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What is vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge refers to any fluid from your vagina that is not menstrual blood. “Discharge” is used as an umbrella term to describe fluids composed of cells from the cervix and vagina, mucus, bacteria, and water. This can include cervical mucus and arousal fluid. Although cervical mucus and arousal fluid both fall under the term of vaginal discharge, they are quite different.
- Help sperm travel through the cervix to fertilize an egg
- Prevent sperm and other substances from entering the cervix
Because the texture, volume, and color of cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle, tracking this type of discharge can be helpful in many ways.
On the other hand, arousal fluid is released during sexual arousal. An increase in blood flow to the genitals will cause a buildup of pressure, allowing fluid to be released through the vaginal walls.
Benefits of tracking your discharge
Cervical fluid is one of the main components of vaginal discharge, and its texture, volume, and color changes due to fluctuating hormone levels throughout your cycle. Throughout your cycle, your cervical mucus will undergo changes.
Tracking your vaginal discharge––specifically your cervical mucus––has many benefits. Your discharge can tell you useful things about your ovulation window and estrogen levels. You can also estimate which point in your cycle you are in, as well as the days you are most likely to ovulate.
You can quickly and easily start tracking your cycle using the Ease application, including your discharge! You can use the app for many things––anything from logging birth control pills, recording physical changes, period symptoms, and mood throughout your cycle.
You’re not alone
How to track your discharge using the Ease app
To keep track of your discharge, simply log on each day and record what you notice about your discharge, including changes in odor, texture, and volume. When you are logging your symptoms on the app, keep in mind that during menstruation (the start of your cycle), you won’t have much cervical discharge since progesterone and estrogen levels are low at this time. You can also track physical symptoms––such as cramps, tender breasts, bloating, and constipation––as well as changes in mood that accompany your period.
A few days after your period ends, estrogen levels will begin to rise. You will probably not notice a lot of cervical discharge until estrogen levels are high enough, so keep an eye on tracking your birth control, physical symptoms, and mood at this time.
Estrogen levels will be high leading up to ovulation, and you might notice your cervical fluid is thick and sticky at first, then wet and creamy (like a lotion). You can log changes in the texture of your discharge––mark it as “Creamy” on the Symptoms tracker on the app.
Not only will the Ease app make it easier for you to identify patterns throughout your cycle, but keeping note of such changes can help you predict your ovulation window as well.
Finally, during ovulation, your cervical discharge may look slippery, translucent, and resemble a raw egg white as this is when estrogen levels are at their highest. By tracking the consistency in detail with Ease, you will know when you are most likely to ovulate.
You can also obtain insights about your cycle, tailor-made for you, in the ‘Insights’ tab on the app. Make sure to look out for any unusual changes in your discharge as well, as these may indicate an infection.
Signs of abnormal discharge
Abnormal discharge can be an indicator of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or various types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as trichomoniasis. Look out for these warning signs when tracking your discharge:
- Change in color: Your discharge is green, gray, or abnormally yellow or brown.
- Change in volume: You are producing significantly more discharge, especially if accompanied by symptoms such as itchiness.
- Change in consistency: Your fluid becomes unusually thick, thin, or clumpy.
- Smells: An unpleasant fishy or metallic smell.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, make sure to talk to your healthcare professional, who can advise you on the next steps you should take.
Tracking your vaginal discharge can give you useful insights into your cycle. You can keep track of the color, volume, and consistency of your cervical fluid throughout your cycle to estimate levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and approximate when you might ovulate. Tracking your cervical fluid can also help you identify any abnormalities that could indicate an infection.