There may be several reasons behind the unusual brown vaginal discharge. If the discharge is normal, it is not of any harm to the female. Yes, there are chances that brown discharge may look alarming, but mostly it is not a major health concern.
You are most likely to experience brown discharge at the beginning or towards the end of your periods. The blood flow is usually slower at these instances. The slow flow of blood allows it to get oxidized, due to which it may appear brown. This is a very common factor that contributes to the appearance of brown vaginal discharge.
Other common reasons for brown discharge are:
- Implantation Bleeding
- Birth Control
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Breakthrough bleeding
- Sexually Transmitted Disease or Infection.
- Lochia (vaginal discharge after child birth)
Why is there Brown Discharge?
- Brown discharge is common among most females, especially around two to three days before the periods. In such cases, brown discharge may be a sign of period coming.
- Some women have brown discharge after their menstrual cycle. This happens when the uterus cleans itself after the periods. There may be very light or no bleeding in such a case. There can be very light discharge for several days after the period ends.
- Use of Contraceptives or Hormonal Birth Control can also cause brown vaginal discharge. The uterine lining gets thinner if the female uses hormonal birth control. This condition may result in mild brown discharge even when there is no period. Brown discharge occurs in such a case as the body tries to adapt to the changes in the hormonal levels.
- In rare cases, a female may experience brown discharge as a sign of ovulation. When the mature egg breaks open the ovary, there may be slight bleeding. The color of the vaginal discharge can be reddish pink to brown. Sometimes, it also looks brown discharge mixed with clear discharge. The female can also experience abdominal pain and cramps in such situations.
- Brown discharge may also be a result of Breakthrough bleeding. There is mild light brown discharge in this case. A female may experience mild brown discharge between period cycles.
- Some women may have mild brown discharge after sexual intercourse. This may be a result of vigorous intercourse. In such cases, brown discharge occurs due to slight bleeding of the cervix (vaginal canal).
- Hypomenorrhea– Females who have very light bleeding during periods have a condition called hypomenorrhea. Pinkish or brown discharge can happen commonly instead of proper bleeding in the cases of hypomenorrhea.
- Cysts in the ovary- Multiple cysts in the ovary can lead to brown discharge. But in case, when a female has multiple cysts in her ovary and experiences heaviness in the lower abdomen, it indicates Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Gynecological help is a must in such a condition.
- Endometriosis- When the lining of the uterus grows out of the uterus, it is called endometriosis. Endometriosis usually cause intense pain and brown discharge. It is again a medical condition that requires proper treatment.
Brown Discharge- A Sign of Pregnancy?
A female may experience light bleeding and abdominal cramps in her early pregnancy. Brown discharge may be a cause of implantation bleeding, as an early sign of pregnancy. Implantation Bleeding happens when the fertilized egg implants in the inner lining of the uterus. There may be slight bleeding that may be brown in color at this point.
This type of brown discharge generally happens around the time the female is expecting her period. In case a female has missed her period and has brown discharge instead, it is mostly a sign of pregnancy. Consult your gynecologist to the soonest in such a case.
Can brown discharge occur due to Infections?
The abnormal brown discharge accompanied by several other complications and symptoms may be something you need to consult with your gynecologist.
There may be certain infections that cause abnormal brown discharge. If you observe brown discharge for several days and it does not stop on its own, it is wise to visit a professional (gynecologist) and get help. Certain infections or diseases that cause brown discharge are:
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Brown discharge that occurs due to any of the aforementioned issues has other symptoms as well. Here are the other symptoms that accompany brown discharge in case of serious infection:
- Fishy or Foul smell from the discharge
- Itching or irritation in or around the vaginal area
- Pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Burning sensation or pain while urinating (dysuria)
- Abdominal Cramps or tenderness
- Mild or heavy fever
You should not take these symptoms casually, as they can get severe with time. So, waste no time and consult a gynecologist to the soonest when you observe discomfort or pain accompanied by brown discharge during pregnancy.