Brown vaginal discharge is very alarming to most women; however, most of the time brown vaginal discharge is normal. This usually happens right after your period ends. It is a cleaning drainage of what is left over from your period; a cleaning out of old blood, old dead cells and bacteria mixed with old dry blood. Dry blood often looks brown. 

In some women, having light brown or dark brown vaginal discharge before your period is possible, most likely it is the sign of your coming period. Vaginal discharge is common and it is a healthy occurrence in human females before or after the start of your period. It is something that most women and girls (about six months before the start of their first ever period) will experience throughout their reproductive years as well as through peri-menopause.

Many women are embarrassed by this normal and natural activity, don't be, the mucusy secretion is slightly acidic by nature when in balance it acts as a protective shield destroying any possible pathogens.

There are several possibilities why a woman may experience brown vaginal discharge. Some reasons are normal and have no cause for concern and others, I suggest you see a doctor (gynecologist). If your brown discharge is NOT accompanied by a foul small, burning, itching, painful urinating, lower abdominal pain, painful intercourse and fever. Brown vaginal discharge is not something that should happen all of the time, it should happen occasionally or for specific events like: 

Ovulation: brown discharge during ovulation is not a rare thing it is quite common especially just before the start of your monthly period. During the release of the unfertilized egg it also releases old dried blood, the color can range from pinkish-brown to light brown to dark brown; it depends on the individual. This usually last about two (2) to three (3) days.

Implantation Bleeding: is NOT a consistent bleeding it appears for maybe a day or two as a smudge/dripping of blood and you may believe your period has started however, this pinkish brown/light brown or dark down discharge is an indication of the implantation process of the fertilized egg attaching itself to the uterine lining. This process causes a small tear or shedding off in the uterine lining as a smudge/dripping of pinkish brown/light brown or dark down discharge

Pregnancy: other than the pinkish brown/light brown or dark down vaginal discharge you may experience from implantation bleeding some women may also experience it during their first trimester of pregnancy. I call this period the “Body Cleansing Time”. The morning sickness I personally believe is a toxic cleaning process. It is cleaning toxins from the body for the purpose of protecting and making the most perfect environment for the growing life inside. The brown vaginal discharge is part of the process riding the cervix and uterus of old used nutrient depleted dried blood.

Old Endometrial Tissue: The endometrium is the inside lining of the uterus/womb when pregnant. This layer is special and the unique lining is called endometrial tissue. As you ovulate estrogen increases and the lining fills with nutrient rich blood each month.  As a result of the increased estrogen the uterus lining thickens; preparing the uterus to house the growing fetus. However, if the egg is not fertilized by sperm, then you will have your monthly period. Sometimes the thick lining does not expel fully and you may experience small to medium chucks of tissue mixed with your period flow. After your period ends you may also experience brown discharge as a result of the old dried blood that left over from the endometrial tissue.

Perimenopause: I like to say "growing through", it is a transitional period for a women. It can be a frightful time but knowing what to expect can minimize the uneasy feeling. Perimenopause is NOT menopause; it is the time anywhere from 2 to12 years before or leading up to menopause. Perimenopause means "around the time". It's a growing through as we head toward menopause. Brown vaginal discharge often known as "spotting" is common to perimenopause in most cases. During this time your body's hormones levels are fluctuating rapidly; your discharge can range in color from red or pink or brown and even a yellowish. This is a normal process during this time, if you have any concerns or any kind of discomfort please see your gynecologist.

Birth Control Pills: Think about it, if taking a pill can stop life from happening you must say to yourself  "what's in this pill?" Birth control pills are very powerful medication and women and older girls just pop them like jellybeans. There are many side effects with taking this powerful medication and one mild side effect is brown vaginal discharge. If you are experiencing brown vaginal discharge while on the pill it could be for several reasons; for example it could be that the dosage is too low affecting uterine tissue lining, forgetting to take your daily pill, it could be just an adjustment period especially in the beginning due to fluctuating hormones levels usually called Breakthrough Bleeding. It could also be just old dried blood leftover from the previous period, and it could also mean you have a vaginal infection/STD be aware of the symptom that go along with the STI/STD's and see a doctor. 

There are times when brown vaginal discharge is NOT normal and you should see a doctor especially when it is accompanied by pain ( anywhere in the vaginal region and lower abdomen), foul smell, severe and constant itching, burning, fever, excessive brown vaginal discharge.

Menopause/Post Menopause: The permanent end of your monthly period. Twelve consecutive months without a period, a spot, a smudge or smear of any kind or color means you have arrived, you are now in full blown menopause. Menopause is actually one day long the very next day after you are now in Post-Menopause.  So, actually it should be experiencing brown vaginal discharge post-menopause. Brown vaginal discharge post-menopause is NOT normal. If you are experiencing  brown vaginal discharge post-menopause then you are bleeding somewhere within the vaginal region (vagina, uterus or cervix). Remember brown vaginal discharge is old dried blood, there should be no blood of any kind post-menopause.

Uterine Polyps: also known as endometrial polyps, polyp/s that grow on the inside lining of the uterus (endometrium). They can be as small as a sesame seed to as large as an orange.  Polyps are small abnormal tissue growth on the mucous membrane (soft tissue) inside the body. They can be attached with or without a stalk. If attached by a stalk/peduncle (an elongated fibrous tissue stem that attaches the polyp/s to the mucous membrane inside the body) it is a pedunculated polyp/s. If there is no stalk/peduncle the polyp/s is a sessile polyp/s (a polyp/s that is stalk-less and attached by its base to the mucous membrane (soft tissue) inside the uterus. Uterine polyp/s can also cause brown vaginal discharge or a watery bloodstained discharge. Depending on the location inside the uterus the polyp/s can affect the menstrual flow (heavy bleeding, spotting between periods after certain vigorous activities, bleeding after exercising and/or after engaging in intercourse can occur). Fortunately, uterine polyp/s grow very slowly however, because some may protrude into the vagina intercourse can cause the polyp/s to twist and loss blood supply and because if this, there is a high chance the polyp/s can become infected. It is believed that uterine polyp/s only occur in women during perimenopause or menopause. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms always see your doctor.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: (PID) The pelvis are a set of bones located in the lower region of the abdomen and above the thighs (across the hip bone region) whose main purpose is to help the body bear its own weight while standing, sitting, running and walking. The pelvis bones are in perfect harmony, they are symmetrical each side is identical. The pelvis bones help support and protect the organs of the digestive system and the secondary parts of the urinary tract. The bones provide protection and support for the internal reproductive organs (ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix and vagina) as well as serving as a attachment mechanism for the external reproductive organs (vulva: labia majora, labia minora, bartholin glands, clitoris, and vaginal opening).  PID is a bacterial infection of the internal reproductive organs. It usually develops by contracting two specific STD’s gonorrhea and/or chlamydia that are left untreated. Your chances of developing PID greatly increase when you are sexually active with more than one partner.  Some women do not realize that they have PID, because in the early stage the symptoms can look like other infections, be caused by other infections or have no symptoms at all. PID can cause fetus development in the fallopian tube (called tubal pregnancy) or infertility. What is dangerous of PID is that the symptoms can become an issue before realizing you have PID. The symptoms can range from severe to no symptoms at all in the early stage. Dark brown, yellow or green excessive vaginal discharge is common to PID and painful intercourse. If you are experiencing any symptoms that that are uncommon to you daily, just before, during or after your period consult your gynecologist.

Ovarian Cyst: Ovaries are located at the end of the fallopian tube on each side. Women may develop fluid-filled sacs or small solid mass on or inside one or both of the ovaries called cyst. There are several types of Ovarian Cyst classified in two categories: Functional/Simple and Abnormal/Complex: (note: this page will only focus on Functional/Simple, Abnormal/ Complex will be on another page) Functional Ovarian Cysts are the most common they are usually formed during monthly ovulation there are two types: corpus luteum cyst – which forms when a follicle/sac releases an egg and the follicle/sac closes then fills with fluid or blood and Follicular cyst – which forms when a follicle/sac does not release the egg and the follicle/sac swells with liquid. These types of cysts usually clear up/dissolve after your period or they can take anywhere from one (1) to three (3) months to shrink. They are non-cancerous and rarely cause pain. However, if one or a few of the follicle/sacs continues to grow instead of shrinking/dissolving after the period ends the cyst becomes large and this can cause discomfort if the cyst becomes very large. Gynecologist will observe over a short period of time very large cyst because of pain levels or the possibility of rupture and internal bleeding. Depending on how old the cyst is and what’s inside some ovarian cyst are full of blood, others may contain bone, skin, teeth, hair and others types may contain a watery mucous, again while others are more serious (but non-cancerous) will contain a thick brown discharge (known as chocolate cyst). Symptoms may include pain and pressure in lower region of the abdomen, fullness in the abdomen, first trimester symptoms, and/or pain in lower back and upper thigh area and/or pain during intercourse. Ovarian cyst ruptures are very painful, if you experience a very sharp bursting pain on either side of the ovaries you probably experienced an ovarian rupture. See your gynecologist.

Endometriomas: the endometrium tissue lines the uterus when that lining grows outside of the uterus on other areas of the reproductive organs (fallopian tubes, ovaries) it is called Endometriosis (this condition ranges in severity from 1 to 4) in women of child-bearing years. This condition can cause no pain in some women and mild to severe pain in others; it can also cause pain in other areas of the body other then just the pelvic region (the rectal region, the lower back area also extending down the legs). It can also cause painful intercourse (dyspareunia), very painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrheal) and infertility in some women. Endometriomas cysts develop because of the over-growth of endometrium tissue within and over the ovaries. Reproductive and other areas that are covered with endometrium tissue will also bleed when on your monthly period. Hence the internal bleeding, this blood will find its way to the vagina and flow out with your monthly period. However, the ovary/ies will fill with gooey brown blood (called “chocolate cysts”) because of the repeated bleeding and the endometrium over-growth a cyst will form. If the cyst burst/rupture along with the severe pain a gooey brown vaginal discharge will flow.

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