If you notice a thick, white vaginal discharge, you may worry instinctively that something is wrong. However, in most cases, a discharge of this type is normal, especially if it has no odor.
Vaginal discharge is part of a process that cleans the vagina and helps in moistening it, to prevent vaginal infections. The amount, texture and color of vaginal fluids can change at times; call your physician if you detect a sudden change in the smell or color of your discharge.
Here are the various types of white discharge that you may experience:
1. Thick White Discharge
Some women become alarmed when they notice a thick white discharge, but it’s not abnormal. As your body progresses through its cycle each month, vaginal discharge thickens.
A. White Discharge before your Period
This pre-period discharge is normal, too. It may occur at the beginning or end of your menstrual cycle. As long as you don’t experience any odor or itching, this is not a cause for concern.
B. Thick White Discharge when Pregnant
Your body undergoes many changes when you’re pregnant, and one of them is commonly an increase in normal vaginal discharge. Your vagina creates more discharge during pregnancy, to help in keeping the cervix sealed, healthy and moist. You may notice more white discharge in your third trimester. As long as it’s clear or white, and has no odor, it’s most likely normal.
C. Thick White Discharge that appears Clumpy
This discharge is also normal, as long as it is odorless and smooth. If your white discharge has a texture like cottage cheese and has clumps in it, this can be a symptom of infection. Call your physician to help you clear up any issues.
A discharge that is clumpy and greenish or yellowish may indicate a yeast infection. If it has a bad odor, call your physician, as it may be bacterial vaginitis.
You can treat yeast infections with over the counter medications or prescriptions, but your physician can make sure that what you have is, indeed, a yeast infection.
D. Thick White Discharge after Engaging in Sex
A white discharge after you’ve just had sex can alarm you, but in the majority of cases, it’s quite normal. Some of the reasons you experience it right after sex include:
• Male Ejaculate
You may not be seeing a discharge originating in your body, after sex. If you are engaging in sex without a condom, you may be seeing male ejaculate. It can be thick enough to resemble a vaginal discharge.
• Cervical Mucus
Your cervix produces a white mucus at various menstrual cycle stages. Its purpose is helping the sperm meet the egg to be fertilized. Depending on what stage you’re in, you may notice thick, white, dry mucus after you engage in sex. It usually signals the end of your cycle. If it’s stretchy and clear, you may be ovulating. If you don’t want to get pregnant, take extra precautions during this time.
• Lubrication of the Vagina
When you’re aroused, a fluid is often secreted, as an aid to intercourse. This fluid is white or clear, and somewhat watery. Your body may produce it even after sex has taken place.
2. Milky White Discharge
This discharge is normal, and may be indicative of several things. You may experience it while you are ovulating. If your discharge is thick and stretchy, it’s usually an ovulation sign.
Sometimes, this creamy white discharge can be a sign that you’re pregnant. Some women notice this sign before any other pregnancy symptom. It either has a mild odor or no odor at all.
3. Excessive Discharge
Excessive amounts of thick, white discharge may be normal, but could also be in indication that you should call your physician.
The most common reasons for a heavy discharge include:
If you are under a great deal of stress, your body may create more discharge. Stress creates imbalances of your hormones, and this can affect your discharge. Handling stress better, through relaxation or yoga, can help your body react less to its presence.
B. Sexual Excitement
Vaginal discharge is a perfectly normal lubricant for intercourse. The hormones that lead to your arousal will also create a steady discharge. If you become aroused, you may note excessive discharge.
Many women secrete excessive thick, white discharge during pregnancy, especially in its early stages. During pregnancy, your vagina produces more mucus, to keep the cervix sealed and healthy. You may notice a thick discharge during your third trimester, as well. As long as it is odorless and clear, it is considered normal.
This is a typical time to experience excessive discharge. Your progesterone levels at this time are high, and this creates more discharge than usual. If you experience excessive discharge ten days to two weeks after your first day of menstruation, it is usually just an ovulation sign.
You may also experience discharge during your menstrual cycle. It may be noticed at the beginning or end of your normal cycle. It could appear more watery and elastic after ovulation. As long as the discharge is itch-less and odorless, it is generally not something you need to worry about.
When to Call your Physician
As mentioned, you usually don’t need to worry about having a thick white discharge, particularly if it is elastic and gooey. Note any changes in your discharge, though. They may be changes in odor, color or consistency. If it looks like there is pus in the discharge, or it appears foamy or more like cottage cheese, set up an appointment with your physician.
Even if your discharge is white, there can be other signs that tell you to contact your physician. If you experience redness, burning, swelling or itching in the vaginal area, call your physician.
A thick white discharge is in most cases quite normal. If you notice any other signs, be sure to let your physician know. You may have some type of infection, and your physician can help in clearing it up, with the right medications.