Is it normal to have a milky white discharge? You can see this kind thick white vaginal mucus before period, in early pregnancy or even after ovulation. What does it mean when it is watery or thick and accompanied with a foul odor?
Vaginal fluid varies in thickness, color, smell and amount depending on various causes. The color and odor can mean a vaginal infection such as yeast. In some instances, it is just the normal color of your cervical mucus before or after period.
The amount of the clear, watery, white or milky discharge may also be a sign of the time of your menstrual cycle and whether you are about to ovulate or not.
What does it mean?
A creamy white discharge can be a sign of many things some of which are health risks:
- For example, the normal clear discharge may occasionally turn white during ovulation, pregnancy and before a period.
- It can also occur after sex, which is perfectly normal.
- All of these situations should not have a foul smell accompanying the discharge.
- However, if the milky white discharge is clumpy, is a lot or has an odor to it, then you may get worried since it would mean you are having an infection.
These two categories of the milky whitish discharge mean that there is an underlying process or issue that makes the body produce a discharge of this color.
The normal vaginal discharge is clear to a mildly white color.
The menstrual cycle plays a major role in the type of discharge you will be experiencing. From period to the ovulation, implantation and pregnancy stages, there is a distinctive discharge to symbolize each stage.
This kind of discharge is common during ovulation. In fact, it is one of the signs of ovulation. But what does it mean when you get the same colored discharge after ovulation is over?
A whitish or milky discharge after ovulation is perfectly normal if it is odorless and has no other symptoms. This is because, during ovulation, the body produces up to 30 times more discharge than during normal times. This discharge will begin before the ovulation process and continue to the end of the same process. It is perfectly normal for this to occur.
The milky discharge should only raise an eyebrow if you see that it has an odor, causes itching or has other symptoms you cannot easily explain such as fever.
Given that some abdominal pain is observed during the ovulation process (ovulation cramps), you should not worry about the pain. The milky white mucus may also turn pink in color due to ovulation spotting.
Your normal cervical mucus mixes with blood from ovulation spotting to cause a pink vaginal discharge.
The occurrence of a milky or whitish discharge days before your period is still a normal incident. It should not be cause for concern.
- As stated earlier, the menstrual cycle is signified by many different discharges one of which is a milky white vaginal mucus or fluid.
- As the body prepares for the incoming period, the amount of discharge will increase.
- This discharge will change in color from milky white to pink, light brown then dark brown as the period sets in. This sequence may differ in some people without any side effects.
Missed period, white milky discharge
If you experience a white milky discharge yet you have missed your period, you may be pregnant.
The reason for this is that, during the early stages of a pregnancy, you are likely to experience a lot of changes in the body. One of the changes is an increase in the amount of discharge of a milky white consistency.
While it is a normal occurrence, such a vaginal flow in the early days of a pregnancy may also be a cause for concern. The most easily notable difference between a normal discharge and an abnormal one is the presence or absence of other symptoms.
The normal discharge should NOT be smelly, have an itch or be accompanied with pain. If you notice any of these signs (and many others), see a doctor immediately.
But pregnancy is not always the cause of a whitish, milky discharge with a missed period. In some cases, it may simply be a case of a delayed period. The best way to know whether you are pregnant or not is to take a pregnancy test a week after the day you expected to have seen your periods.
White discharge while pregnant
A white milky discharge while pregnant is common in the early stages of a pregnancy (1st trimester). This discharge is referred to as leukorrhea. It contains the normal vaginal discharge mixed with dead cells and other bodily fluids. It can also change to a light yellow discharge.
It is a normal occurrence and all women will experience it. It is white in color, thin, milky and (if there is any smell) of a mild smell.
If it turns yellow or other color besides white such as green and is accompanied by any other symptoms, you need to see your doctor straight away.
The other stage in pregnancy when you are likely to see a lot of the whitish discharge is around the 39th week of pregnancy. This is towards the end of the pregnancy. The discharge you will be feeling at this time will be the cervical plug being washed away in preparation for the coming baby.
Thick white discharge after sex
After sex, you may see a thick milky white mucus. There is nothing worrying about this discharge unless the sex was painful and you have been experiencing some symptoms before this incident. Among the main causes of a milky white colored discharge after sexual intercourse include:
1. Cervical mucus
The cervix is responsible for a lot of the discharges you experience during your period. If you are keen, you will notice that the consistency and color of the discharge changes with time.
- For example, at the time when you are most fertile (during ovulation), you will see a clear and stretchy discharge.
- This type of discharge is meant to aid the movement of sperms towards the ovaries where they will fertilize the egg.
- If you see this fluid, you may easily get pregnant because you are fertile at this time of the cycle.
When the fluid turns to a dry mucus after sex, it is a sign that the cycle would have come to an end. It would not be anything to worry about since it is normal for that to occur.
Again, this white or milky discharge should not be accompanied by any other bodily changes such as pain, a bad, fishy smell and even itching. If so, these are signs of a developing vaginal infection.
2. Vaginal lubrication
During arousal, you are likely to experience an increase in the amount of discharge in the vagina in readiness for the sexual encounter.
The lubrication can vary from a clear fluid to a milky white discharge which can go on even a few moments after the sex. It is perfectly normal as it will go away soon afterwards.
3. Presence of sperm
If your sexual encounter is without a condom, then the whitish discharge you will be noticing will not be a discharge as such but rather semen.
The look and feel of healthy semen is milky and this is what you will be seeing out of your vagina and it will not be a problem.
When you have excessive amounts of the milky white discharge, you may either be healthy or harboring a disease. Among the most common causes of large amounts of such vaginal discharge include the following.
The high amount of vaginal discharge you feel at the beginning and during a pregnancy will be due to the body’s efforts to protect the baby and keep the cervix clean and moist at all times.
The amount of the discharge will also go up during the 39th week of your pregnancy as the cervical plug is washed away to pave way for the baby.
The ovulation process also increases the amount of the discharge due to the high levels of the progesterone hormone. This hormone generally causes an increase in the amount of the bodily fluids leading to high discharges. You may thus experience a milky discharge and clear stretchy one during this period.
Stress is known to cause a lot of changes in the body. While some women will exhibit vaginal drying, others will see an increase in their vaginal discharge.
While this vaginal fluid will not be harmful to your health, you need to find a way to get rid of the stress to avoid serious health consequences.
It is not always easy to identify a disease of the female reproductive system from its discharge. However, when you notice an increase in the amount of the discharge accompanied by other similar symptoms associated with a specific disease or infection, you should see a doctor.
Unlike the normal processes of the body which increase and decrease the amount of the discharge, a disease will have a consistent amount of the discharge.
Before, during and after sex, you will observe an increase in the amount of the vaginal discharge because the hormone that causes your arousal is the same one that increases your vaginal discharge.
This discharge will act as a lubricant for the sexual intercourse to prevent vaginal sores and blisters. Even when the sexual act is over, you may still produce the vaginal fluid.
Sometimes you may get a milky white discharge that has an odor. This is not a good sign. When a discharge has an odor no matter its color, it is almost always a sign of a developing infection.
When you are pregnant, however, you may occasionally take note of an odor in your vaginal discharge. Even with this condition, the smell should be mild and not consistent. If it is strong, consistent and there are other symptoms such as itching, abdominal pain or fever, call your doctor for a checkup.
If there is no smell to a milky white discharge, then you have nothing to worry about. As shown above, the amount of the discharge can vary according to many conditions including during a pregnancy, sexual intercourse, ovulation, and many other bodily processes.
Yeast infections, however, are odorless just like when you are having a normal discharge. The difference between a yeast infection discharge and other discharges is that it has other symptoms which make it unique. These symptoms shall be detailed in the following sections.
Thin, watery milky white vaginal discharge
When there is a thin and watery white vaginal discharge that is in high amounts, you should seek medical advice since it could be an infection.
The most likely cause of this type of discharge is bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is a disease of the female reproductive system caused by the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Besides the thin watery and milky discharge, other symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:
- Vaginal itching
- A fishy smell from the vagina
- Burning sensation during urination and sexual intercourse
Among the factors that increase your likelihood of having this disease include;
- A new sex partner
- Multiple sex partners
- Naturally lacking lactobacillus bacteria in the vaginal tract
While normal cases of this disease are easy to treat, this thin, watery milky white discharge is a danger to you since it can cause other complications such as:
- Being more susceptible to other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, the herpes simplex virus, HIV and many others. You will also infect your partner with the disease once you notice its distinctive discharge.
- It can spread to the fallopian tubes and the uterus to cause the pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The pelvic inflammatory disease increases your chances of being infertile.
- If you are pregnant, the thin, watery and milky white vaginal secretion can cause preterm birth and having babies that are of a low weight.
- Bacterial vaginosis also increases your chances of developing an infection after a surgical procedure such as dilation and curettage (D&C) and hysterectomy.
This means that, once you see this type of discharge no matter your current health status, make sure you have talked to your doctor about it as the risks as too much to bare.
Creamy, thick white milky discharge
A creamy or cheesy thick white milky secretion is one of the most obvious signs of a yeast infection (candidiasis). Most women do not quickly recognize a yeast infection discharge due to the fact that it has no odor hence easily passes for a normal discharge.
Yeast is caused by candida albicans; a type of fungus that is present in the vaginal walls. Due to the acid produced by lactobacillus bacteria, this fungus is kept in low amounts. However, when the conditions favor the growth of the candida fungi, they will grow and cause various symptoms. Conditions that favor or cause the growth of yeast include;
- Tight undergarments made of materials such as lycra and nylon.
- The use of steroids.
- The use of some contraceptives.
- Being HIV positive.
- Being diabetic.
- Using antibiotics.
Given that the creamy, thick white milky vaginal discharge has no odor, you will need to gather the other symptoms for self-diagnosis. The other symptoms include;
- A burning sensation while passing urine or having sex.
- Irritation and itching of the vagina.
- Swelling and redness of the vulva.
- Vaginal rash.
- Pain and soreness in the vagina.
However, the best thing to do is consult a medical doctor for a yeast infection test.
What to do at home
What you do at home in response to the milky white discharge depends heavily on the cause of the discharge. Among the things you can do at home include;
- A cold compress always helps in relieving the pain, itching and other symptoms of an infection.
- If you have been recently treated of a sexually transmitted disease, wait for a week until you engage in sex again.
- If you are in suspicion of a yeast infection, find some antifungal medicine over the counter.
The above solutions generally refer to situations where you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease or are suspecting you have it. However, for the normal vaginal discharge which is referred to as leukorrhea, you need to use the following remedies.
Bananas also have many health benefits such as relieving the symptoms that accompany most vaginal discharges such as lethargy and digestive issues.
- The simplest way is to eat two bananas everyday until you have the desired results.
- Another way of benefiting from this mixture is using this fruit is to mix equal parts of palmyrah candy and banana flour juice to get the desired results.
The antioxidant, antifungal and antibiotic properties of cranberries makes them some of the best solutions to leukorrhea as they will kill undesired bacteria and eliminate any odors that occur with it.
- Drinking a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice daily until you see the problem gone, or
- Take cranberry tablets as prescribed by the doctor.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar will restore the pH of the vagina and, owing to having acidic and antiseptic properties, it kills unwanted microorganisms such as bacteria. These same properties eliminate any odor from the vagina that may be the result of an infection or other health condition. To use this remedy, do the following:
- Mix an unfiltered amount of apple cider vinegar in an equal amount of water then use the mixture to wash the affected area twice a day for a week.
- You can also drink a glass of this mixture everyday for s week to 10 days.
Okra is mucilaginous in nature. This property ensures that it removes any excess mucus from the body. Leukorrhea, being made up of bodily fluids such as mucus, will be eliminated when okra is used.
- Clean about 100 grams of okras then chop them up into small pieces.
- Add half a liter of water to the okras then boil until the water is reduced by half.
- Sieve out the okras and divide the water into three equal parts.
- Take all three parts in a single day.
- Repeat daily until the leukorrhea is gone.
Fenugreek seeds have many medicinal aspects such as boosting the immune system, restoring the pH of the vagina and regulation of the estrogen levels in the body. There are several ways of using this remedy including the following;
- Add two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds to four glasses of water and boil for about half an hour. Strain the mixture and let it cool. You can use this mixture to wash the vagina three times a day until you no longer see the leukorrhea.
- Alternatively, you can soak a teaspoon of these seeds in a glass of water overnight. You then strain the mixture and drink the water that remains behind.
Due to their laxative properties, figs are widely used to eliminate any toxins from the body some of which might be causing the leukorrhea.
- Mix equal quantities of ground fig tree bark and the banyan tree then mix the two in water. You then use this mixture to wash your vagina.
- You can also soak a few dried figs in water overnight then blend the mix and drink it preferably on an empty stomach.
When to see a doctor
If you see a milky white discharge with other complications, you should consult a doctor straight away. If you notice any of the following conditions, see your doctor immediately.
- When you are seeing the discharge for the first time.
- When the discharge has an odor to it.
- When the color of the discharge changes.
- If the amount of the discharge goes up.
- If the nature of the discharge changes in terms of the color, consistency and smell.
- If you develop symptoms similar to those of fever.
- If the discharge has an itch, burning sensation or pain in the abdomen.
- If you see blood and feel intense pain.
These remedies will help you do away with the milky white discharge and most other issues of a similar kind.