About 6 days before ovulation starts in your body, your estrogen levels increase, which can cause your body to produce mucus, expelled in the form of vaginal discharge. While you may not be much concerned with this process, the properties of your vaginal discharge are related to different stages in the menstrual cycle and fertility levels, and they can give clues as to whether you are in good health or not.
Is Creamy Discharge Before Period Normal?
Yes, it's normal. Before your ovulation actually starts, you will likely notice vaginal discharge in the form of a creamy fluid. For those who have a regular 28-day cycle, it is likely that you will experience this around days 7 to 11. This is stimulated by rises in your body’s estrogen levels, which causes the cervix to produce a fluid, resulting in a creamy discharge. While this is totally natural, it can cause discomfort in the area.
Your vagina is regularly discharging fluids, but the difference with the discharge right before ovulation is that it serves a biological purpose. Amazingly, this seemingly innocuous creamy fluid is designed to block sperm on its way to the uterus. While it is permeable, the weaker sperm aren’t able to penetrate it, meaning that only the strongest cells ever reach the egg.
Creamy Discharge and Pregnancy
Creamy discharge before period is a part of the menstrual process, but it can also be linked to pregnancy. The key is being aware of what your usual discharge amounts are, and what your typical discharge looks and smells like. Discharge in early stages of pregnancy is called leucorrhea, and usually has little to no smell.
Thick White Discharge Before Period
You may notice that right before your period, you have thicker than usual discharge, which is totally common in the process of menstruation. The reason for this is that your body is preparing for ovulation by producing almost 30 times more mucus than usual. Before ovulation starts, discharge is often more liquid and almost elastic, while at the end of the cycle and right before your period starts, discharge is typically thick and white.
When Vaginal Discharge Is Normal
1. Dry Discharge
Dry discharge isn't produced during ovulation, and is a dry, thick, and almost pasty substance that also causes dryness in the vaginal area. This happens during the days before and after your period, and it serves the function within the body of a barrier between sperm and the uterus. This is why there are those few days every month where you are at a lower risk of pregnancy with unprotected sex.
2. Egg White-Like Discharge
When your body is getting ready to ovulate, an egg white-like mucus that is slippery starts to get produced, and can be discharged vaginally. Since this discharge happens right before ovulation is starting, you can expect to experience an increase in this about two weeks before your next period. The purpose of this slippery fluid is to help sperm negotiate tracks to the uterus.
3. Lubricating Discharge
Lubricating discharge accompanies ovulation, and rather than having flexible properties, this discharge is meant to lubricate the area. Sometimes this is referred to as P Type, because it is full of potassium, and typically it is at its heaviest when you are at your most fertile, or right as your egg is being released.
4. Watery Discharge
Watery discharge, which is often clear, is totally normal during a number of your menstrual cycle stages, and is often heavier after periods of exercise.
5. Brown Discharge
Brown discharge can be common right after a period, as the body flushes out any leftover remnants from the vagina.
When Vaginal Discharge Is Abnormal
While in most cases creamy discharge before period is completely normal, if you notice a different color or smell, or more amounts than usual, this may be indicating a larger problem.
1. Yeast Infection
A heavy discharge that looks almost like cottage cheese could indicate a yeast infection. If you notice redness in the area, any soreness or pain, or strong odors, this could all be related to a yeast infection, so it is best to see a doctor for an exam.
2. Bacterial Vaginosis
If you notice a lot of discharge that seems to occur suddenly, it could be indicative of bacterial vaginosis. You will notice a definite fishy smell, and a fluid that can range from light yellow to gray. See a doctor immediately if you notice any of these, and be on the lookout for signs that can increase after sex.
This is a sexually transmitted infection that results in a yellow or green discharge, and will often increase amounts of fluid. Itching, frequent needs to urinate, and inflammation in the area could indicate Trichomoniasis, which will require medical treatment for you and any sexual partners.
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, creamy discharge before period is just a normal part of the menstrual cycle. However, there are certain warning signs to be aware of, and if you notice any deviations from your normal discharge, speak to a doctor.
You should see a doctor as soon as possible if:
- You notice strong odors in the vaginal area, or discharge that is green, yellow, abnormally thick, or cheese-like in consistency.
- You notice redness, burning sensations, itchiness, and pain in the vulva and vaginal area.
- You notice abnormal spotting or excessive bleeding when you do not have your period.
If you don't need to see a doctor immediately, try these easy options to relieve discomfort at home.
- Putting cold on the area with an ice pack is a great way to reduce swelling and help ease discomfort.
- If you think you have a yeast infection, you can try treating it with a medication available over-the-counter.
- Definitely try and avoid sexual activity until your immediate symptoms have subsided.
- If you have tried these remedies and still haven't noticed relief for a week, it is a good time to contact your doctor.