Causes Of White Vaginal Discharge
Many women experience thick, white discharge before a period. This is considered healthy unless the discharge is lumpy or accompanied by a strong odor.
Read on to discover more about changes in discharge throughout the menstrual cycle, and why white discharge can appear before a period.
Normal vaginal discharge is called leukorrhea. It comprises fluid and bacteria from the cells in the vagina. Most women produce just under a teaspoon, or 4 milliliters, of white or clear discharge every day.
Discharge before a period tends to be cloudy or white, due to the increased presence of progesterone, a hormone involved in both the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
In other phases of the cycle, when the body has higher levels of estrogen, vaginal discharge tends to be clear and watery.
Discharge helps with lubrication and the removal of bacteria from the vagina. It can also be a convenient way for women to track their menstrual cycle.
The following factors may result in white discharge.
Normal Reproductive Function
White discharge is common at the beginning and end of menstruation. It is usually thin and stretchy, and should not be accompanied by itching or an odor.
Hormonal birth control
Using these types of birth control, including the birth control pill, can lead to more discharge, because hormone levels may be affected. The increase is not usually a cause for concern unless there are any other symptoms.
Also known as candidiasis, yeast infections are a common complaint among women. It is estimated that nearly 75 percent of women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime.
Discharge associated with a yeast infection tends to resemble cottage cheese — it is thick, white, and lumpy. Other symptoms include itching and burning in and around the vagina.
Around 30 percent of women of childbearing age have bacterial vaginosis (BV), an infection caused by bacterial imbalances in the vagina.
BV is linked to douching and having more than one sexual partner. The discharge tends to be grayish-white and has a fishy odor.