Have you ever wanted to know more about ovulation symptoms, but were too embarrassed to ask?
You’re not alone. Unless you’re an ob-gyn, or have had long, explanatory discussions with someone else, knowing exactly what you can expect when you ovulate is quite impossible. While there is a number of symptoms that are common to this phase of your menstrual cycle, many women don’t experience all of them, while some don’t experience any at all.
Questions like “Is it normal to have discharge after ovulation?” and “Is white vaginal discharge a sign of pregnancy?” are common. We’ve asked our expert about some of the symptoms you can expect during ovulation – keep reading to see what other women are experiencing.
I’m dealing with an ‘intimate’ problem and I’m embarrassed to talk about it. I’ve turned 16 a few weeks ago, and since then I’ve started noticing some kind of egg white mucus coming from… well, my vagina! I don’t remember having had this before, so I’m pretty scared. I’ve noticed there’s a really heavy flow around the middle of my menstrual cycle. I have to wear a tampon just to make sure I don’t dirt my underwear – it’s really annoying. And if I don’t change it often, it starts smelling.
I’ve never had sex, so I’m really confused. What’s this stretchy fluid, and is it a reason of concern? Should I talk to my mother about it?
You probably haven’t had a real discussion with your mother about how your reproductive system works, and that’s understandable. For most girls your age, the subject matter can be quite embarrassing.
The fluid you’re talking about is vaginal discharge, also known as cervical mucus, which glands in your vagina and cervix produce to keep your reproductive system healthy, and prevent pathogens from entering your body. Most girls start experiencing vaginal discharge a few weeks up to one year before their first menstruation. The amount, consistency and color of this mucus varied widely based on different factors, including:
• time in your menstrual cycle;
There’s less discharge right before and after your period. But as ovulation approaches, the amount increases, culminating on the day the egg is released by one of your ovaries. Since fertilization doesn’t occur, progesterone levels drop dramatically, which results in less discharge, if any at all.
Normal vaginal discharge is milky white, clear or slightly yellow, and its consistency varies based on the phase in your menstrual cycle (dry and thick after period, egg white-like, slippery and clear when you ovulate, brown during your period etc).
My advice would be to stop wearing tampons, as you’re setting yourself up for bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection. Tampons change the normal pH of your vagina, removing many of the good bacteria living in the vaginal flora, and leading to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, including Candida bodies. Choose sanitary pads instead – they’re safer as their pH is neutral and are unscented.
2. I have recently had sex with my boyfriend. We’ve been together for two years now, and we’ve always been sexually active. Recently I’ve noticed that my normal cervical mucus is more than usually. I mean, I’m the type of girl who’s wet down there consistently, but not always, so this looks very unusual. I’ve had yeast infection before, but this doesn’t look like it. It’s not clumpy, smelly or itchy. Do you think I might be pregnant? It’s been two weeks from my last period, and my next one is scheduled to arrive in exactly two weeks.
The symptoms you’re describing sound normal to me. Vaginal discharge helps maintain your vaginal clean and keeps infections at bay. Normally, women experience an average of 2 grams of cervical mucus a day, but this amount isn’t set in stone. Some have lots of discharge and can’t control it; others have troubles getting ‘wet’ even when they have sex.
It’s reassuring to know that your discharge doesn’t exhibit any unusual characteristics, such as bad smell, thick or cottage cheese-like texture, or symptoms like itching, swelling or redness of the vulva. If you had any of them, then it was probably either yeast infection or a sexually transmitted disease.
If your last period started two weeks ago, and your next one is due to arrive in another two weeks, you’re likely ovulating. When you ovulate, the amount of discharge increases considerably, becoming thinner, more slippery and completely transparent. That’s because your cervix softens and gets ready for a fertilized, implantable egg. The thinner cervical mucus also allows sperm cells to travel more easily to the egg, facilitating fertilization.
If you’ve had sex anywhere during the past 3-4 days, there’s a very good chance you may be pregnant. Even if you were not ovulating at that time, sperm cells can survive up to 5 or 6 days in fertile cervical mucus, so they may be hanging around when you ovulate, ready to fertilize the egg. Although pregnancy symptoms don’t show up very fast, you may start experiencing breast tenderness, frequent urination and leucorrhea, which is increased vaginal discharge. It happens as a result of the spikes in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and is beneficial, as it prevents infections.
In case you’re pregnant, then your next scheduled period won’t come since hCG signals the stoppage of your menstruation. It’s important to wait another 10-14 days before you take a pregnancy test. If there’s not enough hCG in your urine, it may be a false negative. Since PMS are often similar to pregnancy symptoms, it will be difficult to say if it’s your period or a fertilized egg that’s causing them.
Whatever the result is, make sure to repeat it, as home pregnancy tests have an accuracy of 99%, with an error margin of 1%. You’ll want to also take a blood test to confirm or infirm the pregnancy.