Egg White Discharge: What Does It Mean?
Your vaginal discharge plays an important role in your body but changes in the mucus can feel confusing or even worrisome, especially if you’re unsure of the cause or significance.
Egg white discharge is one of the most common types of vaginal mucus, especially when it comes to deducing when you are fertile. This discharge usually comes around ovulation, making it important when you’re trying to conceive.
But what does egg white discharge actually look and feel like, and can it have other meanings?
What your discharge looks, feels, and even smells like can provide insight into your fertility, vaginal health, and more. For that reason, it’s important to pay attention to what your egg white discharge may be trying to tell you.
Read on to learn more about egg white discharge, including what “normal” egg white discharge should look like, when to worry about discharge, and more.
What Does Egg White Discharge mMean?
“Egg white discharge” is a nickname for vaginal discharge or cervical mucus. As you might guess from the moniker, it resembles raw egg whites and is stretchy and slippery. Usually, this discharge has no odor or color.
Egg white discharge often appears when you are fertile, but can show up at other times in your menstrual cycle, too. To take it a step further, egg white discharge can even have different meanings depending on when in your lifetime and/or menstrual cycle it appears.
Read on to learn more about the potential meanings of egg white discharge over the different stages of your menstrual cycle and your life.
Egg White Discharge Before Period
If you experience egg white discharge before your period, you are probably ovulating and/or fertile around this time. Ovulation occurs around halfway through your cycle, a few weeks before the date of your next expected period.
During ovulation and your fertile window (which includes the six days before ovulation), the body produces egg white-like cervical mucus to help you get pregnant. The stretchy, clear discharge creates a hospitable environment for sperm, helping it survive long enough to reach the egg.
If you are trying for a baby and notice egg white discharge, it may be a great time to have sex in order to conceive. However, if you’re looking to avoid pregnancy and aren’t using hormonal birth control, you may want to avoid sex during this time of the month.
Egg White Discharge After Ovulation
If you are using a hormone tracker like Mira that can pinpoint your date of ovulation, you might realize that you have egg white discharge even though you have already ovulated. It’s normal for egg white discharge to last up to one or two days after ovulation.
But what does it mean if it occurs later in your cycle?
The good news if you are trying to conceive is that egg white discharge a few weeks after ovulation may be a sign of early pregnancy. Leukorrhea is the name given to the discharge that appears in early pregnancy and this discharge is usually milky white in color, but may also be clear.
In the next section, we’ll talk more about egg white discharge and early pregnancy, including when to take a pregnancy test.
However, it’s important to remember that every woman’s cycle is different, and egg white discharge does not always mean pregnancy. It might be normal for you at this stage of your cycle or signify a vaginal infection — something we’ll talk about later in this blog post.
Egg White Discharge in Early Pregnancy
Many women notice leukorrhea, or milky white vaginal discharge, in early pregnancy. For many women, leukorrhea is the earliest sign that they are pregnant.
While this discharge is usually milky white in color, it may also be thin, clear, and slippery like egg white discharge — which can lead to confusion about whether or not you are pregnant while experiencing this discharge. Vaginal discharge can also increase in volume in early pregnancy, making it resemble your discharge around ovulation.
If you have recently had unprotected sex and notice egg white discharge a few weeks after ovulation, make sure to take a pregnancy test on the first day of your next expected period to see if you are pregnant.
Egg White Discharge After Menopause
You may be surprised to see large amounts of clear, slippery discharge after menopause. Typically, the vagina produces less fluid after menopause due to lower amounts of estrogen in the body. It can be shocking and even worrisome to notice this discharge after menopause but the reasoning is usually quite simple.
The most common reason for thin, slippery, or watery discharge after menopause is a vaginal infection. Because the mucus produced by the vagina serves as protection against infections, vaginal infections are more common after menopause. One infection, called bacterial vaginosis, can result in thin, watery discharge that can resemble fertile egg white discharge, though it is usually gray in color.
Less frequently, thin, clear discharge after menopause may be a sign of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer usually occurs in women after age 50, most commonly between the ages of 60 and 70. Other signs of endometrial cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding, painful intercourse, and painful urination. Usually, egg white discharge after menopause is not due to cancer, but it is best to see your doctor to rule it out.
What Should Egg White Discharge Look Like?
“Normal” egg white discharge is usually transparent, stretchy, and odorless. You may also notice a greater volume of mucus when you have egg white discharge. Think about the way an egg white looks — that’s what egg white discharge should look like, hence the name!
That being said, every woman’s cycle is slightly different, including her cervical mucus and not every woman gets the “ideal” egg white cervical mucus around ovulation. You might find yourself looking at your cervical mucus and wondering if your discharge is normal.
As long as there is no color or odor coming from the mucus, your vaginal discharge is probably healthy and normal. However, if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms of vaginal infections, you may want to visit your OB/GYN for a checkup:
- Thin, watery, gray discharge
- Thick, white, “cottage cheese” discharge
- Frothy yellow or green discharge
- A “fishy” odor coming from the vagina
- Burning or itching of the vagina
If you do not have any of these symptoms, your egg white vaginal discharge is most likely normal — but if you do, make sure to get them checked out.
FAQs About Egg White Discharge
Still have questions about egg white vaginal discharge? We’ve got you covered. In this section, Mira answers your FAQs about this type of mucus.
Does Egg White Cervical Mucus Mean Ovulation?
If you are a woman of childbearing age, the most common reason for egg white cervical mucus is ovulation. However, many women experience egg white cervical mucus in the days leading up to ovulation, and even for one to two days after its completion.
For this reason, egg white cervical mucus alone is not a reliable predictor of ovulation. The best way to predict your date of ovulation with the greatest accuracy is to use a digital hormone tracker like Mira to get your exact fertility hormone concentrations.
Does Egg White Cervical Mucus Mean I’m Fertile?
Egg white discharge is widely recognized as a sign you are approaching your fertile window and ovulation. Some women rely on monitoring their cervical mucus for these changes to determine their peak fertile days.
Unfortunately, egg white discharge cannot exactly predict the day of ovulation, since it can also occur before and after ovulating. An egg only lives for 24 hours after ovulation, so if you are trying to get pregnant and relying on cervical mucus alone, you may miss your opportunity to conceive.
Mira’s fertility tracking kit is a highly reliable method for finding your peak fertile days. This at-home ovulation tracker measures your luteinizing hormone levels. Knowing these levels helps you identify your unique fertile period with 99% accuracy.
Can I Still Get Pregnant without Egg White Mucus?
Every woman is different, and you may not notice egg white cervical mucus around the day of your ovulation. Your discharge may be thinner or more watery than “egg white” in consistency.
It’s okay if your discharge never reaches the “ideal” egg white consistency. That does not necessarily mean you will be unable to get pregnant.
That being said, some women have tacky or crumbly white or off-white discharge throughout their cycle, without getting egg white cervical mucus around ovulation. This type of discharge is considered “hostile” to sperm since sperm cannot reach an egg when discharge is too sticky or thick.
If you have been trying to get pregnant for one year (or six months if you are over age 35) and do not have egg white cervical mucus around ovulation, you should visit a fertility doctor for an evaluation to make sure your discharge is not an obstacle to pregnancy.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Dr Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG and Lauren Grimm, MA
Dr Roohi Jeelani is Director of Research and Education at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Dr Jeelani earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, where she was awarded a Women’s Reproductive Health NIH K12 Research Grant. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Jeelani has authored numerous articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific meetings. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Jeelani is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.
Lauren Grimm is Research Coordinator at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she also completed her masters in Medical Sciences. Lauren has worked alongside Dr. Jeelani for the last 3 years, authoring a number of abstracts and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific conferences. Lauren will be continuing her education this fall at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL as an MD candidate.
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