In the throes of puberty, the changes can seem never-ending. The new boobs! The periods! The hair growth! The vaginal discharge? *record scratch*. Sorry, WHAT?
If you’ve ever looked down at your underwear and thought… what is THIS?, we’re here to help you out. It’s time to start the discharge discovery.
What is vaginal discharge?
You might be a bit confused when you start noticing what we can only describe as goop in your underwear. Breathe easy, you’re not morphing into an alien or anything. The reason for this discharge is quite simple— your vagina is like a self cleaning oven! So the discharge you notice is the shedding of cells, fluid and other bacteria. All these things are part of a healthy vaginal ecosystem. This fluid helps keep you clean, all while helping to fight off infection at the same time.
When you see discharge on your underwear or toilet paper, it’s a sign that your body is doing it’s THING! See, we told you no aliens.
Is my discharge normal?
“Normal” is different for everyone with a vagina! Like snowflakes, no two are the same.
“Normal” discharge can look like anything. It can be white, clear, off-white, sticky, wet, or all of the above. Some people might have to wear a liner (or leakproof underwear!) while others might not have much at all. It’s also normal for it to have an odor too.
The best way to figure out if your discharge is normal is to figure out what your normal is. You might notice that things like color, texture or even the quantity changes depending on your menstrual cycle. Things like different soaps or body wash, sexual activity, sugar or antibiotics can also affect your discharge too! Once you start figuring out and noticing what’s normal for you, it’ll be easier to tell if something is wrong.
Do I need to talk to a doctor about my discharge?
Remember how we suggested figuring out what your “normal” looks like? If that starts to change, you may want to check in with a medical professional. These changes can include a change in odor or color (watch out for greyish or greenish). If your vagina is burning or itching, that is not normal either! Your doc can check you out for bacterial infections, such as BV, yeast infections, or STIs.
Just remember that discharge is super normal! And at the end of the day, vaginal discharge is typically a sign that your vagina is safe, healthy and clean. Hooray!