Vaginal fluids are very important for our health and sexual pleasure, and they vary during all our cycles while we are fertile. Like any other fluid in our body, the vaginal function as a kind of oracle: tells us what happens to us, if we are healthy or with some imbalance, if we are ovulating or going through an infertile period.
We all know, for example, that having mucus in the nose is normal, but when they increase, they are telling us something. So, when menstrual blood appears outside the cycle, what is it warning us about? Well, obviously, there is an imbalance. The same happens with our vaginal fluids. We can read them to understand our body.
The vaginal discharge self-regulates perfectly: it cleans and protects our vagina from external pathogens, from its macrobiota or “vaginal flora”, composed of live bacteria, mostly lactobacilli. Also, the action of estrogen is essential in maintaining this balance. If these hormones are altered, the moisture will be affected, as well as the consistency and composition of our flow.
As it undergoes variations throughout our entire lunar cycle, it is necessary to learn to recognize when changes are part of our hormonal transformation and when they are alerting us that something is wrong. Vaginal discharge is commonly altered by external agents, be it deodorants, vaginal soaps and chemicals from tampons, menstrual pads, etc.
All this can leave our vagina defenseless without our guardian flow, facilitating the proliferation of fungi or the spread of infections. This manifests itself with an unusual discharge of flow accompanied by bad odor, irritation, etc. We can notice that this is a warning, to try to return to the balance of our ecosystem.
It is part of our vaginal fluid and is secreted by the cervix from its crypts (glands), which under neurological and hormonal influence, secrete different types of mucus throughout the cycle. Its function is to block our cervix for the entry of sperm and receive them at the time of fertility for a possible conception, as well as generate a buffer that closes and protects the entrance of our uterus of possible pathogens. The changes can be perceived in three phases: follicular phase, ovulation and luteal phase.
How does our cervical mucus behave during our cycle?
During the follicular phase: at the end of our menstruation, we go through a “dry” period of mucus, during which the cervical acid mucus appears, concentrated in buffering the cervix to protect it from infections and the possible entry of sperm. It is a period of low fertility. The mucus has a thick consistency, not elastic and of white, yellowish or opaque coloration. This phase usually lasts seven days, approximately, in a cycle of twenty-eight days.
During ovulation: the hormones are gradually preparing for ovulation, which causes the crypts of the cervix to secrete mucus more elastic and less acid a few days before. Little by little, the flow increases noticeably, so you feel wetter. When examined, its consistency is similar to that of egg white. It is transparent and, if you stretch it with your fingers, it won´t snap. You will be able to notice that the peak day of your fertility is approaching. It is the moment when the cervix dilates and lines up with the vagina for the possible entry of the sperm.
The function of this fertile mucus is to protect and route the sperm from the vagina to the uterine tubes, in addition to providing more life time: (they can remain three to five days alive inside our body). On the other hand, they provide us with more lubrication for those days of imminent libido.
During the luteal phase: Ovulation occurs. If the oocyte is not fertilized three days after the day of maximum fertility, the mucus plug reappears in the cervix that closes the entrance to the uterus and protects us against pathogens. This period increases infertility and will last until the beginning of a new menstruation.
Let’s get to know our fluids!
The vagina and its glands secrete lubricating fluids from sexual arousal. These are composed of water, pyridine, squalene, urea, acetic acid and lactic acid, among others. Its consistency will depend on the phase of the cycle you are on. Squalene is our natural lubricant par excellence, a substance that also exists in the liver of sharks. Curious, isn’t it? It is extracted from these animals for moisturizing creams and lubricants and has been found to have even anti-cancer properties.
The only vaginal discharge that hurts us is that which manifests itself when suffering from a fungus or infection, since its appearance is usually uncomfortable. Most of the chemical products, like daily protectors, made to hide the vaginal mucus, attack our own defense system interfering with our vaginal ecology.
On the other hand, hormonal contraception (by modifying our own hormones) has the function of interfering in the natural functioning of our cervical mucus to prevent conception, so it is common to manifest vaginal fungi when we are under treatment. With this type of medication, It is difficult to recognize our mucus in its natural phases.
Pollution and stress, as well as poor nutrition or low defenses, among other things, affect our sacred guardian mucus. It is time to interact with our fluid ecosystem and protect it with the help of foods that contain probiotics, as well as leaving them free of chemicals.
Ready to start tracking your cycle?