Is white milky vaginal discharge or secretion normal and when should you be worried?
This discharge is usually seen in early pregnancy, before period and it is usually odorless.
Keep reading to find out all the reasons you could have a thick creamy or milky white discharge coming out of your vagina.
What does a Vaginal Discharge mean?
A healthy discharge ranges from clear to white in colour. And It is usually non-itchy and has a mild or no smell to it.
The vagina cleanses itself from bacteria and dead cells by this common whitish discharge.
It is common and normal to produce an odorless discharge that is milky in early pregnancy, before period and during pregnancy. A discharge with odor indicates the presence of an infection. The consistency could be thin, thick or watery depending on what stage of menstrual cycle you are in.
So what does milky white secretion mean?
reasons for a CREAMY White Discharge?
1. Protect the Uterus, Cervix, Vagina from bacteria
A milky whitish or creamy discharge is healthy and it is a normal occurrence. Its main function is to protect the vagina and cervix from bacteria and wash away dead cells. This discharge is mostly produced at the top of the cervix.
Image Via Medscape
The role of this discharge is to keep the vagina moist, clean, and protect it from infections.
2. Sign of Pregnancy
Early pregnancy discharge is also milky in color and this is called leukorrhea. Leukorrhea serves as the first sign of pregnancy but not all women experience it.
You also experience a thin milky discharge a few days to ovulation. On ovulation day your discharge is egg-white cervical mucus which indicates this is your most fertile day.
Keep reading below for the other types of milky discharge you could have.
Milky White vaginal Discharge Before Periods
The presence of discharge before your period is perfectly normal and it is produced naturally at the neck of the womb(cervix).
The progesterone hormone which is the dominant hormone after ovulation triggers the production of this white milky vagina discharge.
If the released egg at ovulation got fertilized, the level of progesterone hormone would keep increasing throughout pregnancy. Thereby producing more whitish discharge.
If the egg is unfertilized, the progesterone level starts to drops to prepare the shedding of the uterine lining as your next period.
What does Milky Cervical Mucus After Period Mean?
Normal, dry days come after the completion of your period. These dry days last for about 3-5 days. After the dry days come the thick and sticky days.
The next phase after the sticky days is your fertile days. One the day you are most fertile you produce a slippery and wet egg white cervical mucus.
The vaginal fluid or secretion produced during when you are fertile is helps the sperm in reaching the egg easily.
The slippery vaginal fluid secreted at ovulation is required to produce a sperm-friendly environment for the sperm in the harsh vaginal environment.
Having little or no cervical mucus that is sperm friendly could lead to fertility problems in couples.
White milky discharge in early pregnancy
Is Whitish discharge a sign of early pregnancy?
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy apart from implantation cramping and spotting is a white creamy or milky discharge. This discharge is caused by estrogen and progesterone hormone.
The symptoms you experience during early pregnancy are very similar to the one you experience just before your period. The reasons for this is because similar hormones are at play(the progesterone hormone) before period and in early pregnancy.
So If you had unprotected sex during ovulation then you might be pregnant. But the only sure way to know is by taking a pregnancy test.
Other Early Pregnancy Signs are:
- Implantation Cramping and spotting
- Nausea (Morning Sickness)
- Fatigue and Tiredness
- Breast Tenderness
- Missed or Late Period
- Frequent Urination
Milky White vaginal Discharge with odor
If your discharge has a strong smell of any kind then it means there is an infection. If it smells like fish, it means you have bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis is a mild infection of the vagina that is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. It’s quite common. The vagina consists of both good and bad bacteria.
In a healthy vagina, there are more good bacteria than bad bacteria. The good bacteria help to keep the bad bacteria under control.
In an unhealthy vagina, the bad bacteria are more than good bacteria. This unhealthy balance of bacteria is what leads to bacterial infection.
The color of the discharge is usually grayish-white and has a strong fish smell.
milky white odorless discharge
If you experience a vaginal discharge that is odorless and non-itchy then that is perfectly normal. This may be as a result of the changes in the levels of hormones(estrogen and progesterone) in your monthly menstrual cycle.
But if your discharge is odorless and itchy, this is a symptom of infection like a yeast infection.
So what is a yeast infection discharge?
Yeast Infection Discharge
A yeast infection is caused by the presence of a fungus called Candida Albicans in the vagina. It is a thick white clumpy discharge that is odorless but itchy and irritates the opening of the vagina.
Yeast infections are a very common infection in women and around 3 out of 4 women will experience it at some points in their lives.
Other symptoms of yeast infection to look out for are burning sensation when peeing and during intercourse, redness and soreness of the vulva.
what does early pregnancy discharge look like?
The vaginal discharge in early pregnancy is usually a thick or milky white secretion that comes around the time you have a missed period. This happens because the ovaries start producing estrogen and progesterone hormone after successful fertilization has occurred.
The estrogen hormone causes lots of milky vaginal discharge to be produced while the progesterone hormone thickens the secretion.
what does milky White or creamy discharge after ovulation mean?
A white cervical mucus after ovulation may mean you are pregnant. Usually after ovulation, little or no cervical mucus is produced as it is no longer required.
A milky white watery creamy discharge called leucorrhea is produced as an early sign of pregnancy. It also serves as a way of protecting the uterus from vagina infections.
Not all women notice this discharge as a pregnancy sign. The best way to confirm pregnancy is to test around a week after you have missed your period.
A thick white creamy discharge may also be produced after ovulation to mean you are in your non-fertile phase.
Basically, the creamy discharge prevents the sperm from being able to travel up the cervix easily.
what does Thick White Mucus during Pregnancy mean?
A thick white discharge during pregnancy is normal.
A yellowish or greenish discharge that is itchy or smelly during pregnancy is a sign of an infection. Whitish discharge is common in pregnancy. This is due to the increasing level of the estrogen hormone in pregnant women.
Normal and Abnormal Vagina discharge
There are various types of vaginal discharges you should know. Some are normal and some are abnormal which signifies an underlying health problem.
So how do you differentiate a healthy discharge to an abnormal unhealthy one?
A healthy vaginal discharge:
- Doesn’t have a strong smell or odor
- is clear or white or milkfish in color
- is slippery, wet, or watery
- is thin, thick, or sticky
An abnormal vaginal discharge :
- could have an unpleasant smell
- yellowish, greenish or brownish in color
- Could be clumpy and thick
- may itch and irritate the vagina
treatment of white discharge
A vaginal discharge that is clear and white with no strong smell may appear at different times e.g before ovulation, before your period, or in early pregnancy. And this is normal.
You should seek medical help if you notice you have an abnormal vaginal discharge.
Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotics. Which could be administered to you orally (by mouth) or through the use of vaginal cream.
Some women do have side effects from taking antibiotics through the mouth. In this case, vaginal cream or gel is recommended.
Flagyl is a common antibiotic prescribed by the doctor to treat infections such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
Treatment of yeast infection
Yeast infections can be treated with over the counter anti-fungal creams. You don’t need to get a prescription for this.
If after using anti-fungal cream, the symptoms of yeast infection still persist, then you should see your doctor.
is a white milky discharge from the Male penis normal?
Most of the time, whitish discharge from the penis is caused by urethritis. Urethritis is the inflammation of the tube between the end of the penis and the bladder.
Urethritis is usually caused by sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea. But not in all cases Urethritis is a sexually transmitted disease.