Thick White Discharge

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Since puberty, your vagina undergoes various changes. Every time you see a new kind of discharge you need to figure out what does it indicate. Thick white discharge from the vagina is the most common kind of discharge we see throughout the menstrual cycle.

The consistency of white discharge during pregnancy keeps changing, and that change along with telltale signs show the stage of the menstrual cycle.

White vaginal discharge is clear and stretchy during ovulation. Before ovulation white vaginal discharge is watery.

Cheesy white discharge shows that you have a yeast infection. Leukorrhea comes just before the period. Even before you get a positive PT you’ll have some cottage cheese discharge. A green or yellow colored vaginal discharge shows that you have an infection.

So, what does white discharge mean?

Read on, as this article will deal with thick white discharge comprehensively! ????

What is a normal vaginal discharge?

Normal vaginal discharge is around a spoonful of white fluid. It doesn’t have any smell.

A normal white vaginal discharge is clear and not like coagulated cheese.

If you have pain, itching, sore or bleeding along with white vaginal discharge, then it is not normal.

The kind of white vaginal discharge varies depending on sexual activity and use of birth control pills.

Stages of menstrual cycle also determine the kind of white vaginal discharge.

Thick White Discharge
Thick White Discharge

The vaginal mucus glands produce a white discharge. The bacteria present in the vagina also induce production of white vaginal discharge.

Similarly, brown discharge after period is normal. It is just the period blood removing from the body.

During early pregnancy pinkish brown discharge is also standard. Spotting and vaginal discharge in place of the period may be a sign that you are pregnant.

What does thick white vaginal discharge mean?

Normal discharge is white in color or creme. Thick white discharge during early pregnancy is also called Leucorrhea.

Women may see milky frothy discharge during ovulation. Changes in color, consistency, and odor of vaginal discharge are the signs of vaginal infections. It can also indicate pregnancy.

Vaginal discharge white and thick is seen during early pregnancy and continues for the first two trimesters.

Thick white sticky vaginal discharge is a sign of ovulation. Clear stretchy thick white discharge can tell the ovulation date.

Ovulation is the release of an egg by one of the ovaries. It is the time when a woman is most fertile. The egg stays in fallopian tubes for about 24 hours before becoming unviable.

Thick white vaginal discharge randomly can be because of any medications like birth control pills.

After reaching puberty thick white vaginal discharge in knickers is something so every day that you get used to it.

White thick vaginal discharge is a sign that your vagina is not getting any infections.

White thick discharge is because of the bacteria and glands present in the vagina. They ward off any harmful bacteria in vagina if any.

Causes of Thick White Discharge
Thick White Discharge Causes

Thick white discharge: Top 10 Types and their significance

1) Thick white clumpy discharge

Thick white clumpy discharge is a sign of infection. The clumped white discharge is because of shedding vaginal lining and dead bacterial cells.

Normal thick white discharge is creamy and milky. Any clumps in vaginal discharge are signs of infections. It could be because of an STD or yeast infection.

Bacterial vaginosis also causes thick white clumpy discharge.

2) Thick white gooey discharge

Milky gooey discharge is normal when accompanied with no smell. It is a sign of ovulation or pregnancy.

Some urinary tract infections also produce a thick white gooey discharge. Sexual arousal is also a cause of thick white gooey discharge.

3) Thick white creamy vaginal discharge

Thick creamy white discharge is ovulation symptom. During ovulation, the estrogen levels rise causing thick creamy discharge which is white.

It is termed as Egg White Cervical Mucus or EWCM. It is an ovulation discharge.

When you see stringy thick white discharge, then it is a sign that you may be ovulating.

4) Thick milky white discharge

Thick milky white discharge is common during the third trimester. 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, NICHD in the discussion of symptoms of vaginitis 1 mention different types of white discharge. Each of them is singularly related to a kind of infection.

According to the standards, gray green frothy discharge occurs in Trichomoniasis, milky white in BV and thick white in candidiasis.

The walls of the cervix become extremely sensitive and thus produce a lot of mucus.

It comes out as thick milky white discharge.

5) Thick white discharge with odor

Smelly thick milky discharge is because of sexually transmitted diseases.

Douching and use of scented soaps can also cause white thick discharge with odor. Vaginosis symptoms begin with the peculiarities in smell of discharge.

If you get an obnoxious smell from your thick white discharge, then do consult a doctor.

6) Thick white jelly discharge

Thick white jelly discharge occurs before ovulation. Before ovulation, your vaginal walls produce an enormous amount of white discharge.

The jelly-like white discharge can also occur when you start taking a birth control pill.

7) Thick white discharge without odor

Thick white vaginal discharge no smell is entirely normal. Having such cervical mucus is a sign of fertility.

A healthy vagina will always be wet. You won’t ever have a completely dry vagina unless there is some infection.

Office on Women’s Health 2 mentions a key difference between white discharge in bacterial vaginosis vs yeast infection.

If the discharge has smell and a gray tinge then it’s BV and a smell free cottage cheese discharge implies candidiasis.

If you get a thick white discharge without odor on 12th to 14th day of the menstrual cycle, then you are near ovulation.

8) Thick white sticky vaginal discharge

Thick white sticky discharge is because of inflammation. Irritation and burning sensation begin once your vaginal discharge changes sticky lumps.

Any infection of the vulva can cause thick sticky discharge. It is due to the inflammation of the cells present in mucus glands.

It is a defense mechanism of the body to prevent the bacteria from spreading and keep getting washed.

9) Thick white discharge then brown discharge

Is there a white discharge during pregnancy? During pregnancy, you see brown discharge. Thick and white discharge is a sign of early pregnancy.

After implantation, brown discharge is more common.

Thick white discharge then brown discharge is a confirmatory sign of pregnancy.

Thick white discharge turned brown because the old blood comes along with it. The blood during implantation bleeding might not leave the vagina.

This blood later comes along pregnancy thick white discharge.

10) Thick white discharge mixed with blood

Thick white discharge mixed with blood is not a regular occurrence. Pinkish cervical mucus indicates that you have internal bleeding.

Thus it is important that you consult a doctor to find out the reason.

10 Types of Thick Discharge [Summary]

S.No.Thick White Discharge TypeCauseCharacteristicsHealth condition - Significance
1Thick white clumpy dischargeShedding of vaginal lining & dead bacterial cellsGooey with clumps, smell, tingeInfections, STDs, Bacterial Vaginosis
2Thick white gooey dischargeSexual arousal, pregnancy hormonesBulky discharge with no smellPregnancy, after sex, post-ovulation (late)
3Thick white creamy vaginal dischargeEstrogen levels raisedEgg White stringy dischargeOvulation
4Thick milky white dischargeSensitivity of walls of cervixVelvety white mucusThird trimester stage
5Thick white discharge with odourDouching, unprotected sex, use of scented soapsMalodorous thick chalky dischargeSTDs, poor vaginal health, altered pH of vagina
6Thick white jelly dischargeBefore ovulation cervical mucus production beginsJelly white discharge, less in quantityPre-ovulation
7Thick white discharge without odourReproductive hormones estrogen, progesterone cause white dischargeStretchy mucus seen in underpants, pale color12th - 14th day of menstrual cycle ‘fertility window’
8Thick white discharge then brown dischargeOld blood coming along with cervical mucusBlood clots with mucusImplantation, Early pregnancy
9Thick sticky white vaginal dischargeInflammation of vulva, washing bacteriaWatery fluid along with dischargeBacterial invasion, immune response
10Thick white discharge mixed with bloodInternal active bleedingPink tinge in normal white dischargeInternal hemorrhage

Thick white discharge Before Period

Thick white discharge before period on the 14th day of the cycle is undoubtedly because of ovulation.

However, if you missed a period and white thick discharge occurs then it can be that you are pregnant.

Thick white discharge right before the period is an early pregnancy symptom.

Problems in vaginal discharge in young girls 3 could be sign of STD.

Reasons for thick white discharge late period but a negative pregnancy test

  1. Low levels of hCG hormone produced by the placenta
  2. Using a dilute sample of urine for taking the pregnancy test
  3. Tubal pregnancy
  4. Perimenopause
  5. High levels of stress
  6. Diseases such as PCOD and PCOS
  7. Weight fluctuations
  8. Thyroid diseases
  9. Urinary tract infections
  10. Illness
  11. Diabetes and celiac diseases
  12. Birth control pills
  13. Disturbance in the biological clock

All the above are the reason behind white discharge and late period but a negative pregnancy test conditions.

What does white discharge after period mean?

Thick and white discharge right after period might have a slightly brown tinge. It is nothing but old blood which is common and typical.

It could also be that simultaneously the next egg is maturing.

Thick white discharge during pregnancy

Thick white vaginal discharge during early pregnancy

Vaginal discharge which is thick and white is a sign that you are pregnant. It is because the uterus is preparing for sustaining the pregnancy.

As the estrogen levels rise, you get white vaginal discharge early during pregnancy.

Is white vaginal discharge sign of pregnancy?

Yes, white vaginal discharge is a sign of pregnancy. If you get a thick white discharge and no period then you may be pregnant.

Thick white discharge during pregnancy in the third trimester

During the last trimester, white thick discharge is a sign that you are near labor.

Thick white discharge in the 9th month is also seen before water leaking.  You may even mistake a discharge during the last month of pregnancy as water breaking.

A lot of hormones start circulating in your body during the 9th month. They are exclusively pregnancy and labor hormones. Your body adjusts to them with time.

A Thickish white discharge before labor is the onset of pregnant water breaking. The rupture of membranes causes a white thick discharge and labor.

Once you feel cramps during the third trimester, do consult with your doctor.

Thick white discharge during ovulation

Ovulation is the main reason for thick and white discharge mid-cycle. A discharge after ovulation is for making sex more effective for pregnancy.

It is nature’s way of assisting your pregnancy. Nature favors procreation.

White thick discharge after ovulation (two days after ovulation) is a sign that now the egg is no longer viable and your fertile window ended.

Thick white discharge causes

The reasons for the discharge can be many from ovulation to STD. Only an expert can make a precise diagnosis of the cause of thick white discharge.

If white thick discharge with itching is something you are going through, then you need to consult a doctor.

Similarly,  white thick discharge with cramps is a sign of ovulation. Itching and pus along with thick white vaginal discharge is a sign of vaginal infection.

Thick white discharge is a mix of mucus and cells.

17 Major Causes of thick white discharge

  1. Pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy and normal pregnancy cause white & thick discharge. White thick discharge is common during early pregnancy.
  2. Ovulation: Ovulation, as discussed above, is the primary cause of thick whitish discharge.
  3. Atrophic Vaginitis: An Atrophic vaginitis is a post-menopausal event. The walls of the vagina become extremely thin and shed. It is because of declining estrogen levels. Estrogen is essential for the formation of vaginal walls. After menopause, all female hormones reduce in amount. The thinning of vaginal walls causes white thick discharge.
  4. Cervicitis: Inflammation of cervix due to bacterial or viral infection causes cervicitis. During cervicitis, the healthy cells start producing a lot of thick white discharge. It is primarily to reduce the inflammation.
  5. Menopause: After menopause, white thick discharge makes it extremely difficult for sperms to travel. When a woman reaches menopause, she stops getting period and thus produces a lot of thick white discharge.
  6. Cervical Dysplasia: Cervical Dysplasia is the healthy cells of cervix dividing abnormally. During cervical dysplasia thick white discharge increases because of the rise in the number of cells. Consulting a doctor is essential.
  7. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Any inflammatory disease can cause excessive white discharge production because your body is trying to ward off the harmful pathogens by washing them away.
  8. Endometrial cancer: Cancer of the uterus is an abnormal division of cells. It leads to a white gooey discharge. The cervix swells, and you might experience bleeding at different times. Endometrial cancer is associated with a lot of pain and an irregular period.
  9. Stress: Stress reduces the immunity and makes you prone to infections. Infections cause thick white discharge with odor. Also when you are under stress, your body produces a lot of hormones that may affect your reproductive organs.
  10. Bacterial vaginosis: During bacterial vaginosis, the vagina pH gets altered. The harmful bacteria outgrow the healthy microbial growth in the vagina. Thick clumpy white discharge is one of the unusual symptoms of bacterial vaginosis.
  11. Urethritis: Thick and white discharge UTI is another critical symptom. Any urinary tract infection causes thick white discharge. Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra. It is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the urinary opening.
  12. PCOS: PCOS is an abbreviation of PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome. Cysts are mass of undifferentiated cells that clog reproductive pathways. A woman suffering from PCOS may produce a thickish white discharge. As there are cysts on ovaries, the ovulation process becomes irregular, and thus the symptoms are evident randomly.
  13. Yeast infection: Creamy white discharge with no odor is common. Thick white discharge yeast smell makes it noticeable. The foul odor of thick cheesy white discharge during yeast infection is a sign for diagnosis. Thick white discharge with yellow tint is another sign of thrush. Vaginal thrush is the outbreak of yeast in the vagina. 

    Centre For Disease Control and Prevention post about Candidiasis 4 mentions thick cottage cheese discharge as a characteristic sign of candidiasis.

  14. Chlamydia: Chlamydia can also transfer through sexual contact. The symptoms include urethritis, epididymitis, and cervicitis. The fallopian tubes get inflammation, and you may experience rectal bleeding with mucus. It is also a symptom of Chlamydia. It can pass on the fetus from an infected mother.
  15. Herpes: Herpes is a viral infection. Symptoms of Genital Herpes include itching, pain, and vaginal discharge. Urethral discharge also occurs during Herpes infection. Thick white discharge yellow or green tint is a sign of STD.
  16. Gonorrhoea: Thick white discharge STD has a green or yellow color. If your normal thick white discharge gets a green or yellow color, then you can be having Gonorrhea. It can pass on to children and cause arthritis in them. Thick white vaginal discharge with pus is a sign of Gonorrhea. The genitalia becomes sore, and there is burning during urination.
  17. Vaginal Douching: BMC’s Women Health Journal 5 has compiled a detailed study of how vaginal douching affects discharge, pH and genital health.

    Whatever be the reasons for doing it aesthetic or religious beliefs douching causes infections. These inflammatory reactions form thick cheesy mucus which you see coming from cervical os.
  18. Clomid: Clomid is a fertility drug given to induce ovulation. A woman undergoing fertility treatment takes Clomid. Thick white discharge Clomid is predictable. An ovulation-inducing drug will undoubtedly cause ovulation symptoms.
Rebecca G Kinney MD, on the National STD curriculum 6 highlights numerous worrying cause of thick white discharge. They include lichen sclerosis, herpes infection, and cervicitis.
17 Major Causes of Thick White Discharge
17 Major Causes of Thick White Discharge

Thick white discharge after sex

Some women might experience a significant amount of discharge after sex which is completely healthy and essential.

Thick white discharge after sex can be because of many reasons. White creamy discharge lubricates the walls of the vagina for smooth sexual intercourse.

It is difficult to have sex when your vagina is dry.

Reasons for discharge after sex:

  1. Sexual arousal: In the state of sexual excitement the vaginal mucus glands start exuding a lot of lubricating discharge. The creamy white discharge is also a sign that you might achieve orgasm.
  2. Male ejaculate or semen: Your partner produces creamy white fluid (precum, semen) during sex. You can mistake his ejaculate as white discharge.
  3. Cervical mucus: During sex, your cervix produces milky discharge to ensure that the walls don’t rub hard. If the walls rub, they may bleed.  If vaginal lubrication doesn’t occur naturally, then you need to use oils and crèmes.
  4. Female ejaculate: During orgasm, your vaginal glands will eject a white discharge. The thick white discharge is a sign that you achieved the peak of sexual excitement – orgasm!

When to see a doctor the about thick white vaginal discharge?

Thick white vaginal discharge is completely normal if it is odorless and colorless.

If you see any change in color of vaginal discharge, then consult a doctor.

Azole antifungal drugs 7 may cross react with co-administered meds. Always get a gynecological examination before taking a prescription. Ongoing debates about efficacy of speculum examination for diagnosis of vaginal bleeding and discharge are unresolved.

Signs to see a doctor about vaginal discharge:

  • Itching and pus along with thick white discharge
  • Burning sensation when you pee
  • Sores and rashes
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Smelly thick white discharge

Treatment For Thick white discharge

As thick white vaginal discharge is healthy, there are no treatments needed.

Nevertheless, if you have vaginal infections, your doctor will give you vaginal crèmes which have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Vaginal suppositories need to be placed inside the vagina and thus prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

For treating abnormal thick white discharge Micazole Nitrate vaginal cremes are effective. There are certain precautions by the FDA that you need to take while using such vaginal antifungal cremes 8.

Such vaginal cremes are pumped using applicators in the vagina for overnight action. Treatment duration can be up to 7 days and is safe for adolescents too.

Thick White Discharge Home Remedies

Home remedy for white discharge includes maintaining hygiene:

  • Do not douche and avoid the use of progesterone crèmes in excess.
  • Use pH neutral soaps and avoid wipes. Always practice safe sex.
  • Visit your gynecologist once every six months even if you are entirely normal.

White vaginal discharge might increase during different stages. One can wear liners, disposable panties or tampons to avoid feeling wet. Make sure you don’t get the extra absorbent tampons. Wearing them for thick white mucus dehydrates the vagina. They are only for heavy flow period days.

Some amount of mucus is essential for vagina unless you want a camel toe in Thar dessert😉.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vaginitis/conditioninfo/symptoms
  2. https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/pregnancy-complications
  3. https://www.girlshealth.gov/body/reproductive/infections.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html
  5. https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6874-13-23
  6. https://www.std.uw.edu/go/syndrome-based/vaginal-discharge/core-concept/all
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19361301
  8. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fda/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?setid=9fc3df65-c441-44ab-aaac-f63b565ca2f5

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