Thick White Discharge: Causes, Types and Treatments
White Vaginal secretion or discharge is a combination of liquid, fluids, cells and bacteria. And it's main function is to:
- Keep the vagina moist and lubricated
- protect the vagina from harmful bacteria
- Wash away dead cells form the vagina
- Helps to create a friendly environment for the sperm to swim easliy through the vaginal to meet the egg
Thick white discharge is either produced by the cervix or the cells of the vagina. Your cervix is the lower part of your uterus.
A normal vaginal discharge is usually clear, creamy, white, milky or grey(off-white) in color. And the consistency could be thick, thin, sticky, watery, clumpy, slippery, wet depending on the stage of the menstrual cycle you are in. For example you get a sticky or pasty discharge when you are approaching your fertile window. And a wet and slippery discharge during ovulation.
A normal vagina discharge should have mild or no odor and shouldn't be itchy or cause any form of irritation.
Remember the consistency and texture of discharge varies from woman to woman and depending on the stage of menstrual cycle you are in.
is it normal to have white discharge?
Yes it is normal for every to have a vaginal discharge and cause for no alarm except the discharge smells and its itchy.
Once puberty is attained, vaginal discharge becomes a normal occurrence to help protect the vagina from infections also to wash away dead cells. Vaginal secretions also helps to transport the sperm into the cervix while providing a sperm friendly environment during ovulation.
Different Types of Normal WHITE Vaginal discharge and when they occur
1. Dry Disharge
This type of discharge usually occurs for the first 2-3 days after your period has ended. The days after your period and before your period are known as dry an infertile days. The type of discharge produced during this period provides an unfriendly and harsh (acidic) environment for the sperm.
The discharge is usually dry and pasty and purpose is to block the sperm from travelling upwards into the cervix. The odds of getting pregnant during this period is very low or unlikely.
2. Milky or creamy Discharge
Between your dry days and your ovulation, you may experience creamy, milky discharge that may be sticky, tacky or thick. The reason for this type of cervical mucus is caused by an increased level of estrogen as you approach ovulation.
You have this discharge between Day 7-11 if you have a 28 day cycle.
3. egg white clear Discharge
On your fertile days (around 5 days before ovulation) you start to produce a creamy or milky moist cervical mucus which gets wetter and more slippery as you approach ovulation. This is an indication that you are in your fertile days and you are more likely to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex.
A fertile cervical mucus is necessary to allow the sperm pass through the vaginal into cervix and then into the fallopian tube to fertilise the egg.
Your most fertile discharge or secretion is produced on the day of ovulation and a day before ovulation. The consistency of this discharge is wet, slippery and stretchy that resembles egg white. Hence that is why it is called egg white cervical mucus.
By observing your cervical mucus in your fertile phase and through out your menstrual cycle you can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Aside from using an ovulation predictor kit, a natural way to detect ovulation is by keeping track of your cervical fluid to check if the vagina is moist, wet or dry. If the color is (white, creamy, cloudy or clear). And if the consistency is sticky, smooth or slippery.
Ovulation(the release of an egg) usually occurs at the middle of your cycle which can range from days 12-16. For example day 14 if you have a 28 day cycle. Ovulation occurs between 12-48 hours after you have an LH surge.
4. Lubricating Discharge
When a woman is sexually turned on or aroused she produces a clear white lubricating discharge. This charge is produced more on the day of ovulation or the day before the egg is released.
The purpose of this discharge is to make the vagina opening and inside of the vagina wet and moist to provide lubrication for sex. Without adequate lubrication during sex a woman may experience pain and cramping during and after sexual intercourse.
This lubricating discharge is rich in potassium and very alkaline which also makes it easy for the sperm to penetrate and travel through the vaginal canal to meet the egg.
Women who don't produce enough natural lubricating discharge find sex unpleasant and painful. Using pre-seed lubricant is highly recommended if you experience dryness during sex.
5. Thick White clumpy Discharge
If you see a thick white clumpy discharge that looks like toilet paper or resembles cottage cheese then you have a yeast infection.
Yeast infection is very common in women at least 75% of women will experience yeast infection once in their life time.
It is caused by a fungus called candidas, Candidas is a natural occuring fungus in the vagina. When there is an imbalance between bacteria (Lactobacillus) and yeast cells present in the vagina. Yeast cells can multiply leading to yeast infection.
The symptoms are itching or burning pain in the vagina or vulva but it is odorless or has a mild smell.
Causes of Yeast Infection are :
- Weakened immune system
- Poor Diet
- hormonal imbalance
- Inadequate sleep
6. WHITE WATERY DISCHARGE
The vagina cleanses itself and washes away dead cells. If you experience dripping liquid flowing down from your vagina into your panties it may be your vagina cleaning itself.
This discharge shouldn't cause for any alarm except if it's accompanied by a fishy or bad smell or causes itching, irritation or pain to the vagina.
symptoms of Abnormal Discharge?
Any changes to the color, smell or consistency of your vaginal discharge may indicate you have an infection or sexually transmitted diseases.
The symptoms of an abnormal vaginal discharge are:
- An unpleasant odour e.g fish smell
- Burning sensation when peeing
- Itching around the vagina opening
- Pain during sex and urination
- Yellow or green in colour
Possible causes of Abnormal Vaginal discharge
Toxic Shock syndrome
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Is White Discharge an early sign of pregnancy?
One of the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy before a missed period or a positive pregnancy test is a discharge that is white. Most women experience this discharge which is called leucorrhea. The discharge is caused by a rise in the estrogen hormone. And it helps to prevent any germs or infections from getting into the uterus (womb).
You shouldn't be worried about it expect the discharge has any abnormal symptoms such as foul smell, feels itchy, causes burning sensation when peeing or also causes pain during sex.
When pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you should avoid using over the counter medications to treat infections or sexually transmitted disease. Please consult your gynaecologist if you experience any of the abnormal vaginal symptoms.
What does early Pregnancy Discharge Look and Feel Like?
Early pregnancy discharge is usually milky or creamy white and odorless. It doesn't cause any form of itching or burning pain.
Other symptoms of early pregnancy are lower abdominal cramps, breast tenderness, frequent urination, nausea, fatigue and frequent urination.
Causes of WhitE Discharge before period?
Having a white discharge before your period is due is normal and could be a sign that you are pregnant. If you had an unprotected sex during ovulation, then this may be leukorrhea.
If you are not pregnant, this could be PMS(pre menstrual symptoms). The symptoms you experience before your period are very similar to early pregnancy symptoms.
Causes of thick White clumpy Discharge?
If your discharge is thick,clumpy and whitish or yellowish in colour and it looks like cottage cheese or toilet paper. You may have yeast infection. Yeast infection has a mild or no smell. If you vaginal discharge smells like fish or smells rotten that indicates you've a bacteria vaginosis.
Luckily yeast infection can be treated with over the counter fertility pill but the sad news is it may also re-occur. If this is your first time noticing this clumpy discharge, see a doctor first before diagnosing yourself. The Doctor would be able to prescribe the right drug to you.
causes of white vaginal discharge after period?
It is possible and normal to have a vaginal discharge after you period is over. You should be worried if the discharge smells, itches or you have burning pain during sex and while peeing.
If your discharge is reddish or brownish, it may be the leftover of your period coming out.
Causes of thick white Discharge with Odor
A vaginal discharge with odor is an indication that something is wrong. Your discharge is normal If has a slight smell or mild smell without any itching or burning sensation. But if you notice any smelly discharge either white or yellow, then you have a vaginal infection or diabetes.
Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common reason for thick discharge with a foul or fishy smell. Bacteria vaginosis happens when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. The vagina contains naturally occurring bacteria which is good for keeping the vagina healthy.
A healthy vagina has a combination of bacteria and yeast cells. If there is an imbalance in the quantity of the bacteria and yeast cells , a fishy smell or odour is produced.
BV is not a sexually transmitted disease and does not cause itching or swelling of the vagina. Others symptoms of BV to look out for are:
- Strong fishy smell especially after sex
- Discharge becomes whitish grey
- The consistency becomes watery and thin
Causes of White Discharge with no Odor
A normal discharge is expected to have no odor or if at all a mild and not disturbing smell.
You have nothing to worry about if your discharge has no smell and does not itch you. Different types vaginal discharge is produced during the course of your menstrual cycle according to the balance between the estrogen hormone and the progesterone hormone. These are the two key female hormones responsible for regulating and controlling your menstrual cycle.
Reasons for White Discharge After sex
It is possible to see a whitish discharge after sex. And this is a normal occurrence. The discharge is caused by:
- Sexual Arousal Fluid: A vaginal lubricant is produced during sex to allow for easy penetration. This vaginal fluid may still be present even after sex is over.
- Female Ejaculation: Female ejaculation comes in two different forms. some women squirt liquid from their urthrea during ejaculation. While for some women the ejaculate milky white discharge during climax. The milky discharge comes from the skene gland.
Treatment of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Abnormal vagina discharge is treated depending on what caused it.
Yeast Infection Treatment
Yeast Infection is mostly treated with anti-fungal medications or creams that are usually placed inside the vagina.
These medications come in form of vaginal creams and gels. The disadvantage of using the creams and gel is that they have the tendency of slipping out of your vagina. These could be quite messy.
Some of the medications such as clotrimazole and miconazole that are available in the vagina creams are also available in Tablet forms.
The tablet is usually preferred as it is not many and you only have to insert it into the vagina to dissolve it.
Another advantage of using tablets over creams is that you use fewer doses and get results/relief faster.
You can get these anti-fungal medications over the counter without the need of a doctors prescription.
They usually come in 1-day, 3-day, 7-day doses.
It is highly recommended that you consult a gynaecologist if you're not sure if you have yeast infection or thrush.
Also complete your dose of the medication. Because an incomplete regime can cause the yeast infection to re-occur.
Bacteria Vaginosis treatment
BV is treated mostly with antibiotic pills or creams. Clindamycin and metronidazole are the two most common and preferred prescription drugs used to treat bacteria vaginosis. They can be taken as either oral tablets or gels to be applied inside the vagina.
Flagyl (metronidazole) or Tindamax(tinidazole) are the two antibiotics medications used to cure trichomoniasis.
Other Types of Vaginal Discharge
If you have a bloody or brown discharge right after your menstruation, then this is perfectly normal. If you experience brown spots about 7 days past ovulation then you may be pregnant. This is known as implantation spotting.
If you are experience brown/bloody spots when pregnant. This could be a sign of miscarriage. Contact your doctor or Oby-gyn ASAP.
Other causes of brown bloody discharge are:
- Cervical cancer
yellow or Green discharge
A yellow or green discharge with bad smell indicates something is wrong. Yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge is a common symptom sexually transmitted infection trichomoniasis.
- is it normal to have white discharge?
- Different Types of Normal WHITE Vaginal discharge and when they occur
- symptoms of Abnormal Discharge?
- Possible causes of Abnormal Vaginal discharge
- Is White Discharge an early sign of pregnancy?
- Causes of WhitE Discharge before period?
- Causes of thick White clumpy Discharge?
- causes of white vaginal discharge after period?
- Causes of thick white Discharge with Odor
- Causes of White Discharge with no Odor
- Reasons for White Discharge After sex
- Treatment of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
- Other Types of Vaginal Discharge