Have you ever noticed white discharge or clear mucus in your undies throughout your menstrual cycle? Nope it’s not thrush, meet your cervical mucus!
Cervical mucus is a normal, healthy part of having ovulatory menstrual cycles. Cervical mucus is produced by glands within the cervix called cervical crypts. Each menstrual cycle, these glands get stimulated by oestrogen in the lead up to ovulation.
Estrogen signals to these glands to start producing cervical mucus. The mucus exits the cervix and makes its way into vaginal canal. Some of this mucus will exit the vagina during this time.
You may notice this by experiencing a sensation of wetness or dampness in your underwear throughout the day, and/or you may see some mucus in your underwear or on the toilet paper after wiping.
Cervical mucus can vary quite vastly in its appearance and texture. Cervical mucus can be white, clear, gummy, stretchy and slippery like uncooked egg whites, milky, lotiony, thick and creamy.
It is completely normal to see variations of all these different states of cervical mucus in the one menstrual cycle, as these are all reflective of different hormonal stages of the cycle. As a key example, this mucus will change pre and post ovulation.
Cervical mucus is an incredibly valuable bio marker. The presence of this mucus can give us insight into hormonal shifts occurring in the menstrual cycle. Cervical mucus observations paired with tracking basal body temperature (BBT) is the foundation of fertility awareness methods and can allow us to identify our fertile window in our menstrual cycle, and know with high accuracy, when we are fertile, and (most importantly) when we are not.
This information and data on our bodies is beneficial throughout our entire reproductive years; whether we are actively trying to conceive, are avoiding pregnancy or simply observing and tracking our menstrual cycles.
Lauren Curtain is a registered Chinese medicine practitioner, women's health focused acupuncturist and herbalist. She centres her practice around supporting women to navigate their hormones, menstrual cycles and fertility using a combination of education (all the women’s health info you didn't get in high school), acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition and lifestyle support. Lauren believes every woman has the right to know how her body works, and what she can do to optimise not only her reproductive health, but whole body health. Lauren has seen firsthand with her patients the dramatic improvements that can be made to reproductive health through simple, inexpensive, non-invasive techniques and firmly believes symptomatic periods and menstrual cycles can be a thing of the past and we can embody a thriving fertile life.