Vulvasations is a Tempest Love exclusive series dedicated to spreading awareness about the female reproductive system, debunking myths about periods and dissecting everything vajayjay related. Let’s talk about vaginas!

For people with vaginas, our monthly guest is not the only thing we have to worry about, There is the lesser-spoken about cousin, discharge, which comes even more frequently. Yet, there’s still so much we don’t know about our discharge and it often isn’t open for discussion. Discharge is still an uncomfortable topic that we don’t share our experiences about.

This shouldn’t be the case because just like out periods, it is an often normal biological function. So what exactly is the purpose of discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a way for your body to clean the vagina. The fluid is secreted by glands inside the vagina and cervix which carry away dead cells and bacteria. Thereby, preventing infections.  

The amount and odor of it can vary from person to person. Before ovulation, an increased amount of discharge may be produced. It is also more watery and elastic during this phase. 

However, you may want to take careful note of the color of your discharge as it can indicate changes in your vaginal health. Remember to consult a doctor if you have any concerns regarding the color.

White discharge is common at the beginning and end of your cycle. It acts as a natural lubricant to keep your vaginal tissue healthy and to reduce friction during sex.

However, if it is accompanied by itching, a cottage cheese consistency, and a strong smell, you may have a yeast infection. 

Clear discharge can be stretchy or watery. Clear, stretchy discharge is actually mucus released at the time of ovulation. Clear, watery mucus can appear at different times in your cycle and may be heavier after exercise. 

Yellow or green discharge may indicate a bacterial or sexually-transmitted infection, especially if it is thick and clumpy, with a bad odor. Some have stated that eating certain foods or taking new vitamins produces a light yellow color.

Although, a pale yellow color without any symptoms shouldn’t be of concern.

Pink discharge can be a sign of the beginning of your cycle, but other times it can be a more serious health issue. Some people experience light bleeding after sex, leading to this color. It may also be a sign of implantation bleeding.

Brown discharge happens right after your period as your vagina is cleaning out residual blood. Spotting blood or a brown color may occur when you are ovulating or mid-cycle.

Some people experience spotting as irregular periods. Other times spotting may have to do with hormonal changes or birth control methods.

Sometimes in early pregnancy, you may experience this at the time of your normal period. If a red discharge is seen throughout the month, it may indicate an infection. 

Gray discharge is not healthy and usually is a symptom of a common bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms include irritation, itching, a strong odor, and redness around the vulva. 

You may also be wondering why it bleaches your underwear. Vaginal discharge is naturally acidic – ranging from pH levels between 3.5 and 7. When it gets into contact with air, it oxidates and stains underwear a mild yellow color. This is completely normal.

Discharge should be something we are all comfortable talking about because when it’s out of balance it could indicate a more serious health problem.

The more we openly talk about our experiences, the more we can help others detect danger ahead of time.

So let’s actively work to dispel all the myths surrounding our vaginas, so that we can learn to appreciate and give it the proper care it deserves. 

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  • Tamia Adolph

    Tamia Adolph is a writer and journalist, who writes poetry and fiction writing under the pseudonym, Imogene Mist. She is the founder of a mental health awareness organization called #MeTooButImStillHere, which aims to advocate for mental illness in Africa. She holds a BA in Journalism and BA (Honours) in English Literature. Currently, she is completing her Masters in English Literature. Her passions include musicals, environmentalism, and all forms of art.