What Causes Sticky Discharge

Dr David NunnsDr David Nunns

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Dr David Nunns, Consultant Gynaecologist

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# What Causes Sticky Discharge, And Should I Be Worried By It?

Vaginal discharge comes in all colours and forms, and can change a lot throughout the month. So, although it can be weird to see the different types appear in marks on your underwear or on toilet paper, it can be quite interesting to understand them too, and realise what they mean and why they are there. One of the types of discharges people often say they find the strangest, is sticky discharge. It is worth having a look at it, and trying to understand this slightly scary, but fascinating stuff!

# What do you mean by sticky discharge?

As some point during your cycle you have probably come across it, when the thinner discharge becomes stickier, almost like a gooey discharge, with a tacky, quite stiff texture.

# When might I get sticky discharge?

Well there are two main times in the month when you are most likely to come across it. You may spot slightly sticky discharge after your period for a couple of days, and then again about ten days later you might discover you have very sticky discharge in the run up to your next period. If you wear Always Dailies Pantyliners, you will probably notice on the panty liner that the discharge very much sticks together and might sit on the panty liner a bit more, rather than soaking into it.

# Why is it sticky after your period?

There is not much that goes on in the vagina that doesn’t have a function or a reason – your body has thought of everything! And much of that of course, is geared towards reproduction. So when trying to work out why you have a certain type of fluid or discharge, it is a good idea to relate it to what is happening in the body at the time. After your period, once everything has been cleared out of the uterus, preparations are being made for the next attempt at reproduction. An egg is getting ready for the arrival of sperm, and your fertile time is most likely to start around day 11 of your cycle (day 1 is the first day of your period). If a sperm enters the body a few days early though, your body wants to give him a chance - and that is where this sticky discharge comes in. It provides a pretty perfect home for the sperm, kind of suspending it, protecting it, and allowing it to travel up slowly. Fact of the day: in the right conditions sperm can live up to five days! Once you know that, you can understand why the body really thinks it is worth giving the little chaps some help! Equally though, because this kind of discharge isn’t that permeable in the first place, it also acts as a bit of a test, so any weak or unhealthy sperm get rejected. May the best sperm win…

# What causes sticky discharge later on?

That’s all well and good when there is sperm to help out, but why does the sticky discharge appear again after ovulation? Well once the window for pregnancy has closed again, effectively you really are shutting up shop down below! The body develops very sticky discharge to act like a barrier to everything that may try and get in. Your discharge becomes like a guard, letting nothing past.

# Are there any other reasons for this sticky discharge?

Some contraceptive pills encourage the body to produce this second, super gooey discharge all the time, as a method of preventing pregnancy. So if this is something you are taking, this may apply to you. Liners can be a great way to forget about the wetness caused by discharge and leave you feeling fresh.

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