What is white discharge? Explanations and advice

Written by Marion Goilav Professional proofreading
Reviewed by Charline midwife Professional proofreading


Called leucorrhoea, white discharge is perfectly normal. However, this phenomenon tends to surprise and even worry. Their consistency changes according to the time of the cycle, but as you'll see, it's very easy to recognize them and understand what each white discharge corresponds to.


What is white discharge?

White discharge appears at the same time as the first periods and lasts until the menopause. This vaginal discharge is largely composed of cervical mucus. They are secreted to keep the vagina perfectly moist, but also to protect it. In fact, white discharge rebalances the vaginal pH, reducing the risk of mycosis. A real germ barrier and antibacterial, it prevents infections. Cervical mucus, secreted by the cervix and variable according to the cycle, plays an additional role in fertility. To help them do their job, it's important to practise gentle intimate hygiene, using pH-neutral soap in particular. Vaginal douching, which can cause an imbalance in the flora, should also be avoided.

Why do all women have white discharge?

All women experience traces of white discharge in the course of their lives. Their secretion is an innate function of our organism, a sign that the body is functioning perfectly.

What does white discharge look like?

The appearance and texture of each white discharge tells you what stage of the cycle you're in. White discharge can be translucent, whitish or slightly yellow, but there's no need to worry.

  • At the beginning of the cycleAfter the periods, discharge is often scanty, viscous, thick and sticky (like glue), and may feel dry, or at least not very lubricated.

  •  Then the losses become less viscous and more fluid.

  •  Around ovulationAround ovulation, discharge is fluid, stretchable between the fingers, and you can feel a very moist, even oily sensation when you wipe your vulva. It's the cervical mucus that has changed to facilitate the passage of sperm.

  •  Then, once ovulation has passedwe generally return to a less lubricated sensation, with little discharge and/or a more sticky discharge.


Is white discharge smelly?

A white discharge caused by changes in your estrogen secretion shouldn't be smelly. In fact, it could be a sign of vaginosis (an imbalance in vaginal flora), mycosis or a sexually transmitted trichomonas infection.

White discharge and pregnancy: is it normal?

During pregnancy, don't be surprised to discover that you have a creamy white discharge, or even more abundant secretions than usual l. The body puts all its energy into protecting the vagina, and this involves an increase in the production of vaginal secretions.

What other secretions should not be confused with white discharge?

l some secretions are abnormal and may indicate an infection. infection.

  • If the discharge is very white and lumpy (like curdled milk), it is probably a mycosis. Moreover, this discharge is often accompanied by vulvar itching and/or burning.
  • Yellow-green yellow-green are sometimes signs of vaginitis (inflammation due to bacteria), tri hormonal vaginalis infection or inflammation of the cervix l.

Basically, if your discharge has changed, consult a midwife, gynecologist or general practitioner for treatment.

Don't be ashamed to go and see a doctor: most infections are easily treated. And the more you treated the sooner your discharge returns to normal.

Apart from these changes in appearance, vaginal discharge is natural. These vaginal secretions change appearance according to your cycle and shouldn't worry you. Vaginal discharge is a sign of a healthy body, but it can also be a warning sign of an infection that needs to be seen by your doctor. So keep a close eye on them.

    FAQs on white discharge

    What causes white discharge?

    White discharge is caused by your body. These secretions will take on a different appearance depending on your estrogen secretions. They can therefore provide protection adapted to the needs of your vagina, depending on the moment in your cycle. They help maintain an optimal vaginal pH. Their secretion helps maintain optimal vaginal moisture and flora balance to prevent infections.

    Is it normal to have white discharge every day?

    It's perfectly normal to have a white discharge every day. Depending on your contraception and/or the time of your cycle, they may vary. They are often more abundant around ovulation. They are also very common during pregnancy.

    Is white discharge a sign of pregnancy?

    Although vaginal discharge tends to increase during pregnancy, heavier discharge is not necessarily a sign of pregnancy. However, it's not uncommon for the body to speak, so if you notice a change and there's a possibility that you're pregnant, then indeed, check this out by taking a test. But otherwise, if the abundance of your discharge changes and it's bothering you, it's advisable to discuss it with a health professional.


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