What Is White Mucus?

The nose produces white mucus.
The cervix typically produces white mucus throughout most of the month.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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White mucus is a substance which is produced by the body in regions known as mucus membranes. The nose and cervix are both examples of areas in the body which may produce normal white mucus. In most cases, mucus that is white in color is considered normal and healthy and does not typically indicate an illness or infection. That said, any mucus which seems to originate in the lungs should be checked by a doctor.

Many people mistakenly believe that any type of mucus indicates illness. This is not so, since the body produces mucus almost constantly to help prevent infection. The nose, for instance, continuously manufacturers a thick white mucus which accumulates inside the nostrils to catch dust, dirt, and other bacteria so that it doesn’t enter the body. The cervix in females also produces mucus throughout the menstrual cycle to help aid in fertility.

It is only when white mucus becomes yellow, green, brown, or another unusual color that illness is a possibility. Sometimes nasal mucus will take on a yellow or green color if high levels of dust or germs have been inhaled, even if illness has not occurred. Vaginal or cervical mucus that is any color other than clear, white, or off-white should be investigated by a doctor.

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The cervix typically creates white mucus throughout most of the month, and clear mucus during ovulation. Green or yellow discharge can indicate a vaginal infection caused by bacteria or sexually transmitted diseases. Mucus should also be odorless. An unpleasant or fishy smell is a strong indicator that an infection is present. Foamy or unusually thick discharge can also be a sign of infection.

Sometimes even white mucus can indicate an infection if it becomes thick or chunky in texture, similar to cottage cheese. These are symptoms of a yeast infection when they occur along with itching, burning, or inflammation. Medications can be used to treat the vast majority of vaginal or cervical infections. They can also be prevented in some cases by using a condom during sex.

Any mucus, whether white or another color, that seems to come from the chest or lungs should be taken seriously. Although the lungs do produce mucus regularly to help ward off infection, when enough is produced to become noticeable it could indicate that an illness is already present. This is especially true when accompanied by a cough or other symptoms like shortness of breath or wheezing.

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shell4life
Post 4

@cloudel – Yellow or green mucus usually signifies an infection, but there are times when it is only temporary. If you have a lot of allergens in your nose at once, the mucus can turn yellow for just a short time.

This happened to me when I moved into a new place. I had to clean out the outdoor laundry room, which was filled with layers of dirt and dust.

Soon after I started wiping down the shelves and sweeping the floors, the dust filled the air and also my sinuses. I breathed it in, and I began coughing.

For days after that, the mucus from both my nose and my chest was bright yellow. I was coughing up lots of it, and I knew that my cleaning spree had caused this.

cloudel
Post 3

My allergies give me endless grief. It seems I am always blowing my nose. A handful of white mucus always comes out, and as long as the irritant remains in my sinuses, it keeps on coming.

I know that I am alright as long as the mucus remains white. Once it turns bright colors, like yellow and green, I know that my sinuses have become infected.

The white mucus dries up and gives way to chunks of tough yellow mucus. It sticks way back inside of my nose, and I have to blow forcefully to make it come out.

I always dread it when my white mucus turns another color. This means I will have to go get some antibiotics to clear up the infection.

OeKc05
Post 2

I usually know that I have a yeast infection before I even glance at the discharge. The unbearable itching is a dead giveaway.

Once it starts to itch, it doesn't stop. I am tempted to scratch the area, but I know that this will only make it burn, and the itching will continue.

My underwear is always filled with a lumpy white mucus when I have a yeast infection. I can feel the mucus all up inside of my vaginal canal, and it seems to itch way up there.

The mucus is just confirmation of what I already knew. However, it does help convince my doctor that what I have is a yeast infection. She always asks about the color and consistency of my discharge before doing an examination.

orangey03
Post 1

I always wear brightly colored underwear, so it is hard for me to tell if my vaginal mucus is a strange color. Generally, if I don't notice an odor or itching, I just assume that everything is normal.

However, when I started to notice a strong odor, I decided I needed to come up with a way to see the color of my discharge. I started wearing pantyliners, which are white.

I could see that the mucus was yellow instead of clear, so I made an appointment with my doctor. I did have a bacterial infection, so it's a good thing I checked the color of the mucus.

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