Egg white vaginal discharge: what does it mean? Your cervical mucus, or discharge, changes throughout the menstrual cycle. It is a very good indicator, for those who know how to interpret the signs, of where you are in your cycle. It also shows when are you about to ovulate and wheter you are therefore at your most fertile. Many people consider it an even better indicator of your fertile window than the basal temperature method.
In this IVI article, we explain what egg white discharge is. How does it differ from a milky discharge or white mucus? How reading the signals your body produces can help you. What does egg white vaginal discharge mean? It’s not a reliable indicator that you are pregnant. But the good news is that if you’re trying to conceive, it could mean that you soon will be. If you’re trying to get pregnant, egg white discharge means that it’s a good time to have sex.
What are the types of vaginal discharge?
In the past some people have considered vaginal discharge a hygiene problem. However, that is far from the case. It is an essential part of your health and fertility. It’s the body’s way of lubricating, cleaning, and protecting your vagina and uterus. When the time is right for conception, it helps sperm to survive and travel towards their target. At other times of the month, your vaginal discharge prevents any potentially harmful organisms from getting in.
During a standard 28-day cycle, you are likely to encounter different types of discharge:
- Days 1 to about 5 are when you have your period.
- On days 6 and 7, the discharge will be quite dry and powdery.
- It becomes sticky on days 8 and 9, and then creamier on days 10 and 11.
- Days 11, 12 and 13 are the time when you can expect your vaginal discharge to become clear and stretchy, something like the consistency of an egg white.
- Day 14, in a regular 28-day cycle, is when you will ovulate.
- On days 15 and 16, you could still be fertile, and your discharge will remain clear or creamy.
- For the rest of your cycle, after the ‘fertile window’ has passed, discharge will be minimal and quite dry.
Don’t worry if your cycle does not follow this pattern absolutely. All women are different and variations in the length of parts of the menstrual cycle and the cycle itself are completely natural.
What is the role of egg white vagimal discharge?
You can see from the pattern above that an egg white vaginal discharge is strongly associated with the days leading up to ovulation. Why is this? It’s because it has a definite and beneficial role to play in your fertility. Its purpose is to provide a protective and helpful environment for sperm, helping them to survive what can at other times be an acidic and hostile climate inside your vagina. It makes it easier for sperm to swim up the vaginal canal, through the cervix and into the uterus. You can see that it’s a very important aspect of fertility. But how does your body know when to do this?
The answer, as with many issues to do with fertility, is in your hormones. Estrogen is the main trigger for an egg white discharge. If you are low on this hormone, it’s possible that you won’t have any, or not so much, of this fertile-quality mucus. The signal for your ovaries to release an egg is the primary effect of the estrogen surge, but it has other impacts as well. For example, as we have already seen, it is also the trigger for an increase in the type of mucus that is helpful to sperm in their mission to fertilize the egg. Other effects include:
- Your cervix moves higher, becomes softer, and opens. When you are not fertile, as in the second half of your menstrual cycle, it is lower, harder, and closed.
- Body temperature increases at the time of ovulation. Therefore monitoring body temperature is one way of knowing that ovulation has taken place.
- Mood changes triggered by your changing hormonal balance include increased libido around the time of ovulation – all designed by mother nature to encourage you to have sex at the time when it’s most likely to result in conception.
What if I don’t have this type of vaginal discharge?
There is no cause for concern if your cycle doesn’t follow the textbook 28-day pattern, or if the changes in your vaginal discharge do not exactly follow the sequence that we have described. For example, your fertile phase when you have egg-white discharge may only last for a day or so rather than two or three days, or it might have a consistency that is wet and slippery but not quite like the consistency of egg white. All of this is normal.
Not everyone has this egg white vaginal discharge. This is not necessarily a problem, and many people conceive successfully without it. However, it could signal a problem with your fertility. This is because, in the absence of the type of mucus that encourages sperm, you may be ovulating each month but producing mucus which is not sperm-friendly. This makes it more difficult for sperm to survive and reach the egg. If this is your situation, it’s worth talking to a fertility specialist for advice. This could be as simple as reviewing any prescription medication you are on to check whether it is preventing the production of sperm-friendly mucus, drinking more water to ensure you are well hydrated, or asking for advice about lubricants which are water-based and non-spermicidal.
Finding about more about vaginal discharge
You can read more about the signs of high fertility or the causes of female infertility in our IVI blog articles, or check what a brown discharge means. If you have concerns about your fertility and need to get some professional advice, just get in touch with us as IVI.