Women often refer to the discharge in a menstrual cycle as mucus. This mucus normally changes consistency throughout the menstrual cycle and is odorless. The discharge comes from the cervical glands as a way to keep the vagina clean and moisturized. Although discharge can be abundant, vaginal discharge with an odor is not normal.
Ovulation is a process that occurs midway through the menstrual cycle. The process occurs when an egg is released from a follicle that has been maturing the egg, within the ovary. To prompt the release, the pituitary gland secretes a high level of the luteinizing hormone, which then causes levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to rise. Normally, a woman produces discharge at all stages of her menstrual cycle, with a consistency that is normally watery or sticky and white. However, around the time of this hormonal surge, the vaginal discharge becomes clear and stretchy and will be more abundant than any other discharge within the menstrual cycle. This is considered a woman’s most fertile time, according to Ovulation-calculator.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial vaginosis--BV--is a condition that causes a disruption in the normal balance of bacteria within the vagina, leading to the overgrowth of a certain bacteria. BV is considered one of the most common vaginal infections in women of childbearing age. According to the CDC, bacterial vaginosis is common among pregnant women in the U.S. Doctors aren’t sure what causes BV or exactly how it develops, but they have found that having multiple sex partners or douching may increase the risk of getting it. Symptoms of BV are thin, white or grey vaginal discharge with a bad odor, fish-like smell after sex and burning or itching around the vagina.
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infections are experienced by 75 percent of women at some point in their lives, according to Women’s Health. A vaginal yeast infection is caused by the overgrowth of a fungus called candida. Candida overgrowth can cause thick white discharge that looks like cottage cheese, itching, burning and swelling of the vulva, pain when urinating, pain during sex and a rash on the vagina. Vaginal yeast infections can be caused by stress, lack of sleep, pregnancy, eating too much sugar, uncontrolled diabetes, HIV/AIDS and hormonal changes during the menstrual period. Yeast infections are normally cured by using vaginal creams, ointments or suppository pills.