Have you ever been antsy about discharges? Nothing to worry about.
Your cervical mucus could change due to a variety of reasons. These discharges hoard a lot of information.
Most often, when you are trying to conceive, the mucus serves as a plausible marker of pregnancy.
Moreover, it presents data about health and menstrual cycles.
What is the difference between cervical mucus and vaginal discharge?
Oftentimes, these terms sound synonymous. But is there a difference? If so, is it palpable?
However on to know more.
Cervical mucus is the fluid released from the cervix. Technically, mucus is a discharge as well.
But your vaginal discharge is not exclusively cervical mucus. It is also made up of
- cervical secretions
- cells that the vaginal surfaces shed
- secretions from Bartholin’s and Skene’s gland situated at the vaginal opening
- substances made by bacteria in the vaginal microbiome
The pH of your vagina, texture of the vaginal discharge and cervical mucus alter. All through the menstrual cycle, the characteristics of them both fluctuate.
Sometimes, you might fret over these changes in the ovulation discharges.
It is not uncommon to do so – although a clear understanding of your vagina is helpful.
You must have noticed that the vaginal discharge changes in consistency. This happens throughout the menstrual cycle.
The fluctuation of your estrogen levels results in this. The vaginal estrogen also propels the increase of vaginal discharge.
The estrogen increases the glycogen in the vaginal tissues. Furthermore, it increases blood flow, tissue elasticity and collagen.
Both these mechanisms in your vagina increase lubrication and discharge.
It is easier to understand discharges after you have a grip on ovulation.
A slight detour
Your menstrual cycle involves the trio of hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovaries at play.
The hypothalamus releases Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This induces the pituitary gland to secrete the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
FSH triggers your ovaries to develop follicles. These follicles mature to produce estrogen.
When your estrogen levels rise, the pituitary gland releases Luteinizing Hormone (LH). This sets off ovulation.
If you are trying to conceive, you could always confirm your fertile days.
Inito Fertility Monitor helps with this. It measures the levels of FSH, estrogen, and LH, to predict your fertile days.
Moreover, it checks progesterone (PdG) to confirm ovulation.
To learn more about the interaction of progesterone with ovulation, read here.
Post ovulation, the egg travels towards the fallopian tube to the uterus. The egg waits for the sperm to fertilize it.
This is a concise alternative to the mechanism of ovulation and your menstrual cycle. Let us now delve into understanding the vaginal discharges.
What are the various consistencies of vaginal discharges?
Right after your periods, your estrogen levels tend to be quite low. Most often, there is no mucus discharge.
But if you do notice any, it is sticky with a white and cloudy color.
Similarly, when the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining waits to shed itself off as blood. Your estrogen levels, then, are low as well.
In the week leading up to the period, there is a similar vaginal discharge.
As the menstrual cycle approaches ovulation, the estrogen levels rise.
This alters the cloudy color of the discharge to a clearer one. You can also notice that it is more liquidy than before.
There are constant switches in the nature of the discharge. This could mean that they can be a potential marker of the fertile days.
Can vaginal discharge hint you about ovulation?
Yes, it can. Slightly before and during ovulation, the estrogen levels are extremely high.
This causes a more liquidy and clear discharge that resembles egg whites.
Is there a change in the discharge if you are pregnant?
Usually, the estrogen levels tend to reduce if the eggs are not fertilized.
But, after you are pregnant, the estrogen levels continue to increase. Therefore, the discharge remains the same or increases.
As you progress towards your periods, the discharge turns sticky and dry. Meanwhile, if you are pregnant, it continues to remain slippery and clear.
If you think you are pregnant, it is better to confirm it using a pregnancy test.
How can you check your cervical mucus?
Usually, you can notice the discharge on your underwear or the toilet paper after urination.
You can observe the nature of discharge by inserting your fingers. You can choose either of the methods based on your comfort.
- Wash your hands and fingers before examining.
- Insert two fingers into your vagina.
- Pull them out after you collect enough mucus.
You can now observe the consistency and color of the mucus. Note them down for further information about the menstrual cycle.
Can vaginal discharges change due to other factors?
It can also be affected by other factors such as sexual activity and consumption of oral contraceptives.
If your discharge is slippery, sticky or liquidy, it is harmless. But if you have associated symptoms, it is important to visit a clinician.
In case you are concerned about heavy vaginal discharge, you can use a pantyliner. If you have chronic infection or irritation, it is better to avoid it till it gets resolved.
When should you be concerned?
Discharges are usually normal. It is a vital component of your vaginal ecosystem.
The vaginal discharge, with its secretions and mucus, is important for the defense mechanisms.
It is not necessary to check for discharge secretions internally.
But changes in the usual color and consistency could suggest infections.
You should visit the doctor if
- you are experiencing abnormal discharge
- you have a vaginal odor
- your discharge is blood-tinged
- your discharge is green or dark yellow in color
- Discharge is a normal part of the vaginal ecosystem and defense mechanisms.
- Cervical mucus forms your vaginal discharge.
- Vaginal discharges can also include other secretions.
- The color and consistency of the discharge changes throughout the menstrual cycle.
- If you have abnormal discharge or vaginal odor, consult a physician.
- Vaginal discharge and ovulation
- What does the ovulation discharge look like?
- Is there a change in vaginal discharge during ovulation?