A woman’s vaginal discharge tends to vary in color and consistency depending on the menstrual cycle stage. For instance, many women notice “white menstruation” before their actual period. What does it mean, and should it be a cause for concern? Find out here.
White menstruation, explained
When you hear women talk about white menstruation, they probably refer to the thick, whitish or yellowish vaginal discharge that occurs before their actual period.
Most ladies wouldn’t mind the discharge at all as long as they don’t experience any worrying symptoms along with it, like strong, fishy odor or severe abdominal cramping. But, what exactly is white menstruation, and why does it occur before a woman’s period?
According to experts, the discharge is called leukorrhea, and most women produce about a teaspoon of it every day. Its color and consistency depend on the more dominant hormone during the woman’s menstrual cycle.
For instance, when the hormone progesterone peaks, leukorrhea appears thicker and whitish or a little cloudy. With high estrogen levels, the discharge becomes thin, clear, watery, or stretchy.
Some women even use leukorrhea to track their fertility. Thin, watery discharge is associated with being fertile; on the other hand, thick, cloudy leukorrhea is considered infertile cervical mucus.
And it’s not surprising. After all, the discharge that women refer to as white menstruation mostly occurs before their period when they are no longer fertile.
The other causes of white discharge
As mentioned earlier, white menstruation before a woman’s period is generally not a cause of concern unless it comes with concerning symptoms. Below are the other possible reasons why you’re having “white menstruation.”
Oral contraceptive pills
Are you taking birth control pills? If you are, please note that oral contraceptive pills affect a woman’s hormonal levels, so it can also lead to white discharge.
Furthermore, women who are “on the pill” tend to observe an increase in their white discharge.
A condition that results from an imbalance in the number of bacteria in the vagina, bacterial vaginosis or BV can also cause white discharge.
However, please note that the BV discharge color varies: some women notice whitish-grey mucus, while others observe yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge.
Finally, if it’s bacterial vaginosis, you might notice that a strong, fishy odor accompanies your abnormal discharge.
Another possible reason for the occurrence of white discharge is a vaginal yeast infection. Like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection or Candidiasis also happens because there’s a microbial balance.
However, instead of bacterial overgrowth, yeast infection occurs due to an overgrowth in candida, a type of fungi naturally found in human skin.
White discharge in yeast infection often appears like “cottage cheese.” It’s white, thick, and often lumpy. However, it generally doesn’t have any smell.
And finally, “white menstruation” before the period can also be one of the early signs of pregnancy.
It’s not going to be easy to identify between normal leukorrhea and pregnancy-related white discharge. However, some women report that pregnancy-related leukorrhea usually appears “thicker” or “creamier.”
When to seek medical help
As usual as white menstruation is before your period, please still seek medical help if you experience any of these additional symptoms:
- Change in vaginal odor. If it’s a strong, fishy smell, it may indicate bacterial vaginosis.
- Change in color; it may be indicative of BV or other sexually-transmitted infections.
- Itching, pain, or burning sensation in the vagina
- Swelling or rashes (even if there’s no discharge)
It’s crucial to talk to your doctor because bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and other STIs may affect your fertility; moreover, if you’re already pregnant, they can put you and your baby at risk.
White menstruation or leukorrhea before a woman’s period is normal; in fact, women naturally produce about a teaspoon of it every day.
However, if white menstruation occurs with other symptoms such as strong vaginal odor, pain, and swelling, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor right away.
Learn more about Women’s Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.