Discharge Before Period: What Causes It?

You aren’t supposed to have your period for another few days, but you have been experiencing early period-related symptoms. We’re talking about premenstrual discharge. While it doesn’t usually stain your clothing, it can definitely be distracting if you aren’t expecting it. 

The good news is, premenstrual vaginal discharge is completely normal, and usually isn’t a cause for concern. We’ll cover what’s causing it, and how you can be better prepared to handle it in the future.

What is Discharge Before Your Period?

Your body’s monthly cycle never stops. From start to finish the typical cycle is 28 days, but it can be longer or shorter from person to person. Your cycle may be very consistent or vary from month to month.

There are four different phases during each cycle. 

  1. Menstrual. This is the first phase of your monthly cycle. This is when you get your period. It goes without saying you’ll have discharge during your period. The discharge you have during your period will include the lining of your uterus along with blood.

  2. Follicular. The second phase of your monthly cycle starts the first day you begin your period (overlapping with the menstrual phase) and continues for about a week past your period. You’ll have discharge during this phase as your hormones continue to change. 

  3. Ovulation phase. The third phase of your period brings you ovulation. This is when your body releases an egg to be fertilized. Ovulation occurs about a week after you finish your period or the 14th day of a 28-day cycle. 

    You’ll experience some vaginal discharge during the ovulation phase. The discharge will be thin, clear, and have a sticky or stretchy appearance. This is often referred to as “fertile” discharge because it’s a good indication you are ovulating and capable of becoming pregnant.

  4. Luteal phase. The last phase of your period is also referred to as your premenstrual phase. 
    During this phase, you can also experience premenstrual vaginal discharge. 

So what causes all the discharge during the four phases of your cycle that can leave you feeling a little funky? Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with your body during the monthly cycle.

What Causes Discharge Before Your Period?

Your body is constantly releasing hormones. During each phase of your period, hormone levels rise and fall, triggering the preparation of your uterus for a fertilized egg to be implanted, and causing an egg to actually be released. 

Hormones are responsible, too, for the discharge you see before and after your period. In fact, you can experience up to a teaspoonful of discharge daily.

You’ll see the most discharge during the ovulation phase of your cycle. While this will normally happen around day fourteen in your cycle, it can last several days and continue up until you begin your next period.

Vaginal discharge is made up of fluid and bacteria that your vagina sheds. You’ve probably heard that the vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. This means it’s capable of cleaning itself, which means you don’t need to waste time on products designed to clean the inside of your vagina, like douches. 

The vaginal discharge removes impurities from your vagina, keeping it clean, and helping prevent infection. 

Vaginal discharge is called leukorrhea and is a normal part of your body’s healthy function. Discharge can range in color, texture, and consistency.

Different Types of Discharge

Is the vaginal discharge you experience prior to your period normal, or a symptom of a bigger issue? 

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of discharge you might experience and what causes it:

  • Thick and white. This is the most common type of vaginal discharge. You’ll see it before and after your period. It’s a normal part of your vagina’s “self-clean” cycle and is no cause for alarm.

    Normal discharge should not irritate your skin, itch, or have an odor. It can, however, make a mess in your underwear and leave you feeling uncomfortable the rest of your day. 
  • Clear, stretchy or sticky, and watery. This type of discharge is present when your progesterone levels are highest, so you’ll normally see this when you are ovulating. 

While these types of discharge are normal, there are some types of discharge that aren’t. If your discharge is accompanied by a foul odor, itching, and/or burning, you could have a condition like bacterial vaginosis, or a yeast infection. 

  • Brown discharge. This color discharge is usually present just before and just after your period. Seeing it before your period is a sign that your period is on its way. Seeing it after your period is your body’s way of “cleaning up” after your cycle. 
  • Green or yellow discharge. While discharge before your period can sometimes have a yellowish tint, discharge that is green or bright yellow usually indicates infection. You’ll almost always experience this type of discharge along with a foul odor, itching, burning, or other irritation. 

    It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you experience this type of abnormal discharge. 

Discharge is most often normal, but you don’t have to let it ruin your day. Let’s talk about how to handle pre-period discharge. 

How to Handle Discharge Before Your Period

Most of the time, discharge is a sign your body is functioning properly. In fact, it’s a signal that your body is doing what it is supposed to every month. 

It’s a great feeling to know your body is healthy, but a not-so-great feeling when you’re in the middle of gym class and experience unexpected vaginal discharge.

Thankfully, if you have the right tools in your period care arsenal, vaginal discharge can never slow you down. In fact, you probably won’t even notice it. 

At Rael, we design products to help keep you comfortable and confident for every phase of your monthly cycle. Our holistic period care products are effective, easy, and gentle on your body. No harsh chemicals, dyes, or toxins could interfere with your body’s ability to function as it should. 

When it comes to pre-period care (and discharge before your period), we’ve got what you need to stay fresh and focused. 

Panty Liners

You’ve tried pantyliners and didn’t like them. We understand. Pantyliners weren’t our favorite either, so we made ones we loved. Rael’s pantyliners are 100% cotton, ultra-thin, and designed to keep you dry and comfortable. 

Our Organic Cotton Reusable Liners are perfect for use the week before your period when vaginal discharge can be unpredictable. These liners are your favorite undie’s best friends, keeping them dry and stain-free and keeping you from feeling any discomfort. 

When you’re done with your liners, you can simply place them in your washer and reuse them again on your next cycle. Looking out for Mother Earth while you practice self-care is a win-win.

Wipes for Easy Clean Up

Sometimes even the most prepared period goddesses can be caught off guard with rogue pre-period discharge. That’s okay, we’ve got the goods to get you back on track. 

Rael’s Organic Cotton Feminine Wipes are designed to help make easy work of cleaning up little messes. Our wipes are convenient, easy to pack in your purse or gym bag, and designed to be gentle on your most sensitive areas. It’s like a private little shower whenever, wherever you need.

Having feminine wipes on hand can mean the difference between having a discharge situation and having a normal day. 

Hand Sanitizing Wipes

If we’ve learned nothing else the past year it’s that hand washing is super important. Not only does it help prevent the spread of viruses, but it also helps keep harmful bacteria away from your most sensitive area. 

Because discharge doesn’t happen when you plan it, having hand sanitizing wipes on hand can help make sure your hands are clean if you need to swap out a liner or use a feminine wipe. Rael’s hand sanitizing wipes are gentle and effective and keep your hands clean so you can take care of business sans germs and bacteria. 

The Takeaway

Discharge happens, and it happens during all four phases of your monthly cycle. Most of the time, vaginal discharge is a completely normal and healthy part of the way your body functions. Even though it’s normal and healthy, it can still catch you off guard if you don’t have the proper period care items on hand.

Using liners can help you prepare for vaginal discharge before and after your period, protecting your underwear and helping you feel confident and dry. 

Your period can be unpredictable, but your period care doesn’t have to be. Rael helps you take the best care of your body, no matter where you’re at in your cycle. 



Sources:

Reproductive Factors | NCBI  

Vaginal Discharge | Stutter Health 

Bacterial Vaginosis | Mayo Clinic

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