Vagina Discharge: Is There A Normal?

by | Jul 28, 2021 | Sexual & Reproductive Health

What to expect and when to see a doctor about vaginal discharge

Creamy, white, thick or sticky. As women, we’ve all raised the question at some point during our lives; is vaginal discharge normal? The good news is that vaginal discharge, or leukorrhea as it’s medically known, is perfectly normal for every woman who menstruates.

Although we’ve been led to believe vaginal discharge to be bad, the truth is that it’s a regular bodily function responsible for keeping the vagina clean. In fact, the colour, texture and volume of your vaginal discharge can be a great indicator of your overall health. So, let’s delve into what’s normal, what’s not normal, and when to consult a doctor should you ever feel concerned about your vaginal discharge.

Firstly, what is vaginal discharge?

Your vagina is a dynamic, beautifully designed ecosystem that requires a specific balance of bacteria, pH and moisture to function healthily. To maintain this balance, the cervix undergoes a completely natural and regular process of cleansing old cells, bacteria and cervical mucus. Consider it your vagina’s intelligent built-in cleaning and hydration system.

Factors that may disrupt the balance include douching practices, sexual activity, hormonal birth control or IUDs, irregular bleeding, use of antibiotics or steroids, pregnancy and hormonal changes related to your menstrual cycle.

What is normal vaginal discharge?

The appearance, consistency and volume of your discharge changes in alignment with your cycle and its hormonal variations. Let’s look at typical discharge characteristics based on where you’re at in your cycle.

  • Menstruation Phase: For the five or so days you have your period, it’s likely that your discharge will be red or brown. In the days following, you may feel dry and notice little to no discharge at all.
  • Follicular Phase: In the lead up to ovulation, oestrogen levels are on the rise, which causes your cervix to produce more mucus. As the egg develops, your discharge will be thick and creamy in consistency, and white or pale yellow in colour.
  • Ovulation Phase: In our opinion, the ‘don’t panic’ zone! The ovulation phase is when your body will produce the most discharge. As your oestrogen levels peak, vaginal discharge will be similar in consistency to raw egg whites. Think; clear, stretchy, slippery and abundant. But remember, there’s no need to panic as this is perfectly normal; you’re healthy and fertile.
  • Luteal Phase: As progesterone levels hit an all-time cyclical high, you’ll notice a dramatic change in the volume and texture of your discharge. You see, progesterone supports a potential pregnancy by inhibiting the secretion of cervical mucus, so you can expect your discharge to be sticky, dry or completely MIA.

What is abnormal vaginal discharge?

When your vagina’s bad microbe population outweighs its good microbe population, an imbalance can occur. Abnormal discharge is easily recognisable through drastic changes in colour. Signs to look out for, include:

  • Thin, grey discharge: A grey discharge paired with a pungent, fishy smell is a sign of BV (Bacterial vaginosis). If you notice this combination of symptoms, contact your GP, pronto.
  • Greenish discharge: This can be a sign of trichomoniasis. Time to schedule in an appointment with your trusted health practitioner.
  • Yellowish-green discharge: A sign of a bacterial STI, like chlamydia or gonorrhoea. See a healthcare professional and advise your sexual partners to get tested, too.
  • White, clumpy discharge: If accompanied with an itchy sensation, this could indicate a yeast infection (thrush).

When to see a doctor?

Learn to familiarise yourself with the type of discharge you’re expelling at different times of your cycle. Changes in colour, texture and odour are three indicators that something’s not quite right down there. If your vaginal discharge is green, grey, clumpy in texture (think; cottage cheese), fishy in odour, or you’re experiencing pain, burning or itching, make an appointment with your trusted healthcare professional.

Thrush can be treated with antibiotics or creams/tablets. At Youly, we eliminate the awkward or confronting conversations that women must have to gain access to treatments or prescriptions. Not keen on visiting the pharmacy to chat face-to-face? Find out whether Youly’s hassle-free prescription service is the right option for you here.


This blog is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.

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Here at Youly we are committed to women getting the best out of every moment. Love yourself!

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