Ah, discharge. We all get it. And yet we've all wondered what it is at some point. It’s a very cool feature of the vagina: it's basically a self-cleaning mechanism. If you’re anything like us, you probably didn’t know what it was when you first discovered it. We certainly remember feeling some shame about that white patch in our underwear (UGH to stigma surrounding our bodies).
Read on to find out what it is, why we get it & how it changes 👇
Okay, so… what is discharge? Each day, glands inside the vagina and cervix secrete fluid. This makes its way down the vaginal canal and ends up in your underwear. It’s designed to flush away old cells & debris as well as keep your vagina clean. It basically keeps your vagina in tip top condition!
And, if you've ever wondered why sometimes you have more discharge than others, that's because it changes depending on where you're at in your cycle.
Let’s break down what happens.
On your period (the Menstrual Phase)You probably won’t notice any discharge because of the presence of blood, which is your uterus lining breaking down.
Immediately after your period (the Follicular Phase)Discharge slowly starts to thicken in texture and is usually white or slightly yellow in colour. It may appear like lotion.
Halfway between the first day of your period and your next period (The Ovulation Phase)
Big discharge game going on right about now! You’re at your most fertile here, so expect more discharge than usual. In appearance, your discharge might be gloopier & more slippery. Did you know this is to help *potential* sperm travel up to the egg?
Second half of your cycle (between ovulation & your next period)There’s a drop in amount of discharge here and you’ll notice less, if any.
Things to look out for:
- As with everything, if you notice a sudden change in volume, smell or colour, it could be a sign something’s up.
- Thick, cheese-like discharge coupled with itching could be a sign of a yeast infection. You can purchase over-the-counter medicine for this.
- Metallic or fish-like smelling discharge could be a sign of a bacterial infection. Chat to your doctor if this is the case.