Just when you thought it was safe to go back in your best knickers… oh hey! Discharge.
This totally wasn’t on the list
Don’t worry if you didn’t get the message. Discharge is a bit like the middle sibling of puberty – it shows up every day and does a great job, but often gets ignored. However at betty, we pay attention to both middle siblings (hey guys) and every weird and wonderful change happening in your body right now.
There’s a party in my pants
Discharge is a natural mucus that is produced from your cervix. Formed from normal bacteria and fluids, and it’s your vagina’s way of keeping itself clean. We know, if only bedrooms did that.
You normally start producing discharge about six months to a year before your first period, so its appearance is a bit of a ‘hello!’ from your reproductive system, letting you know that changes are happening down there.
- Discharge is your vagina's self cleaning system. You’ll probably start producing it about six months to a year before your first period.
- The amount of discharge and the consistency you produce will vary throughout your menstrual cycle.
- If you notice a dramatic change (it looks grey, green or cottage cheesy) it might be a good idea to see your GP.
How much discharge should there be?
The amount of discharge you produce varies through the stages of your menstrual cycle. Generally you produce around a teaspoon of discharge a day, although at some times, like before ovulation, this could be quite a lot more. Around this time discharge can change texture too, becoming less like a liquid and more like a gloopy gel. Or for the sci-fi fans among you, ghost slime.
If you want to, you can wear a pantyliner (a thin pad) around that time of your cycle to absorb everything. Or not. You do you. Discharge comes out easily in the washing machine (woo!), so it’s really about what makes you feel more comfortable.
Anything else I should be looking out for?
Some variation throughout the month is perfectly natural, but a sudden change in your discharge could be a sign that something is a bit off – especially if you notice it looking grey or green, if it has a lumpy consistency like cottage cheese, if it starts to have a strong smell or if there’s suddenly a lot more than usual.
In that case, who you gonna call?
No, your GP. Relax.
Image: Katie Edmunds