Discharge from your vagina is completely natural and normal and it’s one of the many wonders of the female body. When you understand where the mucus on your underwear comes from and why it’s there, you’ll not only feel empowered but want to share this knowledge too! Chloe Chivers from Kolorex is on hand to answer all the questions you have but were too afraid to ask about vaginal discharge.
What is vaginal discharge?
The discharge you see in your knickers and experience at your vaginal opening during the day is a combination of vaginal fluids and mucus from the cervix to keep you happy and healthy down there. The glands inside your vagina and cervix produce secretions that serve important functions like balancing the pH, lubrication, optimising fertility and keeping your vagina clean.
What are the types of vaginal discharge?
Discharge is different for every person. It’s normal to see and experience different types of vaginal discharge throughout your cycle as your hormones ebb and flow. What’s important is to keep track of what’s normal for you. As estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate with the cycle phases, so does your discharge.
Some days vaginal discharge can be white, creamy, or milky; other days, it can be clear, slippery, and similar to raw egg white, found commonly around ovulation. A few days after menstruation and post-ovulation, it’s also common to experience a dry or sticky sensation. Go ahead, have a peek; it’s your beautiful bodily fluid!
What is normal vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge colour, texture and smell change throughout the menstrual cycle with some people experiencing lots of vaginal discharge, while others only have a small amount. Leading up to ovulation it is common for the quantity of mucus to increase.
Vaginal discharge varies in descriptions, but you may come across some of the following – watery, clear, stretchy, creamy, milky, white, cloudy, tacky or sticky. Along with visuals, you will also experience a subtle scent that has a mild, musky smell that is not unpleasant.
What is abnormal vaginal discharge?
Although discharge can change throughout the cycle phases, changes in colour, smell and texture can sometimes signal that something is out of balance, especially if there is itching, burning, or irritation. If your discharge is yellow, grey, green, resembles a thick cottage cheese consistency, or has an unpleasant odour, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional.
Get to know YOUR normal vaginal discharge
As a naturopath, I like to educate women to understand what normal vaginal discharge is to them, as it is such an individual thing. It is also a helpful indicator to understanding when our body or vagina is out of balance. When this happens, I often look to nature for answers.
I love the herb Horopito to support vaginal health. Horopito (Pseudowintera Colorata) is endemic to New Zealand’s majestic rainforests and this incredible plant has developed a unique ability for surviving in damp, dark conditions and warding off moulds and fungus found in the forest. Horopito can gently soothe vaginal discomfort and is a great herbal helper for a healthy and balanced vagina.
Remember vaginal discharge is beautiful and natural! I encourage you to begin tracking your vaginal secretions every time you go to the bathroom. Take a folded piece of toilet paper and wipe from front to back then note down your observations. Your discharge is important feedback on the health of your vagina and body and it’s a great idea to pay attention to your natural rhythms and recognise what is normal vaginal discharge for you.
Chloe Chivers is an Australian qualified Naturopath working as an in-house health advisor for vaginal healthcare brand Kolorex. She also runs her own practice and specialises in women’s health. Here she talks about vaginal discharge, answering some of those questions we’ve all been too embarrassed to ask.