What Filipinos often refer to as ‘white mens’ isn’t actually menstruation. It’s milky white vaginal discharge — medically known as leukorrhea — that often occurs during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Vaginal discharge contains fluid and cells, and it helps keep the vagina clean and healthy.
Does the white discharge mean my period is coming?
It’s common to experience white discharge during the second half of the menstrual cycle when your period is nearing, or days 15 onwards of a 28-day cycle.
The luteal phase starts after the ovulation phase, or the fertile days. Progesterone levels are high during the luteal phase, which makes vaginal discharge cloudy or white.
Besides the milky white discharge, you may also experience other common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as:
- breast swelling, pain, or tenderness
- changes in sexual desire
- food cravings
When should I be worried?
Discharge is normal, and rarely a sign of a condition or infection. But if you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s best to consult an OB-GYN immediately:
- pain, itching, burning sensation, or other discomfort in and around the vagina
- rash or sores
- cottage cheese-like or frothy discharge
- strong or fishy vaginal odor
- bleeding between periods or after sex
Sexually transmitted infections may affect vaginal discharge and cause other symptoms. It’s best to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible once you notice any changes or you start feeling unusual symptoms.
White vaginal discharge is natural and often occurs right before or after menstruation. But the color, texture, and even the smell of the discharge may change when you have an infection.
It’s important to observe how your discharge usually looks so you can quickly notice any changes that may need to be consulted with a doctor.
Sharkey, L. & Marcin, A. (February 2, 2023). What Causes White Discharge Before Your Period?. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/white-discharge-before-period
Fletcher, J. (March 31, 2023). Does white discharge indicate the beginning of a period? MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/is-white-discharge-a-sign-of-period-coming