QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How much vaginal discharge is normal?
Vaginal discharge is the creamy, clear-to-whilte-to-yellow stuff that oozes out of your vagina. It normally starts early in puberty, around the same time your breasts bud, because both of these changes are caused by estrogen, the main puberty hormone for girls. Even though you don't hear a lot of people talk about discharge, all girls and women have it. It's actually the way the vagina cleans itself and stays moist and comfortable. When it comes out, it usually has a milky or creamy appearance, but when it dries in your underwear, it can look darker yellow and become "crusty." It's usually enough to lightly stain the crotch of your underwear, so yes, that's normal, too.
Once your periods start, the amount of discharge will increase or decrease depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Sometimes, there's not much discharge at all. Sometimes there's a lot more. The color and consistency can also change during your cycle, making it thick and yellowish sometimes, and thin and clear at other times. If you pay attention, youll begin to notice how it changes in amount, color and consistency with your cycle.
So, is there an amount that is too much or too little? That's hard to say since everyone is different, but basically, it's totally normal to have enough discharge to wet and stain your underwear, but it shouldn't soak it. But don't forget that you also sweat "down there," so if your underwear is wetter than usual, it may be from sweat, more than discharge. If your discharge starts to cause itching or burning, has a stinky odor, or changes color, you need to check with your doctor. Otherwise, most girls manage discharge by washing daily, changing underwear, and some use a panty liner when the discharge is heaviest.