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After days of cramping, bleeding, and bloating, your period finally ends. But it seems you’re not quite done with fluid coming out of you. White discharge has popped up in your undies after your period.
White discharge after your period is pretty normal, but how do you know if it’s worth mentioning to your OB-GYN during your next visit?
Allow us to elaborate on what white discharge after your period means.
White discharge has a medical name leukorrhea. It’s totally normal and usually happens during the second half of your cycle. Discharge is actually a super helpful method your vagina uses to keep things clean and moist (a healthy WAP, if you will).
Most people with vaginas will encounter a full spectrum of discharge throughout their periods, but they may never notice. According to Sutter Health, it’s possible to create about a teaspoon of thin or thick, odorless discharge (ya know, mucus, slime, goop, etc.) each day.
The slew of different discharge colors and textures are clues about your hormones and what’s going on inside you during your menstrual cycle.
During your cycle, the look, feel, and volume of discharge changes at each stage. Sometimes these changes can overlap or happen all at once.
The color wheel of discharge
Here are some ways discharge may change in color and texture throughout your cycle:
- White: This usually happens toward the beginning and end of your cycle.
- Clear and watery: This can happen throughout your entire cycle. You may notice it’s heaviest during exercise.
- Clear and stretchy: This is usually a sign you’re fertile AF (aka ovulation).
- Brownish: This is most common after your period ends and your bod gets rid of any leftover blood.
- Greenish or yellowish: These colors combined with odor may be signs of an infection.
It’s important to note that discharge after your period, along with odor, itching, and burning, may be signs of a sexually transmitted infection, in which case you should talk with your doctor ASAP.
Milky, white discharge
Leukorrhea is normal and usually happens during the first few days of your cycle. It will probably look thin, watery, and milky in color.
When your discharge is thin, it’s a sign that your bod is getting ready for ovulation (the baby-making stage), which is typically around 2 weeks after your period. But this timing varies per person. You could still ovulate closer to the end of your period!
Heads up: This discharge may also be a signal that you’re preggo. Some people produce thin white discharge thanks to hormonal changes brought on during the early stages of pregnancy.
Thick, egg white discharge
If you notice that your discharge is super thick, clear, and stretchy like an egg-white, this probably means you’re ovulating.
Even though you typically produce up to a teaspoon of discharge, after ovulation, the amount can ramp up during your fertile window. This is a good time to grab a pantyliner if you don’t want your fluids free-flowing.
Thick, white, sticky discharge
When your bod is not in ovulation mode, you can expect your discharge to be thick and sticky. Why though? Your discharge acts as a barrier, preventing sperm from entering your cervix and into your uterus.
According to the National Health Service, this discharge is also a natural defense mechanism that helps keep bacteria from entering your cervix, allowing you to steer clear of infections in the days following the end of your cycle. The uptick in fluids down there helps remove the bad bacteria.
White, chunky discharge with odor
This one may be bad news bears. If your discharge has chunks resembling cottage cheese, it may be a yeast infection.
While the vagina works very hard to keep things business as usual, occasionally the pH balance can be thrown off when bad bacteria or fungi are given the opportunity to thrive down there.
The main yeast infection symptoms to look out for include:
- thick discharge with a cottage cheese consistency
- a strong, unusual odor coming from the vagina
- an itchy vulva or vagina
- swelling, redness, or discoloration around the vulva
- pain and/or burning when you pee or during sex
Treatment: Yeast infections are far from fun, but they are usually an easy fix. Over-the-counter treatments can clear them up, or you can visit your doc if it’s a severe case that needs a prescription. It’s a good idea to avoid all types of sex while you’re zapping away yeast. It can be contagious.
Grayish white discharge
Balance is everything. A good amount of healthy vaginal bacteria is a beautiful thing, but you may notice grayish colored discharge along with redness or discoloration, pain, and itching when an imbalance happens. These could be signs of bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Treatment: Make an appointment with your doctor ASAP, who can help treat your BV with antibiotics.
While white discharge after your period may seem odd, it’s usually just your vagina at work. But occasionally, discharge may be a sign of an underlying condition.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, along with strange discharge, check-in with your doc:
- a missed period
- sores or rashes along with vaginal discomfort
- a burning sensation during sex or when you pee
- a strong, persistent smell coming from your vagina
If your white discharge is free from these symptoms, the extra stuff flowing down below is just a natural sign of overall vag health, meaning it’s something to feel good about.
White discharge after your period is totally normal and is just one of the many times during your cycle that your vag is producing discharge to take care of itself.
You can keep your vag very happy on the reg by:
- changing out of your wet bathing suit quickly
- cleaning sex toys after using them
- keeping the douche and products with fragrance away from your hoo-ha
The vagina, with its natural moisture and built-in defenses (like white discharge!), is a fierce force of nature who doesn’t need much help. In fact, it’s a self-care warrior designed to protect itself from future infections. You need only to get out of its way.