If you’re like most women, you probably expect to see a little bit of discharge before your period. But what if the discharge is white instead of clear? Is this a sign of pregnancy? In this blog post, we will explore the possible causes of white discharge before your period and whether or not it could be a sign of pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more!
What is white discharge?
The vaginal discharge is a fluid produced by tiny glands in the cervix and vaginal area. Every day, this fluid leaks out of the vagina to remove old cells and debris, maintaining the health and cleanliness of the vagina and reproductive tract.
Vaginal discharge can differ greatly from person to person. Depending on where a person is in their menstrual cycle, the color, consistency, and amount can also change day to day:
- From days 1 to 5. As the body sheds the uterine lining at the beginning of the cycle, discharge is usually red or bloody.
- From days 6 to 14. During a period, a woman may notice less vaginal discharge than usual. The cervical mucus becomes cloudy and yellow or white as the egg develops and matures. Occasionally, it may feel sticky.
- From days 14 to 25. It is similar to egg whites in consistency a few days before ovulation when mucus is thin and slippery. Mucus will return to being cloudy, white or yellow, and sticky or tacky after ovulation.
- From 25 to 28 days. Before getting another period, cervical mucus will lighten and a person will see less of it.
Why does white discharge occur?
The most common reason for white discharge during your period is a sign that you’re ovulating. This means your uterus is releasing an egg called an ovum. The estrogen and progesterone levels in your body are at their highest point during this time, which causes the mucous membranes to produce more fluid than usual.
The other possibilities are less frequent but still possible:
- Pregnancy: White discharge before your period or after menstruation can be a sign of pregnancy if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as morning sickness and tender breasts (or even spotting). Some women don’t experience any of these, though; they just notice the white discharge on their underwear and wonder what’s going on!
- Yeast infection (candidiasis): A yeast infection is caused by overgrowth of the fungus candida in the vagina; it causes an itching sensation and thick, clumpy discharge that looks like cottage cheese or yogurt (and smells pretty sour).
- Bacterial vaginosis: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is another common vaginal infection caused by changes in pH levels in your vagina—which means there may be more bacteria living down there than usual! This can lead to white discharge that has no odor but does have a fishy smell when washed with soap or water.
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI): You might have itching, burning, and a foul-smelling discharge. Your discharge might also be thin and watery, or thick and white.
- Birth control: Birth control changes your hormone levels, which can lead to more discharge — particularly if your contraceptive contains estrogen. Pregnancy More discharge before your period is due can be an early sign of pregnancy.
What causes thick white discharge?
It is common to experience thick, white discharge at the beginning and end of your cycle. Normally, white discharge does not cause itching. Itching may indicate a yeast infection if there is thick white discharge.
Depending on where a person is in their menstrual cycle, discharge can change slightly in consistency and transparency.
There are several factors that can affect vaginal discharge’s consistency, color, and volume. Among them are:
- menstrual flow
- sexual activity
What causes thick, white, and clumpy discharge?
Thick, white, and clumpy discharge are usually a sign of a yeast infection symptoms. Vaginal discharge from yeast infections is usually white, clumpy, and smellless (or only slightly different). There might also be a creamy, whitish coating around that area.
There is often itching, burning, and/or redness in or around the vagina during yeast infections. The itching usually gets worse the longer you have the infection. It is possible to experience discomfort or pain during sexual activity. A fissure or sore may appear on your vagina or vulva in extreme cases. Peeing may sting if you have a lot of irritation.
What causes thin, milky, white discharge?
Vaginal discharge is usually thin, milky, and white.
Depending on individual circumstances, vaginal discharge can occur daily for some people, or only a few times a month for others.
The presence of thin, milky discharge is usually not a problem unless the person experiences other symptoms or the amount of discharge increases.
Vaginal discharge is usually thin and milky during pregnancy. In nearly all pregnant women, milky discharge will be experienced because of:
- The cervix produces more mucus during pregnancy
- A higher level of estrogen
- Increased blood flow to the vaginal walls
There is usually no odor to the discharge. Excess discharge may require or want to be absorbed with a pad or pantyliner.
What Causes White Discharge Before Your Period?
Leukorrhea is the medical term for the white discharge that you may see before your period. This discharge is caused by the hormone progesterone, which is produced in the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone helps to prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the level of progesterone falls, and the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation.
The amount of leukorrhea you produce may vary throughout your menstrual cycle. You may notice an increase in leukorrhea just before your period, when the level of progesterone is at its highest. Leukorrhea is usually thin, milky white, and has a mild odor. It should not be accompanied by itching or burning.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other causes, such as an infection. Leukorrhea is a normal part of the menstrual cycle and is nothing to be concerned about. However, if you are concerned about the amount or appearance of your discharge, please see your doctor.
How do I know if my discharge is normal?
A normal vaginal discharge is usually clear or milky, and may be slightly scented but not offensive. A woman’s vaginal discharge also changes during her menstrual cycle. It is natural for the color and thickness of the ovaries to change during ovulation.
An abnormal discharge can be produced by gonorrhea and chlamydia when they infect the cervix. It’s often yellow, greenish, or cloudy in color.
Chlamydia is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis, and gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. A person who has either of these STIs can pass them to you through sexual contact.
Additionally Using the birth control pill may lead to an increase in white vaginal discharge. This is because the pill can alter the delicate balance of hormones in your body, which can lead to an increase in vaginal discharge.
If you think you may have either of these STIs, it’s important to see a doctor or other medical professional as soon as possible.
Is white discharge a sign of period coming or sign of early pregnancy?
A period usually begins with a cloudy or white discharge several days before it begins. Therefore, cramps and white discharge might indicate a late period rather than pregnancy. However, if the discharge occurs alongside other early pregnancy sign symptoms, pregnancy is still possible. Always get a pregnancy test when in doubt.
It is also possible that the white discharge is caused by an infection. Infections can cause inflammation and irritation of the vaginal walls, which can lead to a discharge. An infection is likely if the discharge is accompanied by a foul odor, itching, or burning. An infection can be treated with medication prescribed by a healthcare provider.
Hormonal changes may also cause white discharge. As a result of hormonal changes, the vaginal walls can produce more discharge than usual. This is often seen in women who are pregnant or menopausal.
In the event that the white discharge persists and is bothersome, it is best to see a physician or a healthcare provider so that underlying causes can be ruled out.
What other discharge colors mean
Changes in discharge color, consistency, or odor could indicate that a person has an infection or underlying health condition.
Reddish, brown or pink discharge
A reddish-to-brown discharge is usually just old blood that’s been mixed with your cervical mucus. This can happen right before or after your period. It can also be a sign of an infection, such as endometriosis.
Yellow or green discharge
If your discharge is yellow or green, you may have a bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection. It is important to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider to determine what is causing the discharge.
If you’re concerned about your discharge, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if it’s normal or if you need treatment.
When to see a doctor
A discharge that is white, clear, and odorless is normal and should not be a cause for concern. It is important to seek medical advice if a person experiences heavy discharge or notices the volume increasing each month.
If someone experiences yellow, green, or clumpy discharge, they should consult a healthcare provider immediately.
In addition, people should consult a healthcare provider if they experience any of the following symptoms after discharge:
- a strong or bad odor
- skin darkening around the vagina
Could I Be Pregnant?
This could be wonderful news if you’re trying to conceive! Compare your symptoms to other Early Signs of Pregnancy. If you believe you might be pregnant, today’s Home Pregnancy Tests can give you a positive answer as soon as a week before your period is due. If you’re not ready to buy a pregnancy test yet, use our Due Date Calculator to figure out when you last ovulated. That will also provide you with some insight!
When should I take a pregnancy test?
The most effective time to take a pregnancy test is after your period is late – that’s when they work best. Taking a pregnancy test as soon as possible is a good idea if you missed your period or suspect you may be pregnant.
The sooner you find out you’re pregnant, the sooner you can start considering your options and get whatever care you need.
Some pregnancy tests claim to work a few days before a missed period, but the results are usually less accurate then. To determine when to take a pregnancy test and how accurate it will be, read the label on your pregnancy test.
Sometimes, a pregnancy test can detect pregnancy hormones in your urine as early as 10 days after unprotected sex. However, these results aren’t very reliable, and you might get a false positive or false negative test result.
The best time to take a pregnancy test if your periods are irregular or you don’t get periods for any reason is 3 weeks after intercourse.
Could you have early pregnancy symptoms and not be pregnant?
Yes. There are many early pregnancy symptoms that can overlap with other conditions, especially premenstrual symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms related to pregnancy, you should try to relax and wait patiently until a pregnancy test is available.
When should you see a doctor about a new pregnancy?
If you’re pregnant, how soon should you see a doctor? Make an appointment with an Ob/Gyn even if a home pregnancy test confirms you’re pregnant. You should schedule your first prenatal appointment within eight weeks of your last menstrual period (LMP), according to the American Pregnancy Association. There is no such thing as a typical pregnancy or a typical baby, even if you have been pregnant before. In order to ensure the health of you and your baby, you should follow your doctor’s advice for prenatal care, including regular appointments.
In the event that you just found out you’re pregnant, your first visit will help you and your Ob/Gyn discover things such as:
- Your due date
- Risk factors related to hereditary, health, or aging pregnancy
- The health history of your family
- Prenatal care schedule that works for you
Afterwards, you’ll determine how often you should see your doctor and how to recognize potential emergencies.
- Cribby, S., Taylor, M., & Reid, G. (2009, March 29). Vaginal microbiota and the use of probiotics. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
- How many women are affected/at risk? (2016, December 1)
- Vaginal discharge. (2013, October)
- NHS. Vaginal discharge. Online: NHS.uk, 2018
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Vaginal discharge. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
- World Health Organisation. WHO laboratory manual for the examination of human semen and sperm-cervical mucus interaction. Cambridge university press; 1999
- NHS. Vaginal discharge. Online: NHS.uk, 2018
- Bacterial vaginosis. (2018).
- Bishop G B. (1990). Clinical methods: the history, physical, and laboratory examinations. Boston: Butterworths.
- Bleeding during pregnancy. (2021).
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). (2021).
- Trichomoniasis. (2021).
- White Vaginal discharge. (2004).
- Vaginal discharge. (2013).
- Vaginal discharge. (2019).
- White Vaginal discharge. (2021).
- Vaginal yeast infections. (2019).
- What’s the cervical mucus method of FAMs? (n.d.).