Normally, the vagina is a self-cleansing organ. Vaginal discharge is released to moisten and clean the vagina. By doing this, the vagina is able to prevent infections and maintain a stable pH level. While vaginal discharge is normal, it can change throughout the menstrual cycle. While it tends to be heavier right before and during ovulation, vaginal discharge can decrease at different times in the cycle.
At times, women may experience unusual discharge or excessive discharge. While this could be due to hormonal fluctuations, there are also medical reasons why the vaginal discharge could change drastically. It is important to pay attention to vaginal discharge to learn what is normal for your body. If you experience unusual discharge, make sure to talk to your gynecologist about it to make sure that it is not a sign of a major problem.
When Is Clear, Sticky Discharge Considered Normal?
For the most part, clear, sticky discharge is nothing to be too concerned about. Vaginal discharge is generally not perfectly clear. Instead, it is slightly cloudy because of the skin cell, cervical mucus, microorganisms and lymphatic transudates that are present in the discharge. Clear, sticky discharge is most often during ovulation and sexual arousal. It can also occur during pregnancy. Depending on the cause, the quantity of the discharge can vary.
One of the reasons for a clear, sticky discharge is pregnancy. This will most likely occur frequently during the first trimester of pregnancy, and the fluid can seem quite stretchy. The same type of fluid may also appear before labor starts. This type of cervical secretion occurs because of hormonal changes in the woman’s body during pregnancy. Right before labor, the mucus plug is secreted, which can cause the discharge to look different than normal. If you have lost your mucus plug or have discharge mixed with blood, talk to your doctor because labor may be about to begin.
During ovulation, it is normal for your cervical discharge to increase. You may also have a discharge that is slightly yellow in color. This occurs because of hormonal changes in the body near ovulation. Ovulation will typically take place between day 12 and day 16 in your menstrual cycle. At this time, your discharge may look like a raw egg white. It will appear clear, thin and stretchy.
Cervical discharge will often increase right before ovulation, and you may have egg-white cervical mucus for about two to three days. The body releases this type of discharge to make it easier for sperm to reach the egg. Women who track their cervical mucus can pay attention to these changes to figure out when they are most fertile. Often, it takes several months of tracking your cervical mucus until you have a clear idea of when you are most fertile and could ovulate.
3. Sexual Arousal
When a woman is sexually aroused, her body releases extra discharge to make it easier for sexual intercourse to occur. Often, your body will release a clear, sticky discharge because of sexual arousal or an orgasm. If this discharge is healthy, you should not experience any irritation, discomfort or itching from the discharge. If you do experience unexpected symptoms, you can go to your gynecologist for a vaginal swab and test.
When Is Clear, Sticky Discharge a Problem?
Clear, sticky discharge will generally not be a problem. You can tell if it is abnormal by paying attention to any other symptoms that occur at the same time. If the discharge turns yellow, completely white or gray in color, there may be a problem. Likewise, brownish clots or blood drops could be a sign of a problem. You should also go to the doctor if you experience these symptoms as well:
– A foul odor
– An abundance of discharge that does not go away
– A fever
– Pain in your lower abdomen
– Discomfort, irritation or itching in your vaginal area
– You feel dizzy or lightheaded
– Your general health worsens
While most instances of clear, sticky discharge are normal, there are times when you should be worried. Keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms and make sure to share these symptoms with your doctor?
What Do Other Symptoms Mean?
While clear, sticky discharge is nothing to worry about on its own, other symptoms could indicate that there is a problem. We will cover some of the additional symptoms you could experience and what they could mean.
1. A Foul Odor
A foul odor is often a sign of a vaginal infection or other problem. The smell of vaginal discharge can vary between different women, so it is important to learn what is normal for your body. If you notice a foul odor, it could be due to a problem like pelvic inflammatory disease, bacterial vaginosis or human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is spread through sexual contact and can increase your chances of developing cervical cancer. While it rarely has obvious symptoms, it can cause a foul odor and bloody, brown or water discharge.
Bacterial vaginosis is another cause of foul, fishy odors. It is caused by a common bacterial infection that is easily treated by a doctor. Likewise, pelvic inflammatory disease can be fairly easily treated if you go to your doctor to be diagnosed. It is spread through bacteria that infect reproductive organs and can cause a strong, foul odor.
2. Bloody or Brown-Colored Discharge
Sometimes, your discharge will look brown instead of red near the end of your menstrual cycle. Spotting and brown discharge is fairly normal at this time of the month. If you experience spotting in the middle of your cycle, it could be a sign of implantation bleeding, a sexually transmitted infection or an early miscarriage. Consistent brown discharge could also be a symptom of cervical cancer, so it is important to get a pelvic exam each year.
Many women have some white discharge at the beginning or the end of their menstrual cycle. If the discharge looks thick like cottage cheese or causes itching, it could be a sign of a yeast infection.
4. Green or Yellow Discharge
It is not normal to have yellow or green discharge. This is something that you should be especially worried about if the discharge is thick, smells bad or has chunks. When this happens, it could be an indication that you have a trichomoniasis infection. Signs of this type of infection include pain, inflammation and itching. In addition, a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection can also cause yellow or green discharge.