Discharge: After Your Period, During Ovulation, and Pre-Period
Discharge after your period, during the middle of your cycle, and even shortly before your period is due to arrive is a good indicator as to what’s going on inside your body. The female body has a lot of intricate workings and one of the best ways that it can regulate these workings is to cleanse itself using a process that most of us simply call “discharge.” Discharge acts as a detoxifying or cleansing agent and it also helps to fight infection. The time of the month that discharge occurs as well as the appearance and odor that accompanies it can say a lot about what your body is going through.
Discharge Before Your Period
Some women experience discharge before their period on a regular basis and simply consider it to be a precursor for their period. Discharge before your period could be your body’s way of cleansing this area before your period actually starts. It can also be doing so as a way to prepare for menstruation and to avoid infection. If the discharge has a brownish tint to it then the most likely cause behind the occurrence is that your reproductive system is trying to flush out some of the leftover blood from your last period. Sometimes the body simply doesn’t manage to get all of the blood out of the uterus during one cycle and attempts to do so shortly before the next cycle begins, usually as it prepares once again to shed the uterine lining and create another monthly period. There is no reason to be alarmed by the presence of white or brown discharge before your period.
If the discharge is foul smelling—likened to a fishy odor—and grey or cloudy in color then it may be a sign of Chlamydia. This is a fairly common STD that can easily be treated but should be done so with the help of a doctor. Lumpy white discharge that looks like cottage cheese is a tell-tale symptom of a yeast infection and can be treated using an over the counter yeast infection medication or with a doctor’s prescription.
Discharge During Ovulation
Discharge that occurs during ovulation is very common. In fact, it is one of the most obvious signs that women use to tell when they should start trying to conceive or to avoid intercourse altogether. This is a very reliable method used in natural family planning. The discharge produced very shortly before ovulation occurs is actually a fertile mucous that has changed in consistency during this time of the month to make your cervical environment easier for sperm to navigate. The fertile mucous that is produced around ovulation becomes very slick, clear or white, and stringy or tacky. If stretched out it can usually measure longer than one inch. This type of mucous is often likened to raw egg whites in both its appearance and consistency. With this kind of consistency, the sperm are better able to navigate and survive inside your body which helps your chances of becoming pregnant.
If you do want to become pregnant then you should start trying at the first sign of discharge around your ovulation date. If you aren’t sure when your ovulation date is then you can always do a simple calculation to figure out the date. Start by thinking back to the first day of your last period. From here, count out the number of days that your cycle usually lasts. For instance, if you usually go about 28 days between the start of each period, then you have a 28-day cycle. Use this to predict when the start of your next period will be. From this future date, count backwards 14 days. This is the day that ovulation is most likely to occur for you. Obviously the human body is subject to a bit of change and ovulation may occur a bit earlier or a bit later, so most women trying to get pregnant will try a few days before their predicted ovulation date as well as a few days afterward. Also bear in mind that having unprotected sex even a week before your ovulation date could still enable you to become pregnant, as sperm can live for up to about a week inside the vagina.
Discharge After Your Period
If you are experiencing discharge after your period then you probably aren’t worrying too much about ovulation discharge at the moment. Discharge after your period can be a sign that your body has not yet finished ridding itself of the blood from your period. This often results in blood that is brown or dark-tinted. You may also experience discharge after your period if you have recently been ill or if you have contracted an infection or STD. In most cases, an infection or STD will cause other symptoms that will let you know that all is not well inside your body.
White discharge after your period that is odorless or has only a very faint—but not foul—odor, is considered normal. If the discharge is white and has an odor, then it may be an indicator of a yeast infection. Off-white or cream colored discharge that contains a foul odor is one of the symptoms of Chlamydia, while yellow-green, odorous discharge is sometimes associated with gonorrhea.