Vaginal discharge might be a pain, but it’s mandatory for maintaining vaginal health. Your discharge is like your vagina’s personal…car wash. No, really, discharge helps clean the vagina without the help of manmade soaps or detergents (or douches!), and helps maintain a healthy PH down there. It’s also a good cheat sheet, if you will, on your vaginal health. When it starts looking or smelling funky, you know something weird is going on with your vagina.
But here’s the thing: A lot of us don’t really know what discharge is supposed to look like. We don’t really learn about discharge when we’re going over puberty units in school, and it is such a weird taboo that it’s something that you end up having to look up on your own. We’re more willing to talk about menstrual blood clots and poop than we are about vaginal discharge, f’real! A little research into discharge usually informs you on what kind of discharge is a bad sign: Chunky, cottage cheese-like discharge can be a sign of a yeast infection, fishy smelling gray discharge might signal bacterial vaginosis, and frothy green discharge could be a sign of an STD like trichomoniasis. But your vaginal discharge could be alarming, look and feel a little strange, and still be totally healthy. Check out these six signs that your vaginal discharge is normal, even if it looks funky. It’s time to breathe, okay? You might not have an infection down there at all.
It's Super StretchyIf you've never touched your discharge, you're a liar. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, have you ever noticed that your discharge is something super stretchy? Like, rubber band level stretchy. Don't panic, your vagina isn't freaking out. This is normal, even if it is super thick.
It's BrownYes, brown discharge. This isn't an indicator that your vagina is dying...or that you're somehow pooping out of your vagina. Just think about it: When is your discharge normally brown? At the end of your period, right? Right. Brown discharge after your period is just the vagina's way of cleaning itself out, and your old menstrual blood is coming along for the ride. If your menstrual blood is brownish long after your period ends, however, you should see a doctor ASAP.
It's Incredibly Thick And HeavyHere's the cold hard truth: Some people simply have thicker, heavier discharge than others. You might think that there must be something wrong with your vagina, but if your discharge isn't accompanied by any strong, unpleasant odors, itching, or burning sensations...you're all good. You just, you know, unfortunately have heavy discharge. Keep your underwear loose, go commando when you can, and avoid wearing super tight clothes all the time to relieve some of the icky sensation.
It's Weirdly CreamyThis is an indicator that your ovulation period is ending, and you might be getting your period soon. Yes, it's super uncomfortable and can make your underwear look really messy and, well, just straight up gross. But unless it's chunky and smells, you're good.
It's Slightly DiscoloredYou've probably read that having yellowish, greenish, or grayish discharge is a sign of an infection. Often, it can be, especially when it is coupled with discomfort and odor. But don't freak out just yet. If you see a yellowish stain in your underwear, don't worry, you don't necessarily have a yeast infection, dude. Dried discharge can often leave a yellowish color. Also, if you notice that your discharge isn't perfectly white or clear, that doesn't necessarily mean that your vagina is unhealthy. It's okay to have discharge that's a little cloudy or has the tiniest off-white tinge sometimes. If you're paranoid, go to the gyno for a second opinion. But otherwise? If you have no other issues, you're probably just fine.
It's Watery AFSometimes you can go about your day and feel like you straight up wet yourself. It's an awful feeling, right? But you check your undies and realize it's just discharge...really watery discharge. This is normal and is incredibly common at the beginning of ovulation. It's actually a sign that your body is fertile AF and low key wants to get pregnant. Seriously, the silky, egg-white texture of your discharge is meant to help capture sperm and bring it on up to the uterus.
Do you think there should be more information about discharge when learning about puberty in school? Tell us in the comments!