#GirlTalk is SheThePeople’s advice column. Have a question? Send it to us [email protected] – It can be anonymous if you’d like it that way. Women from different walks of life share advice and their personal experience to help you overcome your own inhibitions.
Dear Girl Talk,
I saw some strange looking white fluid on my underwear yesterday. Other than anger over the fact that that stuff totally damaged my prettiest pair, I was actually a bit confused and scared too. I turned 14 only this year, and have never noticed such a discharge from my vagina before. I couldn’t bring myself to touch it because it looked too disgusting. Yet, I want to know more about what it is, because the next time it happens, I want to be prepared on how to deal with it. Is it normal? Is it healthy? Or should I be worried?
Dear Confused Liquids,
The discharge from your vagina is as common as the vagina itself, so I assure you, there is nothing to worry about. Of course, it would seem that yucky-looking, icky-feeling stuff soiling your prettiest undies is cause for concern. But believe me, you have more reason to be thankful for that stuff on your panties than for it not being there at all. Because if your vagina is expelling white, creamy semi-liquids, that is its way of giving you a thumbs up for its health.
Now that you know it’s perfectly healthy to see white discharge from your vagina, let’s understand a bit about what it is, why it comes out, when you should worry, and also signs to look out for in case you need to visit the doctor.
Vaginal discharge is nothing but waste material your vagina has no use for anymore. Dr Tanaya Narendra, a millennial doctor focused on women’s health and sexual wellness, explains it as the residue left after your vagina’s self cleanup process. “We have a nice, healthy army of good bacteria in our vaginas. They fight off infections and other things that shouldn’t be there. Think of it like this: When you clean your house, you do some mopping. But you don’t store that dirty mop water forever, do you? That’s exactly what the vagina also does.”
So basically, vaginal discharge is your vagina discarding its mop water.
What does this discharge normally look like? Essentially, it can look a number of ways, but the healthiest discharge will always fall in the colour range of light grey, to colourless, to transparent, or creamy white. The easiest way to figure it out is to check how similar it is to a raw egg white. Go ahead and touch it, it’s your bodily fluid!
The discharge should feel a little sticky to your fingers, have a transparent or whitish look to it, and be largely odourless. In and around your menstruation cycle, your discharge can even have a tinge of red or brown but don’t worry. That is just some blood leaving your vagina.
If your vaginal discharge is off these basic standards, then you may want to watch out for some signs. For instance, if you notice reddish or brownish discharge far from your period cycle, you can check in with a doctor. Sometimes, discharge that is yellow or green in colour may indicate sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, in which case consulting a doctor is a must. Also, look out for any funky “fishy” smells from your discharge, or when it causes your vagina to itch too much. Read more here.
Don’t be alarmed with your body. Embrace it. Keep it safe. The best way to do that is to keep yourself informed. Your vagina will love you for it!
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Views expressed are the author’s own.