The cervix is a cylindrically shaped neck of a tissue that connects the vagina and the uterus.[SB1] In simple terms, it is the gateway between the vagina and the uterus. It is made up of fibromuscular tissue. The importance of the cervix during childbirth especially is the fact that it is the cervix that dilates or widens to allow the baby to pass through. It plays a role during menstruation as well since it opens up a small amount to allow the menstrual flow. Now, the cervix produces.
At times, we may wonder about the discharge that we can see in our underpants. What is this discharge? Where does it come from? Why is it being produced? The cervix produces a fluid or gel-like discharge which is known as cervical mucus. Any discharge from the human body helps in assessing the status of health or gives us information about what might be happening inside the body. The cervical mucus also helps us in understanding a great deal of things, especially regarding fertility. What determines the production of the mucus are the glands in the cervix which are controlled by hormones, namely, estrogen and progesterone. Just like many other bodily functions that are controlled by hormones.
So what exactly does this cervical mucus tell us? What does it mean for one’s fertility? The cervical mucus can be found in various forms throughout the menstrual cycle – the way it looks, the consistency of the fluid – whether it is watery or thick, its smell, color, and so on. What is interesting is that, every form of this discharge at various stages of the menstrual cycle indicates how fertile a woman is at a given point in time. Not only does it help in tracking and monitoring the menstrual cycle but also transports the sperm to the upper reproductive tract.
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So what are the different ways in which the mucus can be seen throughout the menstrual cycle
These are classified as Type 1 (Least fertile) to Type 4 (Most fertile). Here are the details:
- Type 1: Least fertile: After your period, the mucus is most likely to disappear and become dry. This is because of the increase in progesterone hormone;
- Type 2: low Fertility: A week after the period, the discharge will be of light white color and feel damp and moist;
- Type 3: High Fertility: This stage starts when the egg begins to ripen. The discharge is thicker and has a creamy appearance. It can feel sticky on your fingers; and
- Type 4: Most Fertile: Before ovulation: Most amount of mucus is produced at this period. The discharge is clear and has a stretchy consistency. almost like a raw white egg.
- After Ovulation: The production of the mucus is lower. The discharge here might still look thick and sticky.
At the beginning of the cycle, when the period starts, the cervical mucus is covered by the bleeding.
- After implementation: Heavier discharge of mucus can be observed with increased levels of estrogen and progesterone
- During Pregnancy: Increased discharge during the third semester can be seen. As the delivery date approaches, thick, clear, or blood-streaked discharge known as mucus plug can be seen.
How does one track the cervical mucus? There are a few simple methods that one can employ to do the same:
- The Billings Ovulation Method – A method that one can use to check the texture and appearance of the mucus and record it on a chart;
- The Creighton Method – Is more detailed where one is asked to record the secretion and its characteristics more in detail (form, color etc) on a daily basis; and
- The 2-day method – Is done to check if one is undergoing the most fertile time – In this method, one should trace if the discharge was present today and the previous day. If the answer is yes to either of the questions, then it suggests that the probability of conceiving is high.
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It is also very simple to collect the mucus – using clean fingers, insert them into the vagina and place the mucus in a glass of water. If it either sticks to your finger or drop to the bottom of the glass. Thus, any of the above methods can be used to plan one’s conception.
A few conditions can affect one’s cervical mucus’s appearance and texture. These conditions include even simple dehydration. Dehydration can decrease the ability of pushing of the sperm as mentioned earlier. A persistent reproductive tract infection can often murk up the distinction between cervical mucus and vaginal mucus, making the reproductive tract infection tracking[SB3] more difficult. Medications can have an effect on the texture of the mucus. Fertility drugs such as Clomid are known to increase thickness, thereby making it difficult for the sperm to penetrate.
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Therefore, in any case that one observes strong odour or the texture of the mucus seems overly thick or if the discharge is greenish or yellowish in colour, redness, swelling, itching or burning, please contact the doctor immediately. This could be a case of bacterial or yeast infection or in extreme cases, sexually transmitted disease, all of which will require medical treatment.
For further details or clarification of doubts, we at Janisthaa, encourage our patients to visit and seek expert guidance from Dr, Shwetha. In these times of the pandemic, we encourage you to visit our website https://www.janisthaaivf.com/ to book an appointment.
Your safety is our priority.