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Have Chunky White Discharge? Here’s How to Address It

Written by Elizabeth Buescher, Gynecologist

A healthy vagina has many good bacteria and only a small amount of yeast. The most common type of bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, helps keep the growth of yeast under control. When the balance between the two is upset, yeast can growth too much, leading to specific symptoms including chunky white discharge that looks a little like cottage cheese, vaginal itching, swelling and redness, and also pain during urination and sexual intercourse.

Of all these symptoms, chunky discharge and vaginal discomfort are the most frustrating. They make you feel more aware of yourself, and can create feelings of tackiness and wetness, resulting in more visits to the restroom. The material below shows you what to do if you deal with white chunky discharge due to yeast infection.

1. Resist the Urge to Scratch

Thick vaginal discharge that’s yeast infection-related can cause itching and the strong urge to scratch as a result. Don’t forget that, just as with mosquito bites, scratching can only worsen the issue, leading to the spread of yeast spores. This, in turn, can cause an increase in the amount of discharge, resulting in more discomfort. It’s important to resist the urge to scratch in order to avoid this. The best way to address an itchy vagina is refreshing the area with a bit of water. Your doctor may also prescribe you a special unguent to help alleviate the itching and reduce swelling.

2. Avoid Sexual Contact

In addition to the intense pain and discomfort it may cause, unprotected sexual intercourse can result in spreading the infection to your partner as well. Even if using protection, it’s best to avoid any sort of sexual contact during treatment and at least one or two weeks after the infection clears. Not only will you be able to avoid vaginal discomfort, but the infection will clear up much faster this way.

3. Wear Only Loose Cotton Panties

If you experience white chunky discharge, one of the best things you can do is wearing specifically cotton undies. They are loose, comfortable, and allow air to circulate, thus preventing the onset of an infection. Tight clothing, and tight underpants in particular may worsen the issue, causing changes in your vagina’s environment and possibly removing good bacteria, thus extending the time needed for the infection to clear. This practice is good if you’re also dealing with brown, pink, yellow or green discharge caused by trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea or Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

I Have White Chunky Discharge Before Period – Is This Normal?

Some women experience symptoms that are pathologically similar to yeast infection a few days before their period is due to start. The discharge is typically thick and slightly itchy, and there may be some discomfort when urinating or engaging in sexual intercourse. However, this occurrence is absolutely normal since estrogen levels are lower after ovulation. For an accurate diagnosis of the actual issue causing your discharge to be abnormal, you should see your doctor and have a few vaginal swabs taken for analysis. Most of the time, chunky discharge before period is a normal PMS that goes away on its own once your period starts, returning a few days before your next period is due to arrive.

Chunky Discharge, a Sign of Pregnancy?

You may have heard that increased amounts of vaginal discharge are typically a sign of pregnancy, but this isn’t the case with all types of discharge. The consistency and smell of the discharge are two indicators that can serve as a guide for identifying a potential pregnancy. If the discharge is very thin, watery and slippery, and has a slight musky odor, then you may be pregnant. Note that you should not experience any other symptoms except for mild cramps, which are due to the fertilized ovum attaching to the inner wall of the uterus (endometrium).

If you experience mucus that’s rather chunky and lotion-like, chances are that you’re not pregnant. Estrogen levels increase exponentially during pregnancy, causing cervical mucus to become watery and egg white like. If the discharge is more than usual, you may want to see your doctor for a complete examination along with a Pap smear. The onset of cervical cancer is typically marked by the presence of increased cervical mucus that may sometimes be bloody and thick. Having the underlying issue checked and help identify the actual cause and treat it if needed.