The Flow Down Below

It Doesn't Stop at Your Period

Menstruation is the formal name for a female’s monthly vaginal bleeding, but most people call it your “period,” which is short for menstrual period.

Most menstrual periods last from three to five days. The fluid that leaves your body during your period is partly blood and partly tissue from the inside of your uterus—also called the womb. Each month, a woman’s body makes this fluid to prepare for a possible pregnancy.

But even when you don't have your period, you can have a vaginal discharge. It's called leukorrhea (lukerEA). Leukorrhea is normal. It is clear or white and has no odor. It is normal for your body to produce a small amount (about a teaspoon) each day. During the middle of your menstrual cycle (when eggs are released during ovulation) you may notice that the discharge becomes thinner and stretchy, like the whites of an egg. Toward the end of your cycle, closer to when you actually get your period, your discharge may be stickier.

Some kinds of vaginal discharge are not normal. Abnormal discharge can mean you are sick with an infection or disease. You may not even realize you are sick. If you notice any of the following, it is important to tell an adult and to make an appointment with a doctor.

  • Any discharge accompanied by itching, irritation, unpleasant odor, or burning with urination
  • An increase in discharge that isn't normal for you
  • Thick, white discharge
  • Thin, gray discharge
  • Mucus and pus mixed in with discharge
  • Frothy yellow-green discharge

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Odor Control

Don't Sweat It!

Body odor. You may be just starting to notice it. You may be surprised to learn that sweat, itself, doesn't smell. The odor happens when sweat mixes with the bacteria on your skin. Some tips for odor control:

  • Shower or bathe each day
  • Wash or bathe after exercising
  • Apply a deodorant/antiperspirant product in your arm pit area each day
  • When you have your period, change your tampon, pad or panty liner frequently

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