RECOGNISING THE CHANGES IN CERVICAL MUCUS


During the menstrual cycle changes take place in the mucus produced by the cells lining the cervical canal. Cervical mucus can be recognised by sensation, by appearance and by testing with the finger-tip.


Sensation

Sensation is very important and often the most difficult to learn. Throughout the day the presence or absence of mucus will be recognised by the sensation at the vulva (the vaginal lips), the way the beginning of a period is noticed. The sensation may be a distinct feeling of dryness, of dampness or moistness, stickiness, wetness, slipperiness or lubrication.


Appearance

Soft white toilet tissue should be used to blot or wipe the vulva. There may be dampness only on the tissue resulting from vaginal moistness. This moistness soaks into the tissue and any cervical mucus will appear raised as a blob on the tissue. The colour should be noted. It may be white, creamy, opaque, or transparent (clear).

Mucus is often noticed on underclothing, where it will have dried slightly causing some alteration in its characteristics.


  Finger Testing

A finger-tip can be lightly applied to the mucus on the tissue and then pulled gently away to test its capacity to stretch. It may feel sticky and break easily, or it may feel smoother and slippery like raw egg white and stretch between the thumb and first finger, from a little up to several inches before it breaks. This stretchiness is described as the Spinnbarkeit or Spinn effect, and shows that the mucus is highly fertile.


Sensation
at Vulva
Finger Test
Appearance
Moist
or
Sticky
Early Mucus
Scanty
Thick
White
Sticky
Holds its shape
Wetter
Transitional Mucus
Increasing Amounts
Thinner
Cloudy
Slightly Stretchy
Slippery
Highly Fertile Mucus
Profuse
Thin
Transparent
Stretchy
(like raw egg white)



CHANGES IN CERVICAL MUCUS DURING THE FERTILITY CYCLE

Pre-ovulatory relatively infertile phase

Following the menstrual period there may be several dry days.

These days may be absent in short cycles and numerous in long cycles.

A feeling of dryness or a positive sensation of nothingness at the vulva will be experienced. There will be no visible mucus.


The fertile phase

As the oestrogen levels rise, cervical mucus will be felt at the vulva.

At first it will give a sensation of moistness or stickiness and will appear in scant amounts - white or creamy-coloured.

On finger testing the mucus will hold its shape and break easily.

  • The mucus goes through a transitional phase where increasing amounts of cloudy mucus secretion may be observed.

    It may be slightly stretchy on finger testing producing a wetter sensation at the vulva.

  • As the oestrogen levels continue to rise with approaching ovulation, the mucus will become more profuse, and there may be up to a tenfold increase in volume.

    It will give a sensation of lubrication or slipperiness at the vulva.

    The appearance will be similar to that of raw egg white, thin, watery and transparent.

    On finger-testing this highly fertile mucus may stretch for several inches before it breaks.

  • Fertile mucus maintains the life of sperm, nourishes it and allows it to pass freely through the cervix.

    In fertile mucus, sperm may live for up to three days, in rare circumstances for five days or even longer.


  Peak day

Peak day denotes the LAST day on which this highly fertile-type slippery, transparent, stretchy mucus is either seen or felt.


Post-ovulatory completely infertile phase

During the post-ovulatory phase, following peak day the slippery sensation is lost and there will be a relatively abrupt return to stickiness or dryness again.

This subjective symptom reflects the presence of progesterone, which thickens the mucus again forming a plug at the cervix acting as an impenetrable barrier to sperm.

  • The amount and quality of mucus will vary from woman to woman and also from one cycle to the next.

  • A woman should be alert to any changes in sensation and to even relatively small amounts of mucus.

  • If a woman is finding difficulty detecting mucus externally, it is often recognised more easily after exercise or a bowel movement.

  • It may also help to use the Kegel exercise or a slight bearing down action to expel any mucus.


More - Distinguisging Cervical Mucus - Book & Video'



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