Not a Dirty Subject: Let’s Talk About Discharge
Having discharge is a normal part of female sexual wellness and wellbeing, but many women feel embarrassed to talk about it and so don’t know what is normal and what is not. The vagina produces these secretions in order to stay healthy clean, protected against germs and infections and lubricated.
Normal vaginal discharge will be transparent and should be either odourless or have a very mild odour. It can look white at times and the amount varies due to hormonal changes at different times of the month. The amount also varies between women.
Some young girls find that before their periods start, they begin to get vaginal discharge, and this is totally normal. It is a sign that the hormone levels are changing in the body and that it is gearing up for the arrival of puberty and menstruation. It could still be six months to a year before your first period arrives following on from this increase in discharge.
Most women don’t need to take any special considerations for their vaginal discharge, although others feel more comfortable if they are wearing some kind of thin liner or pad when it is at its heaviest.
Vaginal discharge changes throughout the month in response to the various stage of the menstrual cycle and also environmental factors too. When ovulation occurs, the cervix generally produces more fluid, theoretically to help the sperm pass through the cervix and fertilise the egg. Women who are in the middle of their cycle may notice that their discharge becomes heavier and also sticker, like egg white.
Pregnancy can also cause an increase in vaginal discharge, as can sexual arousal, and you may also find that there are other factors that can lead to a change in your vaginal discharge, such as stress, certain drugs (such as contraceptives), diet changes and breastfeeding.