Clear Jelly-like Discharge
If you have clear jelly-like discharge from your vagina, it’s very reasonable to feel a bit of anxiety. In fact, unless you already knew everything about it, we’d be surprised if you weren’t a bit anxious. It’s okay, just take a deep breath and relax, there’s probably nothing wrong with you and everything is normal. Even if there is something amiss, it’s easily treatable.
Clear Jelly Like Discharge Is Normal
Clear jelly-like discharge is called fertile, or ovulation, mucus and occurs at the midpoint of the ovulation cycle. It is usually a thin, stretchy, clear discharge very similar to egg whites. While there is regular discharge from the vaginal region, it changes over the course of the menstruation period. At the beginning of a cycle, there is a period of no discharge at all. This dry period can last from 4 to 7 days, as the body prepares to ovulate a wet discharge, is normal. The first discharge is generally scant, white and clumpy. It will hold its shape and feel quite sticky. As the body’s oestrogen levels rise, this discharge will start to thin out and become thinner, slightly cloudier and more pliable. Discharge will continue to thin and become less and less cloudy until the peak ovulation day. On this day, the discharge will be clear and jelly-like (like an egg white). Immediately after the peak day, discharge will become much less evident and much thicker like the discharge at the beginning of the cycle. This is due to the release of progesterone into the system. The progesterone helps clot up the vaginal region and prevents sperm from entering the region in the event that pregnancy has occurred.
This cycle has been well known for centuries and has been used as a way to determine the best days to try to conceive. In fact, fertile mucus actually helps prolong the life of sperm cells. It provides them nourishment and allows them to swim into the cervix region unimpeded. In the presence of fertile mucus, sperm can live from three to five days (in some cases even longer).
If you are in mid-cycle and are experiencing clear jelly-like discharge, it is completely normal. In fact, it can help you decide whether or not to take extra precautions during intercourse. The chances of becoming pregnant are significantly higher during periods when ovulation mucus is present. In addition to being a sign that you are fertile, if you are already pregnant, a clear discharge is often a normal sign of your changing internal body chemistry.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
If you are not in mid-cycle, the other major cause of a clear jelly-like discharge is a bacterial infection. While there is always bacteria in the vaginal region, most of it is “good” bacteria that helps maintain a balance in the area and keep the “bad” bacteria from propagating. When this balance is thrown off, a mild infection can occur. This infection, called bacterial vaginosis, presents with the aforementioned discharge and an itchy or burning sensation.
Although there is no one definite cause of bacterial vaginosis, experts believe that there are certain activities that can promote unbalanced conditions in the vagina. These include having multiple sexual partners, smoking and douching.
The main difference between this clear discharge and that of normal fertile mucus is that there is a distinctive “fishy” smell. This smell often becomes more pronounced after sexual intercourse. While this is a common symptom, almost half of all women who have bacterial vaginosis don’t notice the symptoms.
If you suspect that you may have a bacterial infection, it is recommended that you see your doctor and undergo STD testing. Although bacterial vaginosis is not linked to any venereal disease, it is always a good practice to make sure that there are no other lingering issues. It’s also important to see a doctor if you are pregnant because bacterial vaginosis can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage or early delivery. It can also lead to a uterine infection after pregnancy. Even if you’re not pregnant, the presence of bacterial vaginosis can indicate a higher risk for pelvic infection in certain cases and indicates a heightened risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease from an infected partner.
If your doctor determines that you do have a bacterial infection, there’s nothing to worry about. The standard treatments are either a regimen of antibiotic pills that need to be taken for 5 to 7 days or an insertable ovule that is inserted into the vagina for the same period of time. Most symptoms will clear up in 2 to 3 days, but the entire dosage should be taken to prevent the infection from returning.
After treatment with antibiotics, there is a higher risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection. If you notice any itching, redness or a lumpy, white discharge after you’ve completed the antibiotic, you should return to your doctor to get treatment.
Changes in Discharge
If you initially had a clear jelly-like discharge but it has since changed in color and odor, it may be a sign that you have a different type of infection. Vulvovaginitis, an inflammatory infection of the vulva, can be caused by viruses, bacteria and yeast. While bacterial vaginosis is generally benign, vulvovaginitis is often associated with sexually transmitted diseases, chemical irritation and poor hygiene and should be brought to the attention of your doctor immediately.
Gonorrhea is another possible cause of vaginal discharge, although it is rarely clear. It usually has a greenish-yellow tint and is accompanied by a strong odor. If your discharge started out clear and turned yellow or green, this might be the cause. Seek medical attention for this as soon as possible.
Cervicitis is the other potential cause of clear discharge is a cervical inflammation. If your discharge is accompanied by a distinct, foul odor, increased and painful urination or an increase in spotting between periods, this may be the case.