Two days ago, I got an email from one of my readers asking if it is normal to have white discharge after period. She was bothered because she has not experienced it before, and it seems easily noticeable.
She is from the UK and is 19 years old. So, is white discharge after your period abnormal? What does it mean if you experience a whitish discharge after your period?
First of all, all types of vaginal discharge have their significance. But if it is whitish, it is very unlikely that you have any problem down there.
Having said that, whitish vaginal discharge could result from different kinds of vaginal infections. These infections may not always be sexually transmitted and could be caused by poor vaginal care.
If you’ve been involved in unprotected sexual intercourse with one or more sexual partners, then your whitish discharge could signify a possible sexually transmitted infection.
But don’t panic. Most ladies get discharge from time to time. In most of these cases its due to the influence of hormones on your menstrual cycle.
That is, your hormone could make your discharge look a little excessive and thick. It could also make you have a white watery discharge.
Whatever the case, it is not something you should be anxious about as you do not need any treatment.
I have compiled the possible reasons why you have a whitish discharge after your period and when you should see a doctor.
Why do you have white discharge in the first place?
As earlier mentioned, most ladies have come to terms with their vaginal discharge. They know it is a normal part of their menstrual cycle.
So, if you’ve unexpectedly noticed whitish kind of discharge from your vagina, you need not worry.
Vaginal discharge is produced by your cervical glands that are located at the upper part of your vagina.
This mucus comes down from the cervix and picks up other kinds of cell in the vagina. Also, dirty particles are also being removed by the cervical mucus.
In the end, the vaginal discharge plays a critical role always to keep your vaginal canal healthy, clean, and free of infections.
Mostly, this happens because of a special type of vaginal bacteria called lactobacilli. This bacteria is the main reason you don’t get infections now and then
It protects the vaginal by keeping it acidic through the production of hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid.
For most women who experience a smelly vagina after a period, it happens because these good bacteria are killed (more on that later).
What causes white discharge after period?
If you have whitish looking discharge after your period, here are the most common causes
1. Normal vaginal discharge
Yes, most whitish vaginal discharge is normal. In fact, you do not need any treatment. Most women will experience some form of release of vaginal discharge about a teaspoon daily.
This means if you experience a whitish discharge at any time of your menstrual cycle, it is normal.
Are you still confused? Let me explain. There are numerous hormones that play a critical role in your menstrual cycle
Your menstrual cycle is the timeline between 2 of your menstrual period. Between this time, Your body prepares your ovaries for ovulation, triggers ovulation, prepares the uterus for your next period, and then triggers your next period.
All these happen because of the influence of hormones.
At the beginning of your menstrual cycle, just after the end of your period, you may experience a vaginal drought. That is, you only see a little amount of discharge. And later on, as estrogen begins to rise in the first part of the menstrual cycle, you will notice an excessive white discharge after your period.
Usually, towards ovulation, excessive stretchy white discharge after period is normal and physiologic (more on that in a minute).
Towards your next period, there is a spike in the levels of progesterone. This hormone acts to make you discharge look a little bit thick, creamy or milky. This is also normal.
2. You may be pregnant
This may sound strange, right? How could you be pregnant after having your period?
An excessive clear discharge after your period may actually be due to pregnancy. This could happen if you’ve mistaken implantation bleeding for your period.
Implantation bleeding is not period. In fact, it does not look like one. But, as expected, a lot of women may not have any idea of what it looks like.
Implantation bleeding happens when you get pregnant. As the fertilized ovum burrows into your womb and settles there, there is a small leak of blood. This bleeding may be confused as period.
Implantation bleeding is more like light vaginal bleeding. It is light and only lasts for a few days.
So, is your white discharge after a period a sign of pregnancy? Here are a few questions to consider
How long did your period last?
The duration of your period will confirm if it is implantation bleeding or your period. If it only lasts for one or two days, it could be implantation bleeding. Nevertheless, there are other causes of a short period; you can read more about it here.
On the other hand, if your period lasts for about three to seven days with normal flow, then you likely had your period. A simple way to differentiate both is if you used a sanitary pad for your period. If you did and it got soaked at any time, that’s your period
Did you have unprotected intercourse recently?
It is more like a rule. You cannot get pregnant without having unprotected sex. So, if you’ve not had intercourse, then that’s your period. If you did, it may or may not be your period.
Usually, if you are pregnant, there are other signs that you should experience by now. They are breast tenderness and pain, back pain, vomiting, nausea, mood swing, increased whitish discharge than usual and lower belly cramps.
If you have these symptoms, you could be pregnant. The only way to confirm is through a pregnancy test. So, take one, especially if you are having signs of pregnancy.
3. You are possibly ovulating
Another possible reason for a whitish discharge after your period is ovulation.
Ovulation is the release of an egg from your ovaries. If you’ve just heard the term ovulation, it is nothing new to your body. If you’ve regularly been menstruating for months or years now, it means you’ve silently been ovulating.
Most times, it is easy to miss the signs of ovulation. One of those signs is a whitish discharge after your period.
As mentioned earlier on, towards ovulation, there are hormonal changes that cause your vagina to discharge more. Specifically, this happens because of elevated estrogen levels.
So, how can you tell your whitish vaginal mucus is due to ovulation?
Though your body hormones may be too complex to understand, you can still tell when you will ovulate in your menstrual cycle.
Most ladies with a textbook 28-day cycle will ovulate around day 14. This means, if you get whitish discharge a week after the end of your period, it is likely due to ovulation.
What does ovulation discharge look like?
Ovulation discharge has its characteristics. It happens a week after period and is slimy, threadlike, stretchy, excessive, and watery to feel. If you get this type of discharge, don’t panic. You’re ovulating and need no treatment.
4. During or after intercourse
If you are no longer a virgin and involve in all types of vaginal stimulation, you should get an excessive looking vaginal discharge during the act. This discharge looks whitish and has a mild odor.
It is not abnormal and happens naturally as your body gets aroused.
5. You could have a yeast infection
Yeast infection can be terrible. And if you currently have the infection, you will have white discharge.
White discharge due to a yeast infection is clumpy and thick, often described as a cottage cheese discharge. Other signs of a yeast infection are vulva and vaginal burning sensation, vaginal itching, pain during sexual activity, dysuria or painful urination, and sore in the outside of the vagina.
If you get these symptoms, it is likely you have a yeast infection. You can read this guide to learn the causes and treatment of yeast infection.
5. You have sexually transmitted infections
Your white discharge could also mean you have an STD. Common STDs are chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections.
So, how can you tell Its an STD?
- Your vaginal discharge may look greenish or yellowish
- You may have a pain in your lower abdomen and back
- You will have difficulty passing uring with an often burning sensation
- If you are trying to conceive, you may find it hard to get pregnant
- Your vulvar will itch more and more
- Other signs are fever, vomiting, painful intercourse, and bleeding after intercourse.
How to prevent an abnormal white discharge after period
Abnormal white discharge after period happens because of vaginal infections. Here are ways to avoid these kinds of infection in the first place.
- Stay away from synthetic panties as they tend to increase your chances of developing infections down there. Instead, use a cotton pant and let your vaginal have a lot of air.
- Don’t wash your vaginal area with soap or spray perfumes in and around the vagina. The vagina is self-cleaning, so let it do its work. If you do, you increase your chances f several types of vaginal infections.
- Stay away from multiple sexual partners or Abstain completely. Having intercourse regularly with people with infections can cause an abnormal kind of discharge.
- Stay away from long term antibiotics and steroids as this can increase your chances of a yeast infection. If you must take medications, inform your doctor.
- Improve your hygiene. Take your bath at least twice a day.
Are you worried about your discharge after period? You could let us know.