Every woman will notice vaginal discharge at one point in her life. This is completely normal and frequently due to normal physiological processes. Paying attention to your typical discharge can actually tell you a lot. It is typically mucus resembling egg whites or clear, creamy, and watery. Changes to the normal white sticky discharge can let you know about changes to your fertility level and your stage in your menstrual cycle as well as alert you to potential health concerns.
White Sticky Discharge, Is It Normal?
When you are aware of your normal vaginal discharge, you are ready to notice any changes. White sticky discharge is normal, as is thin or thick discharge that is clear to white. Your discharge should never come with an unpleasant odor. This vaginal fluid is how your body ensures your vagina is clean and moist. The thickness and texture will vary based on the stage of your menstrual cycle. It is typically clear and stringy close to ovulation. Although there may be some uncomfortable wetness, you shouldn’t notice soreness or itching. Anytime you notice changes to your discharge, you should visit your doctor.
Remember that there is no correct answer as to what type of vaginal discharge is normal as this will vary greatly from person to person.
Why Would I Have Vaginal Discharge?
In many cases, white sticky discharge from the vagina is triggered by changing estrogen levels. This hormone increases when you get closer to ovulation, leading to your body producing more fertile mucus. This will typically start around 6 days before you ovulate.
This vaginal discharge makes a friendlier environment that can help the sperm better reach the egg. Your cervical mucus achieves this goal by working to neutralize your vaginal pH so it is more alkaline and increasing fluidity and moisture.
Types of Discharge and What It Means
Vaginal discharge is common for all the women and it various in different types. Some are natural while others are not; no matter what, they can somehow tell you something about your health conditions.
1. Dry Discharge, the G Type
This discharge will be pasty, dry, and impenetrable and it typically comes with feeling dry by your vulva. You will notice this charge when you are infertile, so not by ovulation. These infertile days are typically several days following your period and several before the next one starts and this is when you have the smallest chance of conceiving. This G type discharge blocks sperm from getting into your uterus, serving as a gatekeeper.
2. Creamy Discharge, the L Type
White sticky discharge is typically the L type and you will notice it when your estrogen levels increase between the ovulation days and dry days. In a 28-day cycle, this means it typically occurs around day 7 to 11. Your vagina will feel wet and sticky and this creamy discharge is usually thinner but still dense. It works to catch abnormal and poor-quality sperm cells to filter them out before they get to your uterus. You can remember the name of this discharge by thinking of the word “leader” since only the strongest sperm will make it through this discharge.
3. Egg White-Like Discharge, the S Type
When ovulation gets closer, your discharge becomes slippery and stretchy and is commonly compared to egg whites. This makes you notice a wet sensation by the vulva and you will see strings of discharge that are egg white in color and may be mixed with creamy clumps. This discharge indicates ovulation and will typically occur between 12 and 16 days before your expected period. If you want to get pregnant, this is the best time to have sex. This discharge makes it easiest for sperm to get to the uterus. To remember this discharge, think of the word “swim” as the sperm cell will be swimming vigorously to get close to the egg.
4. Lubricating Discharge, the P Type
When you are about to ovulate, your white sticky discharge becomes very lubricating and starts to lose some stretch. This makes your vulva feel slippery and you are the most fertile on the final day that your body produces P type mucus. This is usually the day your egg is released or the day before. This mucus is named after its high potassium content.
5. Watery Discharge
At some points, you may notice that instead of white sticky discharge, you have watery, clear discharge. This is normal and it may increase in quantity after exercising.
6. Brown Discharge
It is possible to see brown discharge following your period. This shouldn’t cause concern as it is simply your body cleaning out the vagina.
When Is My Discharge Abnormal?
If you notice any sudden changes to your discharge, this may indicate that you have a vaginal infection. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are familiar with the natural discharge variations you typically experience throughout your cycle. This will let you recognize abnormal discharge. There are also some obvious signs that indicate you may have an infection. These include:
- Vaginal bleeding that is unexpected or bloody vaginal discharge when you are not menstruating
- A symptom that accompanies discharge, including pain in the tummy or pelvis or itching, swelling, or redness outside of the vagina
- A quantity of discharge that is unusually large
- A bad smell that occurs suddenly or a foul odor that accompanies the white sticky discharge
- A change to the consistency or color of your discharge
- Vaginal discharge that appears lumpy and white, such as cottage cheese (this type of discharge commonly accompanies yeast infections)
- Vaginal discharge that appears gray, yellow, or green in color or resembles pus
When to See a Doctor
At any point that you aren’t sure whether you are experiencing normal discharge or have any other concern, you should visit your doctor for an evaluation.
Remember that it’s very common for girls and women to experience yeast infections. They are more frequent when the weather is hot or you have recently finished taking a full course of antibiotics. Yeast infections are not due to sexual activity. That being said, if you recently had sex and notice any of the above symptoms or anything else causing concern, you should visit your doctor immediately. They may recommend testing for STIs depending on your symptoms and recent activity.