STAGES & COLOURS OF VAGINAL DISCHARGE: BROWN, YELLOW, WHITE, WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Every woman has vaginal discharge, it is perfectly normal and is produced naturally. A woman will experience different types of discharge during her monthly cycle.
The fluid is made by glands inside the vagina and carries away dead cells and bacteria. Discharge keeps the vagina clean and prevents irritation and infection. Discharge can be linked to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, infections, or perimenopause.
Different Types of Discharge and When They Occur in the Menstrual Cycle
The Beginning of The Period Cycle (Day 1)
The cervix is not producing much discharge at this stage of the cycle as it is the beginning of your period.
Early to Mid-Follicular Stage: Sticky Discharge (Day 7)
At this point, estrogen levels are beginning to rise and fluid is being produced. It is likely that discharge will not be noticeable at this stage, however, some women may notice a sticky discharge.
Mid to Late Follicular Stage: Cloudy Discharge (Day 9)
As water and estrogen levels rise, the discharge becomes cloudy.
Late Follicular Stage: White Discharge (Day 14)
Ovulation usually occurs mid-way through a menstrual cycle. During this time, a clear and stretchy discharge (raw egg white consistency), will be present. The sticky discharge assists the sperm in reaching the egg for fertilisation to take place.
Luteal Phase: Thick Discharge (Day 17)
Progesterone is the dominant hormone at this stage in the cycle. Cervical fluid reduces around this time and becomes thicker or stickier.
End of Period: Brown Discharge
Brown discharge at the end of a period is perfectly normal as it’s the old blood being shed from the vagina.
Abnormal: Yellow/Green Discharge
Abnormal discharge can be worrying. If you notice an unusual odour, a change in colour (yellow/green), pain or irritation down below, then it is advised to speak to your doctor. The discharge may be a sign of thrush, bacterial vaginosis, or a sexually transmitted infection. It is rare, but discharge can be a sign of cervical cancer. It is important to attend smear tests when invited (from the age of 21 in England) to ensure any problems are detected early.
If spotting or brown discharge is persistent then it is advised to seek medical advice.
Ask the Expert 👩🏻⚕️
Dr Alice, who is discovering a sustainable way of living:When women experience discharge what's the best way to feel fresh and keep clean?Is it okay to douche?
Discharge is completely normal and essentially it's the vaginas way of cleaning itself. The best way to clean your vagina is simply with water and at most with non-perfumed soap. I wouldn't advise washing inside the vagina (douching) because it disrupts the pH of the vagina, and that can lead to bacterial overgrowth (known as Bacterial vaginosis) or thrush (Candida, a fungal infection).
Just to add that some women will douche and wash with soaps down below, and not have any issues. But if someone is experiencing symptoms such as heavier, smelly discharge or itching, it would be advisable to stop doing those things first of all."
Pregnancy and Discharge 🤰🏽
During a woman's pregnancy, her cervix and vaginal walls will become softer, leading to an increase in discharge. The discharge is the body’s way of protecting the baby against infections.
Towards the end of pregnancy, the baby’s head pushes onto the cervix, leading to a heavier amount of discharge.
Disrupting the Flow 🙅🏻♀️
Hormonal contraceptives, health conditions and medications, douching (cleaning inside the vagina), and irregular cycles can disrupt the normal rhythm of vaginal discharge.
Each woman needs to understand what is normal for her and seek medical advice if needed.
Elizabeth Joseph wears WUKA Boxer Shorts
Perimenopause is the time leading up to women entering menopause. Due to the fall in estrogen levels, it is common for discharge to become brown and to either be watery or clumpy.
How WUKA Can Take Care of Those Light Days 🩸
Wearing a pantyliner when you have discharge or spotting can be irritating, especially if you wear them frequently. Wearing disposable liners or pads also contributes to plastic waste.
Switching to WUKA Period Pants Light is an eco-friendly and comfortable option for women when experiencing discharge, spotting, or a light period.
WUKA Period Pants Light can be worn for up to 8 hours a day and hold 1 tampon-worth of fluid (5ml), meaning that it is likely you will only need to wear one pair during the day.
They are also breathable to help reduce sweating.