Dolly Doctor

It's gross but we need to talk about vaginal discharge

Here's what's going on in your panties.

Ahhhh discharge. It's something we ALL experience but something NONE of us are comfortable talking about. Nothing worse than dropping your knickers to find a big ol white/clear/brown/yellow wet/crusty dry patch. So what's normal and what's not? We'll here’s the part where we stop feeling awkward and start answering the questions you may have felt too embarrassed to ask…

What's is discharge?

Simply put, it's fluid that flows from the vagina and is one of the ways in your body works to keep your v-jay clean and healthy. Discharge starts from puberty and continues in varying degrees throughout a woman’s whole life. So yay!

Is my discharge normal?

Normal discharge is white or clear and has little or no odour. The amount may vary from a small amount of staining on your undies to a larger amount that requires the use of a panty liner or pad. Discharge also varies throughout your menstrual cycle.

“Most women experience some discharge both before and just after a period. There is also an increase in vaginal secretions during sexual arousal,” says Dr Leo Leader, Senior Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of NSW. “Normal vaginal discharge does not cause any symptoms or have a bad smell.”

My discharge is white – what does that mean?

As mentioned above, normal discharge can be white or transparent. If it’s white, has little or no odour and fairly fluid, it’s completely normal. If your discharge smells funkaaay and you're experiencing pain or itching, it’s best to visit your doctor as you may have an infection.

My discharge is clear and sticky – what does that mean?

According to Dr Leader, at the time of ovulation (so when an egg is released), your discharge may increase and can become quite sticky and stretchy. This is normal. “Some women may also notice an increase in the discharge mid-cycle; this is associated with ovulation if the woman is not taking the oral contraceptive pill.”

My discharge is brown – what does that mean?

“A brown discharge may occur just before or after a period and can be normal,” says Dr Leader. “A blood stained or brown discharge at any other time of month needs investigation.”

If your discharge if really bothering you and you find yourself making this face every time you feel a slight movement if your panties...

...then invest in panty liners. They're like pads only way, way thinner. You can even get ones that have two layers so as the top layer gets a bit dirty with discharge you can rip it off to reveal a new layer, leaving you and your lady friend feeling fresh and dry all day.


*This article originally appeared on