What’s Considered Normal ?

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A vaginal discharge can result from normal changes in estrogen levels. When levels are high, estrogen stimulates the cervix to produce secretions (mucus), and a small amount of mucus may be discharged from the vagina. Estrogen levels are high in the following situations:

  • During menstrual cycles a few days before the egg is released
  • In newborns for a week or two after birth because they absorb estrogen from their mother before birth
  • A few months before girls have their first menstrual period
  • During pregnancy
  • In women who take drugs that contain estrogen or that increase estrogen production (such as some fertility drugs)
Typically, a normal discharge has no odor. It is usually milky white or thin and clear. During the childbearing years, the amount and appearance may vary during the menstrual cycle. For example, in the middle of the cycle when the egg is released (at ovulation), the cervix produces more mucus, and the mucus is thinner.
Pregnancy, use of birth control pills (oral contraceptives), and sexual arousal also affect the amount and appearance of the discharge. After menopause, estrogen levels decrease, often reducing the amount of normal discharge.
After menopause, estrogen levels decrease, often reducing the amount of normal discharge.