What Does Brown Vaginal Discharge Indicate?


Brown Vaginal Discharge after or before periods is very common among women, and the color of the vaginal discharge tells a lot about a woman’s health. It is an indicator that shows how healthy a woman’s reproductive system is. It is often taken casually but at times it can contribute to a lot of complications ranging from ectopic Pregnancy to even Cancer. Hence, it is really important to see a doctor if you encounter problems such as pinkish-brown discharge frequently.

There are various factors that can lead to such brown discharge. This can not only occur before or after periods but can also happen at the time of ovulation, pregnancy or due to any other health issues related to the reproductive cycle.

Why is the Discharge brown in colour ? 

Usually, vaginal discharge is white, transparent and thin and every woman experiences such vaginal discharge on a daily basis and it is completely harmless. However, when vaginal discharge is of brown color, it implies that it contains some amount of blood. At times, old blood takes time to come out from the uterus and that is why the color of the same turns brown. Such brown discharge can also be the sign of early pregnancy as bleeding can occur when implantation takes place.

Here in this article, we will try to dwell more into the causes of brown discharge, and we will also try to figure out when it is considered normal and when one should consult a doctor for the same.

Reasons for Brown Vaginal Discharge

1. Menstruation

It is really common for some women to experience this brown discharge before or after periods. Spotting before periods indicates that the body is getting prepared for menstruation. Even if a woman experiences the brown discharge after periods, it is not a matter of concern as it is the way the body responds to a woman’s monthly reproductive cycle. When blood remains in the body for a long time, it tends to be dark brown, while fresh blood is either red or pink.

Even dehydration during periods can lead to such brown discharge.

2. Irritants

Various irritants and foreign objects can be the reason of this brown vaginal discharge. If the vaginal canal has undergone bleeding before, it can lead to brown discharge later on. Also, after having sexual intercourse for the first time or placing any foreign object like copper T or vaginal ring in the vagina, leads to such a discharge. There can be various reasons for cervix irritation like urinary tract infection or exposure to chemicals. If the discharge has occurred due to any of these reasons then it can also lead to pain and itching during intercourse or even while urinating.

3. Birth Control Pills

Women can also experience vaginal discharge while taking any form of synthetic hormones. While switching to birth control pills for birth control, external hormonal intake can lead to this discharge. Such birth control pills or any other birth control measures involving synthetic hormones can lead to hormonal imbalance leading to breakthrough bleeding. Such bleeding happens usually when a woman skips the regular pill or forgets to change the patch that she has been using for birth control.

4. Hormonal imbalance

As discussed in the previous point, the intake of synthetic hormones can create hormonal imbalance in the body leading to brown vaginal discharge. However, apart from the external intake of these medicines, various other reasons like thyroid problems can also contribute to hormonal imbalance. Hormones are primarily responsible for menstruation and imbalance in the same can lead to vaginal discharge. Such bleeding is also very common during menopause.

5. Sexually transmitted infections

Various infections, especially, sexually transmitted infections can be the reason of this brown vaginal discharge. The most common infections leading to such discharge are gonorrhea, bacterial infections, and pelvic infections. One can also experience symptoms like pain in the pelvic area, pain during intercourse, pain while urinating and unpleasant odor. Such problems require immediate medical attention.

6. Ectopic pregnancy

At times while trying to conceive, the fertilized egg gets attached to the outer lining of the uterus, usually in any of the fallopian tubes. Such a pregnancy is not stable and the embryo fails to develop, leading to complications in the female body. Those who are expecting to conceive and experience such discharge must consult their doctor immediately to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.

7. During ovulation

Ovulation usually takes place in the middle of the menstrual cycle. Some women may notice slight bleeding when the ovary releases an egg. Such discharge may be accompanied by ovulation cramps and weakness.

8. Cyst

Cysts in ovaries are sacs filled with fluid. Women may experience such cysts during childbearing age. At times such cysts resolve themselves. However, a few of them may not resolve and keep on growing leading to difficulty in conceiving. Brown vaginal discharge is the most common sign of growing cysts. Apart from this, women may experience pain in the pelvic area, pain during intercourse, bloating, nausea, pain while urinating and nausea. Any woman experiencing such problems must seek a doctor’s advice at the earliest.

9. Miscarriage

Loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks is termed a miscarriage. Any woman experiencing brown vaginal discharge during pregnancy especially before 20 weeks must rush to the doctor immediately. However, there are women who may experience bleeding during the first trimester without losing pregnancy, but even in that case, it is a must to seek a doctor’s advice.

10. Post child delivery

After child delivery, women may experience slight brown discharge. Such vaginal discharge after delivery is usually called Lochia. Initially after giving birth, there may be heavy bleeding but eventually, after some days the bleeding may lighten and soon after that it may turn into a light brown vaginal discharge.

11. Hypomenorrhea

There are many women who usually do not experience heavy bleeding and have very light periods even during initial period days. Such a condition among women is called hypomenorrhea. Women having such a problem may have brown discharge during regular periods as well. Such light bleeding can be a sign of irregular periods.

Women may face light bleeding or irregular periods due to various reasons:

12. Cervical Cancer

This reason may be the rarest of all but in today’s time it is wise to never rule out any such concerns. Brown discharge is also one of the symptoms of cervical cancer, but as we said it is very rare and that is why if you usually experience such discharge you may rule out this reason otherwise seek medical intervention to take preventive measures.

When is it important to seek medical intervention?

Usually, this brown vaginal discharge is harmless, but if such a discharge is accompanied with any of the following symptoms then it is definitely a time to see your doctor immediately:

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Itching or burning sensation

Women often neglect their own health while taking care of everyone else around them and juggling with careers. It is really important for each one of us to take good care of ourselves by regularly visiting a doctor and paying attention to any of the unusual symptoms in our body.

Now that you know that such brown discharge may be the reason for some major complications, never overlook the same and seek medical intervention at the earliest.




Also recommended

What are the Causes of Irregular Periods? 12th Cause is Serious

5 Important Side Effects of Birth Control Methods You Should Know



I define myself as a voracious reader and an avid writer. I firmly believe that reading non-fiction has played a vital role in honing my writing skills. And when I am not writing, you will find me in trekking Himalayas/ Sahyadris or on a backpacking trip exploring the unexplored places.

Related Featured Articles

Next Post

9 Simple Home Remedies to Tackle Puffy Eyes. 4th is the easiest.

Previous Post

8 Easy Natural remedies for Panic Attacks