Vaginal discharge is a part of a healthy and normal menstrual and mucus cycle, and how your vagina communicates with you throughout the month.
We tend to think that if you are overly concerned about your mucus discharge you must be trying to pinpoint your fertility window. This is not the only benefit of monitoring your cycle; knowing and understanding your mucus cycle can help you track your vaginal health overall.
When you see red, you are on your menstrual cycle, and then once your bleeding ends your mucus cycle begins. Hormonal fluctuations again are at the root of mucus discharge and not enough is said about this little subtlety which is a potent indicator of your cycle and intimate health.
Vaginal discharge makes an appearance with the onset of puberty, triggered by hormones, and this secretion keeps the vagina clean, moist, and safe from infection.
What is vaginal discharge and cervical fluid?
Vaginal discharge is the umbrella term used to describe fluids that come from your vagina. Cervical fluid is still discharge, but has the job of being the gatekeeper of sperm moving past the cervix and controls this by changing consistency. This is completely different to the fluid your vagina produces as a sexual response.
Cervical mucus has two important jobs as a gatekeeper:
- Barring entry to the uterus
- Ushering sperm to the uterus
Mucus will change in quantity and consistency depending on the stage of your cycle. Mucus is formed by the glands in your cervix, and you will notice this on your underwear, toilet paper, or on your fingers. You could also feel it when you may feel extra moist or sticky down there.
Here is how the cycle works:
(Image credits: https://lovelibra.com/the-down-low/all-things-periods/whats-that-in-my-underwear/)
This is based on the assumption that your cycle is 28 days long: all cycles are unique and may require some exploration and observation to determine your individual cycle.
Days 1 to 5 : Your menstrual cycle (period).
Days 6 to 9 : Dry phrase, little to no mucus, if there is it could be extremely sticky.
Days 10 to 12: Thick mucus appears. The consistency would be creamy and look cloudy white or pale yellow.
Days 13 to 15: Mucus becomes thinner, is slick and like egg white in consistency, and rather clear. This phase is called ovulation, where an egg is released and you are fertile.
Days 16 to 21: Mucus thickens again, it feels sticky and tacky and will appear cloudy white or pale yellow.
Days 22 to 28: little to almost no mucus.
Some women could have more discharge than another and factors that can contribute are genetics and/or contraceptives.
Wet, Wet, Wet…
Getting wet during sexual activity is also normal. This is a physiological reaction in preparation for sex. There is a lot that goes on in your vagina as she prepares to have you experience the best sex in your life…one being creating plenty of lubrication for an anticipated insertion or penetration.
How do you start?
When tracking your cervical mucus wash your hands first. This should be done before you have peed ideally in case your trip to the loo was for a dual purpose. You can insert a clean finger into your vagina, use toilet paper or examine the mucus on your underwear.
- Don’t attempt to track mucus during or right after sex; arousal fluids can completely throw you off track and we could have semen hanging around which could make things confusing.
- Don’t try to wash away or douche away your natural vaginal fluids, it is not unhealthy or unhygienic, in fact it protects the vagina by keeping the vaginal tract clean and healthy.
- Watching your vaginal discharge is most important because it can provide a clear indication of something amiss down there.
Here is a color wheel indicator that you can follow to assess if you need remedial action to restore your vaginal health.
(Image credits: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322232#red)
Red: from bright to a dark rust color, period bleeding. If this happens outside of your menstrual period it could mean you have underlying issues you will need to consult your doctor.
White: Shades of white, cream and pale yellow, is healthy lubrication. However, consistency matters and if it looks like cottage cheese and has an odor and itches: it could be a yeast infection which needs medical attention
Yellow/Green: Usually indicate a bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Usually accompanied by a foul odor, a doctor's visit needs to be scheduled
Pink: Can mean many things, indicating that trace amounts of blood is present, it could be spotting between periods, implantation bleeding during pregnancy, ovulation in some cases, small tears or irritation after sex.
Clear: Egg white consistency ovulation, sexual arousal, and sometimes occurs during pregnancy.
Gray: Indicative of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), and a doctor’s visit is strongly recommended.
You can use Rejucream during any part of your menstrual cycle. REJUCREAM products are intended for external use only, there’s no reason you can’t use them during your menstrual cycle. Also, during the more dry parts of your mucus cycle, Rejucream will enhance your comfort levels too.