Women come across different types of discharges from time to time. At times, it becomes a cause of tension and can freak us out. Although in most cases it is just a normal action of the body, at times it can indicate a number of other issues. Thus, here we present before you an article about the different types of brown vaginal discharge and white discharges at different times. We’ve discussed the causes or reason behind brown discharge, different types of brown vaginal discharge, including dark brown discharge, brown discharge during periods or before periods, and brown discharge during pregnancy. So keep reading.
Brown Vaginal Discharge
Brown discharge, generally termed as spotting is caused when the mucoid fluid produced in the vagina or the cervix has blood, thus giving the fluid its reddish-brown color. It isn’t a situation that acquires much medical attention. Almost all women experience brown discharge at some point in time in their lives. It can occur during the period or before your period starts or after it ends. It can even occur during pregnancy, especially during the first or second week or during the first or the second trimester. Though it is considered a regular thing to have such discharges, it can also be an indication of some underlying health issue. The time at which such discharge occurs can be indicative of various health issues. The difference in the color of discharge can also be highly helpful in finding out the cause. There can be a plethora of reasons behind having such discharges like the natural process of coming out of the uterus line and other dead cells or other sexually transmitted diseases. Occasional discharge is not a matter of concern, but if continues for a while or it occurs with other symptoms, it can be indicative of some issue.
Brown Discharge After Period
A lot of women across the globe experience brown discharge or spotting after periods. It is very common, but in a few cases, it is accompanied by pain or itching in the vaginal region. The vaginal area tends to become dry, or the person develops a habit of frequent urination. If so, it can have a serious underlying cause. Other symptoms like loss of appetite or psychological issues like depression or excessive mood swings can be suggestive of the same thing. In order to rule out the serious causes, one should try and keep a record of the pattern of periods and such discharges.
The reason for brown discharge varies from women to women. Some of them are listed below: –
- A fluctuation in the hormone levels of the body is a common cause. It can happen when a woman suddenly stops taking birth control pills, which she has been taking for a while. It causes a sudden change in hormonal levels, thus leading to brown discharge.
- If brown discharge happens after about 3 or 4 weeks after you’ve stopped menstruating, it can be because of implantation and the discharge maybe implantation bleeding. It occurs during the first or the second week of the pregnancy.
- Another most common reason can be the shedding of the endometrium wall in which the old blood and tissues are thrown out of the body naturally. If such issue continues for a while and the discharge is heavy, it is better to consult a doctor.
- If such discharge occurs with a feeling of pain or burning or itchy sensation and the discharge has a foul smell, it can be an indication of yeast infection.
- Pelvic Inflammation Disease (PID) affects various reproductive organs of a female’s body like the Fallopian tube, uterus or the ovaries and can also cause brown or white discharges.
- Brown discharge can also occur because of bacterial vaginosis. The discharge, in this case, can have abnormal coloring and also foul smell.
- Brown discharge can also be suggestive of serious issues like damage to the internal parts or cervical cancer.
Brown Discharge Before Period
Brown discharge before periods can occasionally occur, due to changes in the cycle. There can be a wide variety of causes behind brown discharges before periods. It can vary from a mistake in using birth control pills or natural functions like ovulation, hormonal imbalance or change, injury or other causes related to the onset of a particular disease. Some of the most common reasons are stated below:
- Due to irregularities in the menstrual cycle, the complex coordination of various hormones can become abnormal. This improper coordination of the hormones can delay the release of the matured egg from the ovary. These issues can lead to an imbalance in the hormones, thereby causing irregularities in the periods. Such irregularity in the menstruation can also be caused by a lot of anxiety and stress, some serious illness or dieting too much.
- The usage of birth control devices like copper intrauterine device or vaginal rings can also lead to spotting before periods. Other hormonal birth control options like mini-pills, depot shots or patches can also simulate the spotting. It generally happens three months from the commencement of the period. Another reason for such pre-period spotting can be the improper way of taking the pills or not following the doctor’s prescription completely.
- Bleeding during ovulation is a common phenomenon. Such bleeding can occur halfway through the menstrual cycle. It can also cause pain on one side of the lower stomach and also mid-cycle. Such spotting can also be caused because of implantation bleeding. Though the bleeding due to implantation is common.
- There can also be bleeding due to an injury to the vagina or the cervix. This injury can be because of manipulation of the internal organs. It can be caused by aggressive intercourse or other medical tests like pap smear test. Such discharge can also be caused due to sexually transmitted diseases.
- Brown discharge can also be on account of bleeding of internal organs like the lower intestine or cervical or ovarian cancer or because of the growth of polyps in the cervix. Another issue called Endometriosis can also lead to irregular bleeding.
Dark Brown Discharge
Getting a dark brown discharge from the vagina is not something severe. It generally means that the vagina is cleaning itself from old and unused blood, tissues and uterine walls that thickened to receive the fertilized egg. Though this is not the sole reason. There can be some other causes which generally isn’t a matter of concern. Most of the issues can be solved with just a simple change in diet. Some of the possible reasons for getting a dark brown discharge are stated below: –
- The exclusion of the endometrium walls may not take place at once. Due to the incomplete shedding of the endometrium walls (because the fertilization of the egg did not occur) can be a cause of dark brown discharge. Since the wall has many layers, one may have such discharges for a considerable period until the entire unused wall is thrown out of the body. The adrenal hormones released by the adrenal glands during the time of stress can seriously affect the secretion and activity of the sex hormones. Thus, stress and anxiety can be another reason. When a female is under a tremendous amount of pressure or workload which causes a lot of stress, she is bound to have irregular menstrual cycles due to improper functioning of the sex hormones. During stress and depression, there can be a delay in the shedding of the endometrium wall. Thus, the blood collected can get oxidized and can have the dark brown color.
- Having dark brown discharge can also be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. The dark brown discharge at the time of pregnancy is due to implantation. Although, dark brown discharges in the later stages of pregnancy is generally not a good sign and can be due to issues like miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Sexually transmitted disease can be yet another cause. Diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, etc., are sexually transmitted.
- Infertility, loss of appetite, vomiting or burning sensation can occur along with brown discharges in these cases
- A precancerous change in the epithelial cells leads to a condition known as cervical dysplasia, which can also lead to dark brown vaginal discharge. Cervical polyps are extremely fragile and smooth finger-like structure growing out of the mucus layer. These can be easily and painlessly removed. They can differ in color from red to purple. When these are disturbed, they can give rise to discharge which may have a dark brown color.
- One of the serious causes of such discharge can be traced to be Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is a type of serious ovary infection when one has more than one sexual partner.
- Another serious reason can be cervical cancer.
Brown Discharge When Not Pregnant
As already stated before, Brown discharge is the throwing away of clotted unused blood and tissues. It is not necessarily a case of pregnancy either. There can be a number of other causes too. Some of the major ones are listed below: –
1. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:
PID is usually an infection of the ovaries (though there may be other issues too). The discharge that takes place in this case generally has a very foul smell. Other than the foul-smelling brown discharge other symptoms like the lower abdominal pain are also felt just after a few days from last menstrual cycle. The pain in the abdomen can be constant or dull, aching at different times. It can also be in the form of cramps and may occur on both sides of the stomach. There may also be a few episodes of fever and other symptoms resembling the flu. This can occur over a period of a few months after getting an Intra Uterine Device being inserted or after getting an STD infection. This can also occur because of different bacterial infections. Women who suffer from PID generally bleed after a sexual intercourse.
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS):
Not all ovarian cysts are because of polycystic ovarian syndrome, and at the same time not all cases of PCOS will have ovarian cysts. PCOS is caused due to hormonal imbalance which occurs with other symptoms too. Some of them include coming of masculine skin characteristics. Some of them are acne, a sudden increase in growth of facial hair, flushing skin. One can also have a loss of appetite or other disturbances in appetite. Though, there are no cases of morning sickness, which occurs during the early stages of pregnancy
3. Ovarian Cysts:
Having ovarian cysts can also cause brown discharge. As already mentioned, ovarian cysts are different from PCOS. Unlike PCOS, there is no change leading to male skin characters. One generally experiences pain in the abdomen. A little pain is also felt in the region of lower back and thighs.
Brown Discharge Instead Of period
During the menstrual cycle, the consistency and color of the blood can keep changing. It can vary in its consistency of being thin and watery to thick and with clots. The color can be any shade of red or brown. The flow can be heavy at times, and at times it can be very light. Brown discharge during periods is generally found at the end because the blood gets discolored as it gets old and oxidized. Such discharge can also occur in between the menstrual cycle during the period of ovulation. It is common in girls whose menstrual cycle has just commenced or the women who take birth control measures on a regular basis.
If the woman is more than 40 years, it can also be a sign of menopause and could be accompanied by excessive mood swings and other symptoms of menopause. Such issues also occur in case of excessive psychological stress and emotional conditions. In severe stressful situations, the hormones in the body no longer remain balanced, thereby causing such anomalies. It even happens due to the inflammation of internal body parts, especially during the post-surgery phase. At times, the sudden change in hormone secretion can also initiate such brown discharge. Even a sudden change in weather can trigger an imbalance of the hormones. Another important reason for the same can be excessive weight loss in a short amount of time. Such discharge during or even after or before period can be considered normal, but it may be a cause of some underlying issue at times. One must call a doctor if the following issues as stated under occur: –
- If the flow during period lasts for more than seven days
- In case you get irregular flow, or it occurs before 21 days or after 35 days
- In case you get no flow for more than a period of 2 months
- If you get bleeding in between the periods
- If there is pain in the vagina
- In case you have abdominal pain
- If you get high fever (it can be a symptom of some infection
- If you always feel tired or fatigue
- If it occurs during medication for breast cancer
- If you get a very heavy flow (much more than usual)
Brown Discharge At The Beginning of the Period
As stated earlier, it is perfectly normal to get brown discharge before the period unless it is followed by other symptoms like itching, pain or foul-smelling discharge. Such spotting can occur when one stops taking birth control measure after a long time. It is not a cause of concern in most of the cases though if it continues for a long period or other symptoms occur with it, then it is better to consult the doctor at least once.
Different types of discharges at different times can be indicative of some things. White discharge accompanied with itching can be a sign of yeast infection. Though the occurrence of white discharge of different consistency at different stages of the menstrual cycle is a common occurrence. White discharge can occur after doing strenuous exercise. During fertility period, that is in between the menstrual cycle such discharges help the sperms reach the egg and fertilize it. It also helps in flushing out germs. As the hormone levels in our body changes, the amount of discharge from the body also varies along with its consistency and appetence. At the end of the flow, it appears to be white thick liquid, which helps to protect the vagina from infection. When it occurs in between the cycle, it’s to help in fertilization. Around the time of ovulation, the mucus produced by the cervix increases. It also becomes more clear and stretchy. Clear watery discharge with itching can be indicative of thrush. Most of the females get thrush at least once in their lifetime. It can be easily treated with anti-fungal medication. It is normal to get a clear watery discharge, but if it occurs in a large amount, then it can be considered as an early sign of pregnancy. At times, people tend to get a jelly-like thick discharge. Such discharge shows that the female is at the peak of ovulation. Such discharge is made up of fertile mucus. This fertile mucus helps in the nourishment of the sperm cells and allows them to find their way through the vagina to the egg.
This was all about the brown, dark brown and watery discharges from the vagina. We hope you were able to find answers related to your issues. In case, there still are lingering doubts about brown discharge, feel free to contact us with your questions, advice, and suggestions. We will be happy to help you.