“Women are complicated”, they say but the female body is a lot more complicated than we can imagine. Fluid from the body is an area a lot shy away from: Many have various insecurities and worries about them. Hence, in this episode, we will look at the natural body fluids, the normal discharge, and when to be concerned about them.
Fluids from the female genital area have been grouped into 3: Vaginal discharge, Cervical fluid, and Arousal fluid. Each has its function and if observed well, it can give an indication of the processes going on inside the body.
It is a normal healthy occurrence. In fact, one has to be worried if she is not experiencing this type of discharge. The discharge is generally seen on a daily basis. The amount, smell and thickness may differ depending on the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc Its function is to clean the vagina and remove dead cells and bacteria. It ranges from clear to milky white. It has a distinct smell that is NOT foul. It also maintains the normal microflora (good bacteria that prevent bad bacteria from forming) in the vagina. This is the reason why the vagina must not be washed with anything other than clean and clear water.
When a person uses a feminine wash, it takes over one function of this discharge by cleaning the vaginal space which is not bad. However, the feminine wash cannot maintain the normal microflora which means infectious microbes can thrive in the vagina if the feminine wash is not used regularly. Why should the feminine wash take over the job of the vaginal discharge if its use cannot be guaranteed always?
Every female may have observed the normal colour and smell of their discharge. If the colour for instance changes from white to yellowish or greenish, then it may be an indication of an infection. Also, itching together with a foul smell may reaffirm the presence of an infection. Other than these, vaginal discharge is a healthy, organic, and important aspect of every female and females must not be worried about it.
Cervical fluid commonly known as cervical mucus is clear or gel-like in appearance. Cervical fluid is important especially if a woman wants to conceive as it gets rid of abnormal sperm and protects healthy sperm as they travel through the reproductive system. This mucus is produced by the hormone estrogen. Throughout your menstrual cycle, the cervical mucus changes to support the possibility if conception.
Pre-menstruation cervical mucus
Before menstruating, the body releases the least amount of cervical mucus. If you should check your undergarment, it may appear dry or clean. That is perfectly normal. As you approach ovulation(the ovaries releases egg ready to be fertilized by a sperm), the mucus begins to thicken.
Ovulation cervical mucus
At this stage, the body is prepared to receive sperm due to the presence of a released egg or ovum. The female becomes more aroused. Its appearance and stickiness can help you to determine your most fertile days without the help of a tracking calendar Estrogen is increased at this stage and it causes the cervix to release more mucus. The mucus produced is generally clear and sticky. It is no longer a discharge but a fluid. It resembles that of egg-white and is stretchier. It may be observed that the fluid will be more on the day the egg is released from the ovaries which is your most fertile day to conceive.
After ovulation ceases, it means the egg which was released is no longer viable for fertilization. Hence, the mucus becomes thicker rather than sticky nature.
One may wonder if there is a difference between vaginal discharge and cervical mucus. Many people refer to the cervical mucus-like vaginal discharge. They may not be wrong. This is why:
Any fluid coming out of the vagina can be called a vagina discharge. However, the vagina discharge is different from the cervical mucus in the sense that, its main function is to keep the vagina clean and free from infections. The discharge is little as compared to the cervical mucus.
The cervical mucus on the other hand is secreted from the cervix (opening of the uterus/womb) when a woman’s body is preparing to receive sperms. The mucus is sticky and more than that of a normal discharge. The cervical mucus reduces drastically after ovulation ceases and whatever comes afterward is referred to as a discharge.
It occurs when the body senses sexual desire. Increased blood flow to the genitals especially the vaginal walls causes fluid to pass through them which makes the tissues wet and provides lubrication. This is the first stage of arousal fluid.
Increased blood flow to the genitals peak which causes the lower third of the vagina to swell and become firm. Continuous stimulation with increased fluid will lead to orgasm.
Fluids can be grouped into the following
1. None-The surface of the undergarment is mostly dry or presence of fluid that evapourates quickly. This happens immediately after menstruation. This is what the vaginal discharge normally looks like.
2. Sticky- It is sticky with no fluid resembling glue. It may range from white to yellow. At this time, the body is preparing to release an egg. It sits between a vaginal discharge and cervical mucus.
3. Egg-white- the fluid released is slippery. It feels wet, sticky, and resembles egg-white if you should stretch it. The colour ranges from clear white to milky white. It makes the vagina feel wet and many mistake this for arousal fluid.
4. Watery- this is the same as the arousal fluid. It is watery and slippery which can make your underwear look wet or soak through.
- Flo health. Vaginal discharge. Retrieved from https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/vaginal-discharge/discharge-fluid-mucus
- UNC School of Medicine. Time to conceive. Retrieved from https://www.med.unc.edu/timetoconceive/study-participant-resources/cervical-mucus-testing-information/
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