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How to Explain the Nature of Thick White Discharge: Physiology & Medical Conditions

Thick white discharge

Almost all women at different periods of their life experience vaginal discharge that can acquire different colors, consistence, odour and the amount excreted. Thick white discharge in particular worries ladies of different ages as not many of us can really tell the normal whites from the pathological vaginal discharge that indicates an infection and intrudes into a woman’s reproductive system. Let’s consider what white discharge may mean in your situation.

What Causes White Discharge?

Cervical mucus is continually secreted by the glands of a woman’s healthy cervix, thereby renewing the mucous membrane of the femal genital tract, moistening the vaginal walls and maintaining the normal vaginal microflora. Changes in the nature of vaginal discharge depend on hormonal changes in the body but sometimes can be an indication of a possible infection or irritant.

When Can Your Discharge Be Considered Normal?

  • Many sources consider a woman’s white discharge as a pathological vaginal discharge, though this is not quite correct. Such interpretation may mislead some ladies and make them worry unnecessarily. Vaginal discharge is a secretion from different parts of a woman’s reproductive system. During one menstrual period, the discharge may change not only in amount but also in the way it looks. Immediately right after a woman’s period, the color of the white discharge is milky light. Later, nearer to ovulation, the quantity of vaginal discharge increases and its color becomes clear, and looks like egg whites. By the end of the cycle, the white discharge becomes thick and opaque. Many women do not know the normal quantity of a vaginal white discharge. It has been estimated that a healthy woman secretes about 335 mg of white discharge. This amount is usually bigger for young girls and women before their period and right after it, as well as during pregnancy and after delivery.
  • Abundant thick white discharge, sometimes with a foul odor may occur right after sex or on the second day after sexual intercourse. This may be associated with the self-cleansing of sperm from the vagina if your sex was unprotected and the man ejaculated inside your vagina. In this case, such excretions are supposed to be over very soon.


Read also: White discharge in women: what does it mean?


Thick White Discharge During Pregnancy

  • In the first 12-13 weeks of pregnancy, changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone provoke abundant thick white discharge. After the 13th week of pregnancy estrogen wins, bringing back a more liquid consistence to your vaginal discharge.
  • By the end of pregnancy, a woman may notice that her discharge has become quite viscous and whitish. That is the norm, and if you don’t experience any discomfort, then you shouldn’t worry. However, to be on the safe side, you must tell your gynecologist exactly any changes you are experiencing.

When Does Thick White Discharge Become a Valid Reason to Worry?

  • Abundant thick white discharge looks like cottage cheese, has foul odor and is often accompanied by severe itching and can indicate thrush,. Additional symptoms may include vulvar edema and vulvar lips reddening. Thrush is known for its tendency to reoccur, and that’s why even after you are through with your treatment, you may still have thick white discharge periodically, whenever there are favorable conditions for propagation of the fungus that causes thrush. Such favorable conditions include pregnancy, sugar diabetes, usage of hormonal contraception, antibiotic therapy, wearing synthetic underwear and tight clothes. The fungi can also be transmitted between sexual partners during any kind of sexual contact.
  • Thick white pus-like discharge with foul odor and sometimes blood admixture is typical in women with vaginitis. In other cases, this condition is characterized by liquid and watery discharge. Acute inflammation is accompanied by itching and a burning sensation in the genital area.
  • Pus-like white (grey, greenish) discharge is also a frequent symptom of such infections as trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia. As a rule, additional symptoms of these infections include itching and discomfort in the genital area. Pus-like discharge is often accompanied by lower abdominal pain or back pain.

Many women exhaust themselves worrying about whether their thick white discharge is normal or a sign of infection. It is certainly important to widen the knowledge about one’s physiology. However, the best way to address these issues and set your mind at ease is to see a qualified gynecologist.