Question: Is reddish brown discharge due to pregnancy? Is it abnormal if I experience red discharge before period?
If you have reddish-brown discharge from your vagina, it’s normal you will be concerned something’s wrong.
Here’s an email I received from Ava (one of my readers)
I am 32 years old, and I’m currently being treated for polycystic ovarian syndrome. For 2 years after getting married, I have been trying to conceive.
Just a few days back, I noticed a light red discharge on my panties. Its three days now and I’m yet to see my menstrual period. I also feel my breast is heavy and sore with general body weakness. Could this be a sign of pregnancy? Please reply!!
Just like Ava, a reddish brown discharge can cause women to be worried. The truth is your vaginal discharge can change its color from time to time, and in most cases, whether it’s whitish or red in color, there is no reason to panic yet.
Red discharge before period starts may indicate implantation bleeding (which is an early sign of pregnancy).
If you’re trying to conceive and had sexual intercourse during your ovulation period, a red or pinkish brown discharge before period may be a sign of pregnancy.
Having said that, you should be aware of other reason that may cause reddish discharge. Endometriosis, ovulation, pelvic infections, rough sexual intercourse, birth control medications, cervical cancer, uterine incapacity and a ruptured ovarian cyst may cause a red discharge
This article explains the causes of red discharge from vagina, signs that show you are pregnant, and when to worry.
Why is my discharge red in color?
It’s normal that women will see a whitish stuff from their vagina from time to time. A whitish discharge without smell and vaginal itching is normal.
If your discharge becomes mixed with blood from the uterus, cervix or vaginal wall, it turns red in color. In most cases, it may not be due to anything serious.
What causes Reddish brown discharge in women?
If you are experiencing a red brown discharge, here are possible causes
1. You are pregnant
Red discharge before period starts could be due to implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding is one of the first signs you will experience during pregnancy and occurs because your baby attaches to the wall of the uterus.
After sexual intercourse, sperm is released into the female genital tract where it moves into your fallopian tube and fertilizes an egg.
After fertilization, your baby begins to divide and subsequently is transported back to the uterus where it burrows into a thickened endometrium that covers the uterus
If this happens, blood is released from the endometrium and moves slowly to your vagina through your cervix and forming a reddish brown discharge.
Because it will take hours or days for you to see implantation spotting, blood released loses oxygen and turns reddish brown.
If you’ve had sexual intercourse weeks back and now experience a reddish brown discharge before period, it’s likely you are pregnant. Other pregnancy symptoms you will experience too are
Breast pain and swelling
When pregnant, there are many ways to know, and you can start perceiving changes to your breast and other parts of your body. This occurs because hormones change your breast and make it heavy, feels sore and tender when touched.
Excessive vaginal discharge
It’s normal that your vaginal discharge frequency and volume will vary before, during and after ovulation. In most women, a dry vagina before period occurs because of a decreased level of menstrual cycle hormones.
Should you be expecting your period and have a red discharged followed by an excessive white watery discharge, it could be a sign of pregnancy.
Other signs of pregnancy are a missed period, dull abdominal cramps, fatigue, mood changes, food craving, and vomiting.
2. You had a rough sexual intercourse
Reddish discharge can occur after you’ve had a good time with your boyfriend or after forceful vaginal entry or rape.
Your vaginal epithelium and cervix may get traumatized during a rough vaginal sexual activity resulting in minor bleeding and a red discharge. Usually, it will take only a few hours or days to feel okay again.
Another reason you may have a red spotting is insufficient vaginal lubrication. It’s important to be fully aroused before intercourse to prevent vaginal tear and bleeding.
Ovulation is the mid-cycle release of one or more eggs from your ovary. During ovulation, and due to hormone changes with a drop in estrogen levels, some women may see reddish stuff from the vagina.
If you have a 28 days menstrual cycle, a reddish brown discharge a week after period may be due to ovulation.
4. Pelvic infections
If you’ve already had unsafe sexual intercourse (that is, without consistently using a condom), you could have contracted sexually transmitted infections.
Most times, you won’t know or have signs of infections; So, it’s important that you check for chlamydia, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections yearly.
If you are symptomatic, red spotting from your vagina can occur. Other pelvic infections symptoms are
- Burning sensation during intercourse and when you are urinating
- Redness of your vagina
- Vaginal and vulva swelling
- Green vaginal discharge
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s likely because of pelvic infections. Talk to your doctor quickly.
5. Birth control pills
Because you are trying to avoid pregnancy, you may have requested contraceptive medications from your doctor. If you did, and you experience a red discharge within the first 6 months, it’s nothing serious.
It’s not unusual that you are spotting on the pill, and like most women, you will feel better in few months time.
if you are on IUCD (intrauterine device), it could also cause vaginal bleeding and red discharge.
6. Uterine incapacity
Sometimes, after menstruation has ended, you may notice mild cramps and spotting for a few days. This occurs because of “uterine incapacity” when your womb fails to expel endometrial tissues completely.
If this happens, you will notice a reddish brown discharge that lasts only for a few days.
7. Cervical cancer
8. Ruptured ovarian cyst
10. Bleeding disorders
11. Uterine fibroids
Red discharge: 7 Reasons to worry
If you notice a red discharge, you should inform your doctor if you also experience any of the symptoms
- Your vaginal discharge smell offensively
- You notice a yellow discharge with itching
- You are experiencing a sudden sharp lower abdominal pain, either on the right or left side of your tummy.
- Your abdomen feels heavy and distended
- You experience heavy vaginal bleeding on birth control
- You begin to notice signs that you may be pregnant
- Red discharge for days to weeks that turn bloody
Pinkish red discharge but no period
If you are expecting your period to begin in a few days time, and then notice a pinkish red discharge, it could be due to pregnancy, delayed ovulation, vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, sexual intercourse with vaginal trauma, and uterine fibroids.
Reddish brown discharge but no period occurs mostly because of pregnancy. It’s important to confirm pregnancy by taking a pregnancy test.
What causes reddish brown discharge before period
A reddish brown discharge before period may be due to many reasons. If you’ve had sexual intercourse 2 or 3 weeks ago, and have breast pain, body weakness, vomiting, nausea, mood changes, a red discharge before period indicates you are pregnant. Take a pregnancy test.
What causes reddish brown discharge after period
Reddish brown discharge right after period occurs because of uterine contractions to expel leftover endometrium tissues. However, it could be due to ovulation bleeding, pelvic infections, birth control side effects, chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.