If you are anything like me, then you have certainly been annoyed by white vaginal discharge and itching at least once in your life. Most of the time, the underlying cause of abnormal discharge is an infection, but this is not always the case. Stress, hormonal changes and even pregnancy may sometimes cause changes in the color, consistency, odor or amount of your discharge. At the time I have first experienced abnormal discharge, I was not even aware that my vagina produced that kind of secretion.
Needless to say, I was grossly appalled while at the same time very scared when I noticed something that resembled uncooked egg white coming out from my vagina a few days before period was supposed to start. I immediately proceeded to eliminate the secretion by cleaning my intimate area with my usual body soap, and made sure to combat the slightly musky odor by spraying deodorant. A few days later, the discharge turned sticky, white, itchy and smelly. Despite the white discharge and cramps I was experiencing, my period came four days later than it was supposed to.
It’s understood that I went to the doctor to see what was causing the itchy white discharge. Here’s what I found out.
1. Vaginal Discharge Is Normal AND Healthy
After my gyn explained to me the actual role of vaginal discharge, I wasn’t feeling as appalled as initially. Apparently, this discharge is produced by glands inside the vagina and cervix, and it helps flush out dead cells and bacteria. In other words, it keeps your vagina healthy and prevents infections. By proceeding to get rid of it, as I did, you are basically creating a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive in, as you’re essentially removing the thing that maintains the vagina’s pH below 4.5.
While some women have more discharge, others don’t – I was part of the first category. Color can range from clear egg white to milky to pale yellow, consistency can be anything from dry and clumpy to watery and slippery, but there’s no odor. Usually, a bad odor indicates the presence of an infection, which is why you should be seeking medical assistance if you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your vagina.
2. There Is More Vaginal Discharge Before Period
Along with cramps, breast tenderness and lower back pain (which are all common premenstrual symptoms) also comes white clear discharge. As your period approaches, your estrogen levels increase, which directly impacts the amount of vaginal discharge. As such, you may be experiencing up to 30 times more discharge during the middle of your menstrual cycle than after period. However, there should be no itch, swelling, redness, bad odor or cramping. The discharge might sometimes soak through your undies, which is still absolutely normal.
3. Hygiene Products Do More Harm Than Good
I’ve already mentioned that, in order to eliminate the discharge, I used soap and then sprayed some deodorant to my genital area. Hygiene products, deodorants and perfumes, while good for the rest of your skin, can have a negative impact on your vagina. That’s because they alter the vagina’s pH value and change the vaginal environment, creating perfect conditions for bacteria to fester. This is exactly what happened to me – the soap and deodorant disrupted the balance between good and bad bacteria, and I got a yeast infection.
To avoid this, you should be using specifically water to keep yourself fresh, and occasionally use mild, unscented soap if you really want to get that feeling of cleanliness. Wear cotton underpants, use unscented toilet paper, never use tampons to soak the discharge, and make sure to wipe from front to back. Also, avoid public restrooms, unprotected sex, and tight clothing.
4. Vaginal Discharge Indicates When You’re Fertile
Interestingly, vaginal discharge can also indicate when you’re the most fertile. Dry discharge is usually non-fertile because it doesn’t allow sperm cells to travel to the uterus. Creamy, pasty discharge is slightly fertile, but chances to get pregnant are low. Egg white, sticky discharge is fertile, as it allows sperm cells to travel vigorously to and unite with your egg. Clear, slippery discharge is the most fertile of all, and it occurs the day the egg is released or the day before. If you start tracking the changes in vaginal discharge over two or three months, you can identify your most fertile days so you can get pregnant more easily.
5. Never Leave an Infection Untreated
Every woman deals with a vaginal infection (or vaginitis) at some point or another. You will know that you have vaginitis if you experience itchy vagina and white discharge, bad smell, redness, swelling, burning at urination, or pelvic pain. If you listen to my advice and track the changes that your discharge suffers throughout the menstrual cycle, you will be able to identify those signs that may indicate an infection. If they occur, see your doctor immediately. Never leave an infection untreated, or else you may encounter severe complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, miscarriage, preterm delivery or ectopic pregnancy. Follow the doctor’s indications as to how to take your treatment, and keep taking it for as long as instructed even if the symptoms seem to go away.