Milky White Discharge: What It Means for Pregnancy
Vaginal discharge is an essential part of your reproductive system. The type of vaginal discharge you experience will vary throughout your menstrual cycle. In nearly all cases, changes in vaginal discharge are a positive sign that your reproductive system is working properly. In addition, white discharge before your period can mean your vagina is healthy, and that you can be in the early stages of pregnancy.
Different types of vaginal discharge could be a sign of other things going on in your reproductive system. For instance, a whiter vaginal discharge prior to your period starting can be a symptom of an underlying issue. Read on to learn more about what your body’s discharge could be telling you.
The Cause of Milky White Discharge
Your vaginal discharge may become thinner and milky white at the beginning of your menstrual cycle. This is also described as an “egg white” discharge.
Thinner vaginal mucus can be a sign that you’re approaching ovulation. When you get closer to your period, the vaginal discharge thickens and becomes opaque.
Similarly this milky white vaginal discharge can be an indicator of pregnancy. During the early stages of pregnancy, some people may experience a thinner and milk-white discharge. The change in cervical discharge is caused by the body’s hormones, which are preparing your body for pregnancy.
The cervical mucus is important during this time because it helps the vagina clears germs and dirt. Also, cervical mucus is used to plug the cervix. The plug helps prevent the spreading of harmful bacteria to the uterus, especially during early pregnancy.
Provided that the discharge only has a mild odor, it’s most likely a sign of a healthy vagina. A sign for concern is discharge discoloration. If the discharge has a grayish shade and a fishy odor, your discharge could be a sign of an infection. Likewise, symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV) include milky white discharge, mixed with gray or brown discharge with a strong odor.
Thick, White and Clumpy Discharge (Yeast Infection)
If you are experiencing a thick white discharge that’s also clumpy or clotted, you could be having a yeast infection.
Your vagina does a great job of self-maintaining it’s pH balance for all the bacteria that live in it. More to the point, that’s why adding outside cleansing methods like douches and soaps can negatively affect the vaginas maintained pH balance, which is between 3.8 and 4.5.
Sometimes the vagina’s pH balance gets disrupted. For instance, yeast infections can make the pH of the vagina to basic. The fungus knows as Candida albicans can quickly develop into an infection.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- Thick mucus w/ cottage cheese texture
- White vaginal discharge that may turn into a green or yellow discharge
- Itchy vulva or vagina
- redness or swelling of the vulva
- Burning or pain during urination
Yeast infections can often be treated with over the counter medication. Prescription medications are generally used in more serious cases. You should not have intercourse if you suspect you may have a yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infections are not considered as sexually transmitted infections, but women with recurring infections might need to have their male partners treated.
Thick White Discharge
Leukorrhea is a thick white discharge that occurs throughout your menstrual cycle. Vaginal discharge usually starts off thinner in the days leading to ovulation, or after an egg becomes released. During your ovulation, your vaginal discharge can become extremely thick.
This is a sign that you’re actually ovulating, and not pregnant. Many women use this as a natural indicator of their fertility. When trying to conceive, seeing this thick white discharge is a sign that it’s an optimal window to have sexual intercourse.
Vaginal discharge helps to keep the walls of the vagina moist and help sperm travel to the cervix. The discharge is heavily influenced by the hormones in your reproduction system. This is why it changes through your menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
Even though changes in discharge can help track fertility and pregnancy, it can not give you specific levels of hormone concentration. However, the Mira fertility tracker analyzes fertility hormones and gives you specific fertility hormone concentration levels and shows your unique hormone curve, rather than the traditional ‘smiley face vs. non-smiley face’ approach.
Your body uses its vaginal discharge to maintain the pH of your vagina. The mucus acts as a natural cleanser to remove harmful bacteria and dirt from your vaginal canal.
A noticeable amount of vaginal discharge is often a sign of a healthy vagina. You should be concerned about abnormal discharge that is discolored or has a foul-smelling odor. Matter of fact, the average women produces around a teaspoon of discharge on a daily basis.
After you ovulate, the amount of discharge can increase exponentially. This extra mucus can call for using a panty liner, but this is not generally a reason to seek medical advice.
✔️ 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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