The Low-Down on Your Flow: What Does Vaginal Discharge Before Your Period Mean?
We all experience vaginal discharge. It's a normal bodily function that helps to clean and protect the vagina from infection. But did you know that your vaginal discharge can also give you important clues about your menstrual cycle, vaginal health, ovulation, and even pregnancy? Let's take a closer look at what your discharge is telling you.
Understanding Vaginal Discharge
Before we dive into the specifics of what discharge before your period means, let's first discuss what vaginal discharge is and what’s considered normal.
Vaginal discharge is a combination of cervical mucus, vaginal secretions, and bacteria that help to lubricate and protect the vaginal canal. The amount, colour, and consistency of your discharge can vary throughout your menstrual cycle and can be influenced by hormonal changes.
The Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle is the time from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period. It is divided into different phases, each of which is characterised by different hormonal changes that can impact your discharge:
- During the follicular phase, which occurs in the first half of your cycle, your discharge is typically thin and watery. This type of discharge is conducive to sperm survival and can help facilitate fertilisation.
- During ovulation, which occurs around day 14 of a 28-day cycle, your discharge may become stretchy and clear, resembling egg whites. This is a sign that you are at your most fertile and may be ovulating.
- After ovulation, during the luteal phase, your discharge may thicken and become more opaque.
How Period Products Can Affect Discharge
The type of period product you use can also impact your discharge. Traditional disposable pads and tampons contain chemicals and synthetic materials that can irritate the vaginal area and disrupt the pH balance of the vagina, leading to an increase in abnormal discharge. Organic and natural period products, on the other hand, are made with all-natural materials and are free from chemicals and synthetic fragrances. This can help to maintain a healthy vaginal pH and prevent irritation.
Vaginal discharge can also provide important clues about your vaginal health. If your discharge has a bad odour, is accompanied by itching or burning, or is an unusual colour, it could be a sign of an infection. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and sexually transmitted infections are all conditions that can cause abnormal discharge. It's important to see your GP if you experience any of these symptoms.
Hormonal changes can also impact your discharge. For example, if you are on hormonal birth control, your discharge may become thinner and more watery. Conversely, if you are going through perimenopause or menopause, your discharge may become thicker and more prone to infection.
Lastly, your discharge can also provide clues about pregnancy. During early pregnancy, your discharge may become thicker and creamier, resembling lotion. This is due to the increased production of oestrogen and progesterone, which helps to prepare the cervix for pregnancy.
If you notice an increase in discharge and are sexually active, it's important to take a pregnancy test to rule out the possibility of pregnancy.
Going Green with DAME
Vaginal discharge is a normal bodily function that can provide important clues about your menstrual cycle, vaginal health, ovulation, and pregnancy. By paying attention to the colour, consistency, and smell of your discharge, you can gain valuable insights into your reproductive health. If you experience any abnormal discharge, it's important to see a doctor to rule out any potential infections or conditions.
When choosing period products, it's important to consider not only their impact on the environment but also their impact on your vaginal health. By using organic period products or period pants, you can help support a healthy vaginal environment and reduce the risk of abnormal discharge. Take care of your vaginal health, and your body will thank you.