Why you can tell your fertility by your discharge
There are many different types of vaginal discharge that vary in color, texture, and consistency. But did you know that these characteristics can also be used to determine the phase of your cycle? In this blog post you will find out exactly how this works.
Why do I sometimes have white spots on my underwear?
Occasional stains on underwear are perfectly normal. When the discharge is still wet, it usually looks whitish or transparent. However, once the liquid evaporates, it dries, leaving a whitish or yellowish crust. The appearance of such spots is perfectly normal as long as the discharge is odorless:
However, if you notice an unpleasant smell from your discharge, feel itching or burning, you should consult a doctor.
Composition of vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge, called cervical mucus in medical terms, is as natural as saliva, for example. But why does the body produce it at all? The lining of the vagina and the glands on the cervix produce cervical mucus to help maintain the health of the genitals.
All types of cervical mucus consist of:
- Mucus secretions produced by the cervix and Bartholin glands
- Fluid that flows through the walls of vessels that supply blood to the reproductive organs
- Mucus secreted by the sebaceous and sweat glands of the vulvar vestibule
- Dead cells of the vaginal epithelium and cervix
- Large colonies of bacteria, including beneficial bacteria, that prevent pathogens from multiplying and maintain the acidic pH of the vagina
What does the cervical mucus do?
Cervical mucus or cervical fluid has two jobs, depending on where you are in your cycle. The first task is to make it easier for sperm to pass through the cervix so that they can fertilize an egg at ovulation. The second task is to prevent sperm or other substances from entering the cervix.
What are the different types of cervical mucus?
Cervical mucus is not the same for every person, but during the menstrual cycle it can exhibit all or most of the following characteristics:
The type or texture of your cervical mucus depends on what phase of your menstrual cycle you are in. Typically, your mucus will initially be dry or thick & clumpy before turning creamier in texture. As ovulation approaches, the discharge becomes glassy, stretchy, and wet. The most common analogy for super fertile cervical mucus is that it looks and feels like raw egg whites. When you notice this condition, you know you are in your most fertile time. After ovulation, your cervical mucus becomes thick and dry again.
How does cervical mucus help in conception?
Cervical mucus plays a key role in conception. The hormone estrogen peaks just before ovulation. This changes the cervical mucus from pasty or creamy to stretchy, raw egg white. This wet, slippery discharge makes it easier for sperm to swim up the vagina and into the uterus, where it meets an egg. If you have sex at this point, YOU increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Think of your uterus as a swimming pool, your cervical mucus as water, and sperm as a person trying to swim. If the water was thick or muddy, she couldn't swim through it and reach the other side of the pool. That's how difficult it is for sperm to reach the fallopian tubes when your cervical mucus isn't fertile. Thin, moist, protein-like mucus makes it easier for sperm to swim up the uterus and meet an egg there to fertilize it.
How does cervical mucus change during the menstrual cycle?
The changes in cervical mucus are a result of hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen rises before ovulation, causing your cervix to produce fertile, egg-white mucus. In this way, your body makes it easy for sperm to reach the egg, which it is about to release. After ovulation, estrogen levels drop and progesterone levels rise. This increase in progesterone helps the fertilized egg implant itself in the uterus when conception occurs.
Using an example menstrual cycle, cervical mucus generally follows the following pattern:
After your period ends: Dry or sticky. It can be white or yellowish in color.
In the further course of the cycle: Sticky. Slightly damp and white.
As ovulation approaches: Creamy, yoghurt-like consistency. Damp and cloudy.
Around ovulation: Stretchy and resembles raw beaten egg whites. Slippery and very wet.
After ovulation: Dry until the onset of menstruation.
Most women ovulate around mid-cycle. Therefore, just before the egg is released, your cervical mucus is slippery, stretchy and very fertile.