Cervical mucus meaning – cervical mucus is a semi-liquid substance that is produced from glands found in the cervix and uterus. This fluid is part of the vaginal discharge that comes out of the vagina. Its main purpose is to protect the uterus from harmful pathogens.
Cervical mucus is very thick; it forms a mucus plug that blocks the entrance to the uterus .However, during ovulation, mucus plays a different role. In case a woman engages in unprotected sexual intercourse, the mucus becomes less thick in order to facilitate the movement of sperms to the fallopian tube for fertilization of a ripe ovum.
Vaginal discharge is the fluid that is found naturally in our vagina and it lubricates the vagina. This discharge is combined with special mucus produced from gland in the cervix. This special mucus is very important especially when it comes to pregnancy and birth control measures.
Analyzing and keeping track of this special mucus and understandings cervical mucus meaning will enable you as a woman to fully understand and be in charge of your body .This article will guide through different types of this special mucus fund in the vagina , how to check for it and the red flags to observe.
What does cervical mucus discharge look like?
- What does cervical mucus discharge look like?
- Cervical mucus stages
- Cervical mucus meaning, Causes
- Cervical mucus early pregnancy, after conception
- Cervical mucus after ovulation
- Cervical mucus during ovulation
- Cervical mucus before ovulation
- How to check for cervical mucus
- How long does cervical mucus last?
- Yellowish cervical mucus
- Brown cervical mucus
- When to see a doctor
Cervical mucus meaning depends on the stage of your menstrual cycle. It changes in colour, texture and consistency. Right after your period, the mucus will be very thick and sticky and cloudy in colour. As ovulation approaches the mucus becomes watery and then changes into egg white consistency when you are now at the peak of ovulation. After ovulation window is over, the mucus will go back into being creamy and thick.
Cervical mucus stages
Cervical mucus keeps evolving from one stage to another throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. Hormone oestrogen
1. Sticky cervical mucus
This type of mucus occurs just after period or right before period. It is very sticky, thick and in small quantity as compared to other stages. This kind of discharge is the least fertile. It is very viscous and sperms are unable to swim it. The good news is it occurs before ovulation so all is not lost. You can be rest assured that you cannot get pregnant during this stage.
2. Creamy cervical mucus
This creamy white cervical mucus occurs in between the end of menstruation and the onset of ovulation. It is non-fertile because it is still relatively thick and sperms cannot swim in it. After ovulation it becomes creamy again as you approach your next period.
3. Watery cervical mucus
A few days to ovulation the cervical mucus loosens up and become watery. It increases in volume such that it wets your underwear, unless you are wearing a panty liner. This type of mucus is not very fertile though it flows freely as compared to the earlier stages.
4. Egg white cervical mucus
At the onset of ovulation and during ovulation the egg white cervical meaning is that it is the most fertile mucus discharge. When you want to conceive then you should have unprotected sexual intercourse whenever you are having mucus discharge with an egg white consistency.
If you do not want to be a parent yet you better abstain from sexual intercourse or use birth control methods. This type of mucus discharge aids in the transportation of sperms to the fallopian tube of a woman for fertilization of eggs. This egg white mucus discharge contains nutrients and has got the right pH that the sperms can survive in. We can conclude that this is the most important type of cervical mucus.
Cervical mucus meaning, Causes
This special mucus is produced naturally from gland found in the cervix .It has got no specific cause, However hormone estrogen influences the production of cervical mucus at different stage of the menstrual cycle.
The levels of estrogen vary throughout a menstrual cycle .This makes the mucus vary in quantity, colour and consistency throughout the menstrual cycle. Estrogen level is highest during ovulation and this is why mucus increases in amount during ovulation.
Diseases and infection can only change the colour and smell of mucus discharge but they do not cause cervical mucus.
Cervical mucus early pregnancy, after conception
Pregnancy is a game changer in the body in general. It also affects the cervical mucus. Pregnancy hormones like estrogen and progesterone will fall out of balance during pregnancy .The level of hormone estrogen increases and so does the amount of mucus that comes from the cervical glands.
In some women, this discharge that comes from the mucus glands in the cervix is usually small in amount that it doesn’t even bother them. But as soon as they get pregnant m, the amount of this discharge increases and becomes a nuisance.
You have to wear a panty liner lest it wets your underwear. This mucus discharge is buttery or glue-like and is called Leukorrhea .It should be white or colourless in the early stages of pregnancy .Any other colour, consistency or foul smell is an indication of an infection or disease.
After conception, the mucus discharge that comes from the cervix may turn brown. This colour should not worry you as long as it is not accompanied by any bad smell. This discharge turns into a brown shade because of being stained by a few drops of blood that come from the uterus due to implantation bleeding.
According to NHS,” In early pregnancy, you might get some light bleeding, called “spotting”, which is when the foetus plants itself into the wall of your womb. This is also known as implantation bleeding and often occurs around the time that your first period after conception would have been due.” This spotting is very minimal and can even go unnoticed.
If you ooze a lot of blood that soaks your underwear then you should consult your doctor. Miscarriages makes you bleed instead of spot so do not confuse it with implantation bleeding.
Mucus in the cervix plays an important role in early pregnancy and throughout the pregnancy. One of the pregnancy hormones known as hormone progesterone performs key function like , improve blood supply to the reproductive system , swelling of the uterine cervix, enlargement and proliferation of the cervix glands.
All these are meant to make the mucus very thick or viscous to a pint that it forms a plug on the cervical pharynx in order to protect the internal organs and the growing fetus from external pathogens that may enter the uterus through the cervix.
Cervical mucus after ovulation
Cervical mucus after ovulation reduces in amount and goes back to being sticky or creamy. This type of discharge is also known as cervical mucus before period. This is influenced by the fact that after ovulation the level of hormone estrogen drops and thus the amount of mucus produced from the glands reduces. It became more viscous and sticky.
Cervical mucus during ovulation
During ovulation, the level of hormone estrogen is at its peak .This hormonal imbalance influences the glands in the cervix to produce more cervical mucus. This mucus has got the consistency of an egg white. It is very fertile and contains nutrients and the right pH for sperms to survive invite is the most fertile type of mucus.
If you want to get pregnant, as soon as you notice this type of discharge, you should take advantage and engage in unprotected sexual intercourse with your spouse. Seize the opportunity and strike the iron while it is still hot.
Ovulation occurs mostly a week after your period and may last for 3 t 6 days.
Cervical mucus before ovulation
Cervical mucus before ovulation is sticky right after period. It is also referred to as cervical mucus after period. It becomes creamy with time but gets very watery as ovulation approaches.
This is because the levels of hormone estrogen keep increasing and this means more production of mucus form the cervix gland. This type of mucus is very unfertile. In case you engage in unprotected sexual intercourse, his type of discharge cannot support free movement of sperms in the cervix and up the fallopian tube.
How to check for cervical mucus
The mucus down there speaks volumes of information to us without our knowledge .Each and every stage of cervical mucus indicates the state of your reproductive system. It is important to know the meaning of each type of this kind of discharge.
There is mucus discharge that is fertile and those that are infertile. Women who are seeking to be mothers need to learn how to check for their mucus discharge meaning so that the can be able to take advantage of the fertile mucus. On the other hand checking mucus discharge meaning can also be used as a birth control method.
When you observe fertile mucus then you abstain from sexual intercourse or protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases by using a condom during sexual intercourse.
The stages of mucus discharge have been discussed earlier. Just to echo, the most fertile mucus discharge is the one that has got egg white appearance. It has nutrients and the right pH for the survival, preservation and mobility of sperms in it. Any other type of discharge (sticky, creamy or watery) is considered infertile.
For you to effectively check the stage, consistency, type and colour of the mucus you have inside your vagina, you need to be very careful and accurate. Here are few tips that will help in how to check cervical mucus, you can use this to ensure this happens successfully;
- Wash your hands clean using plenty of water
- Dry them with a clean piece of cloth
- Stand or sit comfortable (You can raise one leg over a raised surface )
- Insert your finger in the vagina and collect the mucus discharge sample
- Smear the discharge on a white tissue or a white piece of paper
- Observe the color of the mucus
- Place the mucus in between your thumb and your middle finger and try and stretch it .If it is stretches but does not break then it a fertile kind of mucus. Thick, sticky, creamy or watery mucus will not be able to stretch between your fingers.
How long does cervical mucus last?
This discharge is part and parcel of the female reproductive system. It cannot go away completely since it lubricates the vagina. It also reduces or increases in amount depending on the stage of your menstrual cycle.
Yellowish cervical mucus
Yellowish mucus is normal and it occurs immediately after menstruation or just before period begins. This yellow tinge on the discharge is attributed to the fact that the vagina is undergoing natural cleansing. It consists of dead endometrial cells and bacteria that are being shed off.
However, this yellow cervical mucus should have no odor or feel itchy or have a weird consistency like a cottage cheese like consistency instead of being smooth and creamy. . You should consult your doctor if there is a foul smell coming from down there.
This is likely to be an indication of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted diseases. The following are some of the sexually transmitted diseases, infections and health hazards that are associated with smelly yellow vaginal discharge.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted diseases caused by a bacterium known as Chlamydia trachomatis .The following are related symptoms of chlamydia;
- Yellowish mucus discharge after or before period
- Pain when engaging in sexual intercourse that may lead to bleeding
- Spotting between period.
- Pelvic Inflammation
- Eye infection like conjunctivitis
- Frequent urination burning sensation or pain during urination,
- Pain on the lower back and abdomen.
Trichomoniasis is sexually transmitted disease that is common among young sexually active women who have unprotected sex. It is caused by a pathogen known as Trichomonas vaginalis. These are the symptoms of this disease;
- Greenish yellowish mucus discharge
- Swollen vulva
- Bad odor from the vaginal discharge
- Itchy vagina
- Cramps on the lower abdomen
- Sharp pain while urinating
Gonorrhea is bacterial sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is a very dangerous because it can be transmitted via any types of sexually activity including kissing, oral sex or anal sex, but the good news is it is treatable by antibiotics since it is caused by bacteria. The following are related symptoms of gonorrhoea;
- Thick yellowish mucus discharge at the end of menstruation
- Pimples in the mouth
- Sore throat
- Inflamed vulva
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Frequent urination and burning sensation while urinating
- Pelvic pain
A type of yeast fungi known as Candida albicans, exist naturally in our vagina. It balances with good bacteria in the vagina in order to keep it healthy and free from infections. However, if the growth of these yeast is triggered and they over multiply out of control, it causes yeast infection which is also known as candidiasis.
Overgrowth of yeast is triggered by factors like dampness in the vagina due to wearing tight underwear, hormonal imbalance, and side effects of antibiotics that may kill good bacteria. Fortunately, candidiasis can be treated using anti-fungal medication or home remedies; unfortunately it can reoccur often despite having treated it
The following are the symptoms associated with yeast infection.
- Odorless, yellowish mucus discharge that has got a cottage–cheese like consistency.
- Itchy and burning sensation in the vagina
- Red bumps or red rash on the outer skin of the vagina
- Inconsistent menstrual cycle
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain while urinating or menstruating
5. Bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection that occurs when the number of bad increases and surpasses the number of good bacteria. This can be caused by change in vaginal pH or not observing good hygiene down there. Your doctor will be able to advice on the type of antibacterial drugs that you should to treat the infection. The following are some symptoms that you should look out for if you suspect that you have bacterial vaginosis.
This type of infection is characterized by yellow discharge before period that is accompanied by a bad odor that smells like rotten meat. This infection can be treated using antibiotics. The following are symptoms of bacterial vagina vaginosis;
- Yellowish mucus discharge with a bad smell.
- Pain and burning sensation in the vagina
Brown cervical mucus
Brown cervical mucus is just normal mucus that has been tainted by blood .it is just mucus with blood spots. This blood can be from old endometrial cells that remained din the uterus for a longer time and are now coming out. This is if it occurs right after period. The following are some of the reason why brown mucus occurs;
1. Implantation bleeding
Brown cervical mucus can also mean that you are pregnant especially if it occurs a week after ovulation and you had engaged in unprotected sex during that time. It is an early sign of pregnancy. This blood is called implanataion bleeding.it occurs when the growing embryo burrows itself into the uterine lining and the uterine wall bleeds. The blood comes out in very small quantity that only stains your discharge and makes it look brown.
Trauma to the cervix or uterus may cause bleeding and the blood comes out inform of brown cervical mucus. Engaging in rough sexual intercourse or any other activity that may prick your womb or cervix will trigger bleeding.
Ovulation is a natural process that occurs in a woman’s body. According to Mayo Clinic,” Ovulation is the process in which a mature egg is released from the ovary. Those six days are important because the egg is able to be fertilized for about 12 to 24 hours after it’s released.” While ovulating, the ovum might rupture the ovarian follicle. A little blood will be produced and when it mixes with mucus discharge it gives it a shade of brown.
However, brown mucus discharge should not have any odour. If it has a fishy smell then you need to visit your doctor for diagnosis because only sexually transmitted diseases cause brown mucus discharge that is smelly.
The main examples of sexually transmitted diseases that cause brown mucus discharge are chlamydia and trichomoniasis. They are treatable but you have to get prescription from a professional doctor. These diseases have been discussed earlier above. You can refer to the previous subheading for related signs and symptoms.
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When to see a doctor
As much as cervical mucus is natural occurrence. It is mostly influenced by fluctuation in the levels of hormone estrogen. This makes the consistency, volume and even colour of mucus to change with time throughout your menstrual cycle.
It can be sticky, viscous and creamy, very watery or have the consistency of the egg white. If you are keen and observant you can use it to determine when you are most fertile and take advantage of it and get knocked up or protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy.
Cervical mucus that is abnormal is because for alarm and you should not ignore it or take it lightly. We have discussed earlier abut sexually transmitted disease or vaginal infection that cause abnormal mucus discharge .These diseases and infection ae harmful to your health.
A disease like chlamydia may even lead to infertility if n treated. As discussed earlier the flowing are some of the red flags to look out for and ensure that you visit your doctor for diagnosis as soon as possible.
- Green, yellow, viscous or cottage cheese like cervical mucus.
- Afoul smell coming from the vagina
- Itching in the vagina or burning sensation while urinating
- Blood stained mucus or spotting either before or after period.
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Any kind of red or white rash that appears on the genital area