Brown Discharge: 11 Possible Causes and Symptoms

by | Aug 16, 2019

 

Experience brown discharge on your underwear or when you wipe can be concerning. You may feel scared or worried when you see it the first time. But most of the time, there is nothing to be worried about. 

Brown discharge happens more common than you may think. It is simply a few drops of old blood. When the blood is fresh, it has a bright color. But when it contacts air, it starts to turn brown. Your blood is simply oxidized. 

Brown discharge often doesn’t indicate any problem. But they can have many possible causes, such as infections, period, vigorous sex, menopause, infection, or ectopic pregnancy. If you are highly concerned about it, consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible. It is always a good idea to be safe.

 

What is brown discharge?

Brown discharge is the cervical mucus mixed with blood. When blood gets older, its color turns brown. The texture and amount of cervical mucus change within a menstrual cycle due to the hormone levels. Tracking your actual hormone levels with Mira helps you to get pregnant faster. 

 

What can cause brown discharge?

Many things can cause brown discharge, but most of them are not concerning. However, you need to pay attention to if there are other symptoms accompanying the brown discharge. If so, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. 

Here are some common causes of brown discharge:

 

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection of the vagina, caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance. The reason for the infection is unclear. But the risk is associated with unprotected sex or frequent douching. 

It often happens with women in the reproductive age. It is characterized by foul-smelling vaginal odor together with brown discharge.

 

Perimenopause

You may see brown discharge or light bleeding during the early stage of menopause. This is often caused by changes in hormone levels. This can happen in your early 40s. You may also experience perimenopause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and headaches.

 

Period

If you see brown discharge before a period, it could be part of your period. Brown discharge can happen at the beginning or end of your period. 

Your uterus is cleaning itself out when the period flow gets light. The discharge could last for a couple of days after the end of your period. It should gradually get lighter and disappear over time. 

 

Ovulation

Rarely, some women experience brown discharge around the days of ovulation. It is mostly due to the drop in estrogen levels after ovulation, which is totally normal.

 

Ovarian cyst

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that exist inside the ovaries. You often don’t feel it, but it can cause lower back pain, menstruation pain, pressure, and brown spotting. Call a healthcare professional if you feel any of these symptoms. Ovarian cyst can only be detected by ultrasound.

 

Implantation bleeding

Brown discharge can be a sign of pregnancy and implantation. When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining, small bleeding could happen. Some women report they only notice implantation bleeding by the brown spotting when they wipe. You should do a pregnancy test on the first day of the missed period to confirm pregnancy. 

 

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is an early pregnancy outside of the uterus. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube and are thus sometimes called tubal pregnancies. 

The fallopian tube is not designed to host the fetal development. Ectopic pregnancy must be treated or it can cause heavy bleeding. It occurs in 1 out of 50 pregnancies. 

 

Breakthrough bleeding

Breakthrough bleeding is any vaginal bleeding you may experience between your menstruations or while you are pregnant. Many reasons could lead to breakthrough bleeding, such as sensitive cervix, change of hormonal birth control pills, and inflammation. If you see continuous and heavy bleeding, please seek help from a healthcare professional.

 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a commonly occurring problem in women’s health. It affects ~10% of women globally. 

Together with a heavy period, acne, weight gain, and irregular ovulation, the brown discharge can also be a symptom of PCOS. PCOS is caused by hormone imbalances. Understand your fertility hormones to know better about your body.

 

Hormonal birth control

A sudden change or stop of hormonal birth control can lead to a change in hormone levels, which can cause light bleeding. 

 

Cervical cancer

Rarely, brown discharge can be a sign of cervical cancer, if it occurs together with unusual weight lose, heaving period, painful sex, or weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms together with brown discharge, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor as soon as possible.

 

Can brown discharge be a sign of pregnancy?

Brown discharge can be a sign of implantation bleeding or early pregnancy. When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining, light bleeding can happen. However, you should use a pregnancy test to check your hCG hormone level to confirm it is a pregnancy.

Brown discharge can happen during early pregnancy. Although it sounds scary, it actually can be normal. If you are pregnant and experiencing spotting, you should consult with your doctor. It is always a good idea to be safe.

 

When should I talk to my doctor?

You probably don’t need to talk to a doctor if you have occasional and light brown discharge. 

If you experience extended or heavy bleeding, together with itching, pain, rash, weak, cramp, or smell, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to make sure everything is fine.

 

Order Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

Reserve Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant?

Starting a family can be a thrilling decision in your life. But it can also be stressful and full of challenges. It often takes longer than expected. Many women are not aware of these challenges until they actually start trying to conceive. Whether you have been trying to conceive for a while, over age 35, had a miscarriage, or with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you may want to know how long it takes to get pregnant. Most couples got pregnant within six months to a year, with regular unprotected sex. You should see a fertility specialist if you are unable to conceive after a year.

When Are You Most Fertile? Find Out Your Chance of Pregnancy

If you are trying to get pregnant, you may wonder how to capture the best time. You may have read online that there is something called a “fertile window”. But what does it mean? And when is your specific window? Pinpointing to peak fertility is essential to succeed in a trying-to-conceive journey. In this article, we will get your questions answered. Let’s look into why understanding your fertile window is so important.

How to Read an Ovulation Test?

When trying to conceive, knowing when ovulation happens gives you more control and maximizes your chances of success. You may have spent a lot of time researching how to read the faint line on an ovulation test kit. And you may just not see a positive result after testing for a while. You may wonder how to use an ovulation test properly to get the most accurate test result, especially the egg only lives 12 – 24 hours after you ovulate.