A few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook, where people were sharing a post of female underwear that had a change of colour. Obviously, this was done to ridicule and spread the assumption that if your underwear has discolouring, you are unhygienic.
What upsets me the most is that females were also sharing this, knowing very well that it is not a matter of hygiene, but a natural consequence because of your vagina. Part of me doesn’t blame them, because the expectations placed upon women by society are way too many, and having ‘clean underwear and/or a vagina’ is somewhat a priority.
Forbid the gods that you have stained underwear. However, I am here to inform the people at the back that if your underwear doesn’t have discharge or change of colour, then you need to visit a gynaecologist. Your vagina is self-cleaning and acidic, which means, it will always remove a discharge, and the type of discharge depends on where your cycle is. As such, this article is based on the different types of vaginal discharges and what they mean for you as a woman. So, depending on where you are in your cycle, the discharge will have a different colour. From day 1-5, which is at the beginning of your cycle, the discharge is usually red or bloody, as this is the time the body sheds the uterine lining. This then indicates menstruation. However, if it is not the time for your menstruation, then you need to check it out, because it could be an indication of cervical infection and/or endometrial infection. On days 6-14, which are after your period, you may notice less vaginal discharge than usual. As the egg starts to develop and mature, the cervical mucus will become cloudy and white or yellow. It may even feel sticky.
White discharge is often a healthy discharge; yet, it could also be a yeast infection. So, if the discharge comes with irritability, please do visit a doctor. If the discharge is yellow and/or green, this could mean it is a sign of a sexually transmitted infection.
So, you definitely need to see your doctor. From day 14-25, this would be a few days before ovulation; the mucus will be thin and slippery, similar to the consistency of egg whites. After ovulation, the mucus will go back to being cloudy, white or yellow, and possibly sticky and or tacky. If your discharge is clear and thin, it is a healthy discharge. However, it could also mean pregnancy or hormonal imbalances. Lastly, on days 25-28, the cervical mucus will lighten, and you will see less of it before getting another period. There are other discharges that you need to be on the lookout for: if the discharge is pink, this may be a sign of cervical bleeding, vaginal irritation and/or implantation bleeding. Thus, it is important for you to visit a doctor. If the discharge is grey, then this could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis.
It is of paramount importance to remember that your vagina is self-cleansing. You do not need to use products to clean it nor shove in objects that you believe will clean it.
Rinse the outside of your vagina with lukewarm water, eat your fruits and plain yoghurt with pineapple, and visit your doctor if you see a change of discharge.
*Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation. - firstname.lastname@example.org