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Cervical Mucus Changes During the Cycle. What it Looks Like and the Functions it Performs

Cervical mucus is a transparent and whitish fluid. Its consistency and amount may vary depending on the cycle of its production. The stages of cervical mucus are related to the periods of the menstrual cycle (MC). Here are the basic phases of cervical mucus secretion: dry days, thick mucus, cream-like discharge, watery secrete, egg white type discharge and white thick mucus.

Functions of cervical mucus

The secrete produced by mucous glands of the uterine cervix, is first of all aimed at creation of favorable conditions for fertilization of the ovum by the sperm cell. The second natural function of cervical mucus is the mechanical protection of the uterus against penetration of pestilent bacteria.

These functions are performed, among other things, due to the direction of the mucus flow. It discharges out of the uterine cavity, thus “washing away” potential infectious agents. Besides, such a direction of flow performs the function of “a natural filter” of disabled sperm cells. The increased speed of flow of mucus along peripheral areas appears a special “barrier”.

Cervical mucus is a transparent and whitish fluid. Its consistency and amount may vary depending on the cycle of its production. The stages of cervical mucus are related to the periods of the menstrual cycle (MC). Here are the basic phases of cervical mucus secretion: dry days, thick mucus, cream-like discharge, watery secrete, egg white type discharge and white thick mucus.

Functions of cervical mucus

The secrete produced by mucous glands of the uterine cervix, is first of all aimed at creation of favorable conditions for fertilization of the ovum by the sperm cell. The second natural function of cervical mucus is the mechanical protection of the uterus against penetration of pestilent bacteria.

These functions are performed, among other things, due to the direction of the mucus flow. It discharges out of the uterine cavity, thus “washing away” potential infectious agents. Besides, such a direction of flow performs the function of “a natural filter” of disabled sperm cells. The increased speed of flow of mucus along peripheral areas appears a special “barrier”.

Thus, the nature provides that, only the strongest sex cells can “reach” the destination. As far as it may take a few days for the emergence of the ovum, the mucus becomes an ally, rather than an enemy for the sperm cells. “Charging” with nutritive substances, produced by the mucus, they can stay in the uterine cervix up to 5-7 days, wait for the highly anticipated ovulation in the special niches – folds of the cervical mucous lining.

How does thickness of cervical mucus influence the ability of impregnation?

There is no doubt that the sperm cell can reach the ovum only through a relatively fluid barrier and only such an environment is most favorable for fertilization.

But as a rule, the organism puts out its resources rather sparingly. That is why, production of watery, i.e. fertile mucus (favorable for fertilization), takes place only in certain periods. The production of cervical mucus takes place based on certain cycle. It has to do with the fact that the female reproductive system provides for the ability of impregnation only at the time when ovulation takes place (which is natural). Thus, the performance of cervical glands comes to its peak in this very period.

Stages of cervical mucus and what it looks like

We distinguish between 6 basic stages of cervical mucus production:

  1. Dry days;
  2. Thick, sticky mucus;
  3. Cream-likedischarge;
  4. Profusesemi-fluiddischarge;
  5. Egg white type of mucus;
  6. Thickwhitishmucus.

The first two types of cervical mucus are observed immediately after the period and last for 3-4 days, depending on the duration of the MC. They point to the follicle-stimulating hormone’s control over the reproductive processes. It supervises maturation of the ovum, while the mucous glands are at rest. There is almost no mucus in the first stage, while the discharge, which appears in the second phase, is rather scant and opaque.

From stages 3 to 5, the process of mucus production falls under the influence of estrogen. This can explain the increased amount of discharge, which becomes less thick and thus more “hospitable”. The overall duration of these stages is about a week. The external look of the discharge varies from a cream-like white mass to sticky substance, resembling an egg white (in the setting of ovulation).

The sixth stage involves secretion of thick discharge due to the rising level of progesterone. Even the biochemical content of cervical mucus undergoes modification – there appears to be less acid content in the mucus.

Why is it necessary to keep watch over the cervical mucus?

Monitoring the production of cervical mucus is one of the methods of birth control. It involves maintenance of a special record book and calculation of “permissible” days (improbable days for fertilization).

For greater security, it is required to abstain from sexual life in the first month of maintaining such a record book. Starting the record by marking the menstruation with letter “M”, you should further bring in letter “D” – marking the dry days. They are followed by letter “N”, which may stand either for non-transparent mucus or non-fertile days. In fact, the choice of definitions is not important, as long as their meaning is clear for the woman, keeping the diary.

Further, you can bring in letters “C” (cream), “F” (fluid) and “E” (egg white) respectively. The highest point of production of mucus points to the probability of ovulation. After this, it is required to abstain from an intercourse for another 2-3 days, to avoid undesirable pregnancy. The days before menstruation can be marked by letter “W”- white mucus. They are also considered to be “safe”.

The cervical method has very low rate of safety (70%) and is advised to be used at least in combination with basal temperature testing. In this case, we can speak of the symptothermal method, which can guarantee higher degree of protection against unscheduled pregnancy.

Apart from constituting a method of birth control, observation of cervical mucus production stages guarantees control over the health of the reproductive system in general. Changes in the amount, coloring or smell of the discharge can be indicative of various diseases and require seeking medical help.

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