Can you get rid of it? Are all pretty common questions that just aren’t talked about very often, much like most women’s health topics. We’ve designed this page to offer a rough overview of vaginal discharge to, much like our page on period blood colors and textures, hopefully ease your wonder.

First question, what is vaginal discharge? What does it do?

Color, texture, and other changes in vaginal discharge are easier to understand if you understand what exactly vaginal discharge is.

Vaginal discharge is sort of like… the snot of the vagina. I know, that sounds sort of horrible, but it serves the same purpose. It works to keep the vagina clean and moist to prevent infection. It does also present some reproductive purpose obviously, hence you’ll notice more discharge while fertile or sexually excited.

Discharge is made up of skin cells, vaginal secretions, bacteria, and cervical mucus. The balance of these components as well as hormonal changes to mucus and secretions can alter the appearance of vaginal discharge in both color and texture as well as change the smell and quantity.

Normal vaginal discharge:

Normal discharge will vary in color, consistency and quantity depending on where in your cycle you are. For example, just after your period you may notice brownish, yellow, orange or pink discharge as a result of remaining blood from your period.

A few days after your period has ended, you’ll likely see less discharge, if any at all, but it may seem thick and sticky. Discharge at this stage is often white or yellowish.

Towards the middle of your cycle, when you ovulate, you’ll notice discharge becomes steadily more plentiful, slippery and becomes clear before turning to a thick, stretchy, almost snot-like egg texture. This egg-white like discharge is a sign of peak fertility.

After ovulation this discharge slowly dissipates for some. Others continue to see clear discharge until their period. It then goes back to being scant and sticky or not present at all. You may notice an increase in discharge just before your period as well. Normal discharge does have a slight odor, but it should not be described as foul.

Abnormal vaginal discharge:

Grey, yellow, very thick white, or brown discharge which is usually accompanied by a foul scent, itching, or burning is typically a sign of infection and should be evaluated by a care provider. This could be as commonplace as a yeast infection, so don’t make the assumption that if you haven’t had sex, you can’t have vaginal infections.

I hope that this quick explanation of vaginal discharge has proved helpful. As this is a parenting website, you can find a slightly more in-depth breakdown of color and consistency meanings in our pregnancy discharge post.

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Marisa

To my comment below my last cycle date was July 20th not August 20th. Sorry for the typo. I also forgot to mention that when using the bathroom some time ago today, there was discharge on the toilet paper, but didn’t seem yellow to me, but I could be wrong.

Marisa

Hi, my name Marisa and I am 29 years old. First, I just want to say that your articles are extremely helpful and informational! I read each of them fully and made myself aware of all the factors. I have pretty normal periods, usually every 27 days. I keep track of everything on my phone through P Tracker Lite APP. My last cycle date was August 20th, well this is where I am confusing myself. On July 20th, I bled, but very light, bled again the following day very light, then bled heavy on Friday the 22nd. Then my period… Read more »

Tar

I have a question so I have had clear thick snot like jelly discharge what is that considered as? It can’t be eggwhites or am I wrong. I’m 9 dpo as of today and it’s a lot of it. It not from sex haven’t had sex in 3 days.

A

Good Evening. I was reading through your other post about normal or abnormal periods and you’ve stated many times to people that brown or clotted periods are fine. The thing I’m still worried about is the fact that I’ve never had a “normal” period. I have always gotten dark brown/black periods and I cant seem to figure out why. I thought more exercise would help to “get it going” but that had little to no affect. I have had many clots which have varied in size and shapes. I am 18 and have been experiencing this for around 7 years.… Read more »