Vaginal Discharge and Cervical Mucus

Every person with a vagina will have vaginal discharge, mucus, and secretions on a normal basis. These are a normal part of vaginal functions and self-cleaning.

Discharge

This fluid is made by glands in the vagina, which help prevent infection by carrying away dead cells and bacteria.

The amount of discharge, the odor, and the color will change depending on where you are in your cycle.

The color usually ranges from clear to milky white-ish.

It’s normal for the amount of discharge to increase during ovulation, breastfeeding, or sexual arousal. It may also increase if there is a lack of personal hygiene.

 

Mucus

This fluid is secreted by the cervix and plays a part in nourishing and protecting sperm as it makes its journey to meet with an egg.

The amount of mucus will fluctuate during ovulation and will peak during the most fertile days in your cycle. Cervical mucus is normally lowest immediately after your period, which can cause a feeling of dryness.

The normal consistency of mucus is clear and stretchy, similar to that of egg whites.

 

What’s Normal?

Taking note of what’s normal for you in both discharge and mucus will help you keep your vagina healthy. If there are any changes in odor, color or texture, or if you experience itching or burning, it’s a sign that you may have an infection and that it’s time to contact a physician.

Some of us experience the extra wetness while either of these are exiting our bodies. It can make moving around uncomfortable, and cause chafing, irritation or rashes. Some people experience an accumulation of wetness that seeps through to their outer clothes.

Using a pad on your underwear to collect mucus is safe but it is not suggested to regularly use a tampon during these times. Because tampons absorb all moisture, you may experience vaginal dryness, micro-tears, and vaginal ulcers, and have an increased risk of infections – or even more serious, toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Menstrual cups are perfect for collecting excess discharge and mucus, and are safe to wear for up to 12 hours before needing to be removed and washed. They can be emptied and re-inserted immediately afterwards. Unlike tampons, you can use any size menstrual cup to help reduce the amount of excess moisture.

Menstrual cups do not absorb or interfere with the delicate balance in your vagina, so you can use one even when you’re not on your period!

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