What is that white stain in my knickers?
As girl’s hormones start to change, one of the changes in their body is the start and increase of cervical/vaginal fluid. This can be noticed simply by a little creamy like stain in their knickers. It’s not unusual for girls to think this is just a little bit of wee. Every girl is different, but this can occur anywhere from 6 months before she starts her period to a few years.
As she nears her period, the fluid will change again and she may feel wetter then before around her vulva and in her knickers. The last few months before she starts her period tends to be a time of increased fluid. The fluid is generally thin and clear or whitish and won’t have an odour.
Daily washing with soap on the outside is all that’s required for personal hygiene. Nothing needs to be inserted or products used to “douche” the vagina, especially those containing fragrances. The vagina has an incredible way of cleaning itself, and using additional products can disrupt the healthy balance of bacteria and cause a host of health issues. These could include abnormal discharge, itchiness and bad odour. This is where knowing what’s normal and not normal for her will be a great indicator of her health.
If it becomes uncomfortable for them, using panty liners or lower absorbency period underwear will help them.
Talking about cervical fluid is as essential as talking about our period. It’s important they know it’s normal, how much they can expect, and that once they start their period it continues as a normal part of a healthy cycle.
Cervical fluid is a sign of many things, and knowing this can be quite empowering.
Here’s three ways getting to know your cervical fluid can be a game changer:
- Once girls cycles start to become more consistent they can use their cervical fluid as a guide to when their next period will start. Yes, better than just counting 28 days from the first day of our period, assessing cervical fluid is a more precise indicator of when our next period will start. This is because as we near ovulation our cervical fluid increases and thickens until it is near egg white consistency just before ovulation occurs. Once ovulation has happened and we enter the luteal phase of our cycle, we have 14 days until our period starts. Our cycle length changes in the follicular phase (the time between when our period starts and we ovulate). The follicular phase can vary in length anywhere from 10-16 days. However things like travel, stress and health issues can also cause this to vary more. So in a normal healthy cycle, getting to know the point of ovulation through your cervical fluid can help you better determine when your period will start.
- Knowing what is normal for your cervical fluid to look like and when it occurs in your cycle is a big indicator of your health. Normal cervical fluid can appear at different times throughout your cycle, not just at ovulation. If you start to see change in that fluid, or discharge of another kind appears, ie it may change colour, odour, texture or become itchy, this often indicates signs of infection.
- Later as our young women become sexually active, cervical fluid can be used as an indicator of their fertile period. Getting to know your own cycle and keeping an eye on your cervical fluid can be one way of either contraception or conception. In her book Period Power, Maisie Hill has documented how she has used the Sympto-Thermal method (where she tracks her cycle and takes her temperature daily) as a form of contraception. Knowing your most fertile days, of which there are 5-6 due to how long sperm can survive, ise a very useful tool and a great way to know your body.
Cervical fluid is as much an important part to our healthy cycle as our period, and getting to know this part of themselves can really help girls trust and love more about their bodies.