“Is that Normal?” When to Give Your Gynecologist a Call
If you have made it through puberty, you probably have a pretty good idea of what happens when you get your period (and no, we aren’t just talking about the bloating and insatiable chocolate addiction!). Each month, a woman’s body experiences various surges of hormones that cause the uterus to thicken in preparation for a fertilized egg. If she does not become pregnant, the egg begins to break apart, and the thickened lining of the uterus begins to shed. And voila, T.O.M. has arrived!
But while we know what to expect when it comes to our periods, many of us are uncertain what is “normal” during the other three weeks of our cycle. For example, what is that gooey, gross stuff that comes out during the week? And should we be concerned if we see colors or unusual scents? If questions like this have ever crossed your mind, a gynecologist is a great go-to guide for all things female health. Keep reading to learn what types of vaginal discharge are “normal” and when you may want to give your gynecologist a call.
Normal Vaginal Discharge Throughout Your Cycle
There isn’t typically much action for a few days after your period. As estrogen levels begin to rise and other hormones level off, however, vaginal discharge is completely normal. It is typically white and creamy during this stage, but it may turn a yellowish color when it comes in contact with air. This is completely normal and should not be cause for alarm.
Around day 14 of your period, your vaginal discharge should look a lot like an egg white – gooey, clear, and stretchy. This is the time when your body is the most fertile, and this secretion will usually come out on the day that you are at your peak of fertility. After ovulation, the hormone progesterone begins to rise while estrogen starts to drop. This hormonal shift causes the secretions becomes thicker and to turn white. This discharge is typically odor free and barely noticeable, and it comes to a stop right as your period enters.
Abnormal Discharge to Look Out For
If your secretions are abnormal, change abruptly, or are accompanied by pain, you should see a gynecologist as soon as possible. While everyone is different, abnormal discharge is typically characterized by foul smells, greenish colors, or froth-like consistencies. There are several potential causes for abnormal discharge, and not all of them are cause for alarm.
Dehydration may cause the thickness of your discharge to be affected, for example, and birth control, high levels of stress, and pregnancy can cause changes in consistency and color. Abnormal discharge could also indicate health risks, however, including yeast infections (typically accompanied by a cottage cheese like discharge), an STD, pelvic inflammatory disease, or an infection.
Consult with a Gynecologist
If you notice that your vaginal discharge seems a little “off”, don’t panic! Each person is different, and there are several possible causes. It is important to pay attention to changes and to consult with a gynecologist if there is any possibility of abnormality, however. If you have more questions about vaginal health or are interested in scheduling an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact one of our medical experts at Desert Mountain Obstetrics & Gynecology today!