Vaginal brown discharge (brown spotting) is common among women and it is usually a cause for concern. Some women that experience vaginal discharge that is not white always feel there is a problem. However, this is not always true. Most women with brown discharge have no problems
This article will explain the causes of brown discharge, when its normal or abnormal.
What is brown Vaginal discharge?
Women in their reproductive years will experience white vaginal discharge. This is a natural way the vagina keeps itself clean. This common discharge can turn to brown if mixed with blood. In most women, it is not due to a serious problem.
What are the normal causes of brown discharge?
Most women that experience brown discharge usually have no problem. It is due to old blood that mixed with mucous discharge, bacteria and other vaginal cells. Your brown discharge is normal if
- You experience brown discharge without any odor, persistent bleeding, abdominal pain or severe itching of the vulva. If you experience brown discharge with these symptoms then you should inform your doctor.
- You experience brown discharge after termination of pregnancy (Abortion) or a miscarriage. It is possible for some of the old blood to come out later and then stop. It is usually not foul smelling and resolves in few days. In threatened miscarriage women may have continuous bleeding and abdominal pain. This is not normal and you should inform your doctor.
- You experience brown discharge at the middle of your menstrual cycle. This is likely due to ovulation. Ovulation is the process where the egg is released from the ovary. It occurs in women 12 to 16 days before your next period. During release of egg from the ovarian follicle, there is mild bleeding. This blood is usually old blood (brown) and mix up with cervical mucous and other vaginal cell to cause brown vaginal discharge or spotting.
Other normal causes of brown spotting
- Also brown spotting may be early signs of pregnancy. After union of the sperm and egg, the embryo or baby is formed. The baby will need to be implanted into the covering of the uterus (endometrium) where it will be nourished for growth. During this process, women may experience slight bleeding (implantation bleeding) that can cause brown vaginal discharge. This is sometimes difficult to differentiate from ovulation. However, if your bleeding continues for a log time then you should inform your doctor. Also, if you suspect pregnancy, you should inform your doctor or run a pregnancy test.
- Presence of brown discharge in women that are more than 40 years with irregular menstruation is a sign of perimenopause. During perimenopause, you may experience brown discharge. Its a sign menopause is just around the corner. Other symptoms you may experience are mood swing, dry vagina due to low estrogen level, sleepless nights.
- You are currently taking a birth control pills as these can alter your body hormones. Women taking these pill can sometimes experience mild vaginal spotting. This is normal. However, if your continue bleeding you should inform your doctor.
- You experience brown discharge after your period. This is normal as during menstruation some tissue covering the uterus (endometrium) are not remove. The uterus will try to expel remaining endometrial tissues resulting to brown spotting or discharge. It is usually dark with no odor. In addition, there are some women that experience dark discharge before their period. This may be due to removal of old endometrial tissue.
- Sometime, women could experience dark discharge before their menses starts. This could be after a rough sexual intercourse. Minor vaginal tear from intercourse or removal of old endometrial tissues can cause this.
Abnormal causes of brown discharge?
The common normal discharge in women is white vaginal discharge. It may be thick when you are close to your period or watery clear discharge in the middle of your menstrual cycle. This is normal.
In addition, white discharge can turn yellow on contact with air. A brown spotting with no vaginal itching or foul smelling is normal in women.
The commonest cause of abnormal brown discharge in women is PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). It is due to ascending infection ( gonorrhea, chlamydia or BV) that affects the fallopian tubes. If you experience brown discharge with fever, low abdomen pain, vaginal discharge with odor then its important to see your doctor.
Also, previous abnormal discharge due to vaginal infections could be a problem. If you experience difficulty in getting pregnant, then you should see your doctor. This is because PID can cause infertility in women. PID can also distort the fallopian tubes causing ectopic pregnancy.
When should i see my doctor if i have brown discharge?
Most women that experience brown discharge usually have no other symptoms. However, if you experience any of the below symptoms with your dark discharge then you should visit your doctor.
- Abdominal pain that is severe and persistent. Women may sometimes experience mild low abdomen pain during ovulation and implantation. However, if it becomes severe and persistent then its abnormal.
- Your discharge is with odor or foul smelling. You experience excessive bleeding for a long time
- Fever or high body temperature
- You experience vaginal itching and soreness
- Painful urination
How is abnormal brown discharge treated in women?
If your discharge is abnormal, then you will need treatment. Your doctor will will run some test. Use of antibiotics will be used to treat the vaginal infection. However, if your brown discharge occurs when you ovulate or during implantation, then it will resolve on its own.
Frequently Asked Questions
You asked about brown discharge and we answered. Here are some questions about brownish dark discharge.
Why is my discharge brown?
Your discharge is brown because of old blood that mixes with vaginal discharge. It is not a problem most times. It is odorless without vaginal itching.
Why do i have a lot of discharge?
Excessive discharge that is clear, non itching and no odor is not a problem. Most breastfeeding mothers and women during ovulation will discharge more. Also, sexual intercourse and pregnancy can increase vaginal discharge.
Is brown discharge a sign of pregnancy?
Yes. Brown discharge can be an early sign of pregnancy in women. However, there are pregnancy symptoms you should be aware of — Mood swings,frequent urination, abdominal bloating. It is also important to get tested.
Why do i have brown discharge instead of period?
Brown discharge can be from many causes. It may be that you are ovulating, due to your birth control pill, or due to removal of old endometrial tissues. It is mostly normal in women.
Why do i have brown discharge before my period?
Some women during their last menstruation may not have totally shred all endometrial tissues. They may experience brown spotting before their next period.
Why do i have brown discharge between periods?
This is most likely due to ovulation. If you know when you ovulate, then this brown discharge is normal and resolves on its own.
Why do i have light brown discharge after period?
Light brown discharge after your period is due to remnant endometrial tissues that is expelled from the uterus. You don’t have to worry and it should resolve in few days.
Why do i have brown smelling discharge?
This is abnormal. You should inform your doctor and could be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease. Early detection and treatment is important to prevent complications.
Now its your turn. Do you have brown spotting? Share your symptoms and questions.