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Brown Vaginal Discharge: 11 Possible Causes, Other Symptoms

Brown Vaginal Discharge: 11 Possible Causes, Other Symptoms

Brown discharge on your underwear or when you wipe can be alarming, and you may feel afraid or nervous the first time you see it. Brown discharge, on the other hand, is more common than you would imagine. vaginal discharge, for the most part, does not warrant any concern at all.

Brown discharge may be caused by various things, like infections, periods, vigorous sex, menopause, or even an ectopic pregnancy. We’ll look at 11 possible causes in this article, as the symptoms you might experience with these.

Brown Discharge - Vaginal discharge
What is brown Vaginal discharge?

What is brown discharge?

Brown vaginal discharge is caused by a mixture of normal cervical mucus and blood. Due to fluctuating hormone levels, the texture and amount of cervical mucus change throughout the menstrual cycle. A few drops of blood may be present in your cervical mucus, as indicated by a brown discharge.

Fresh blood is a bright red, but it begins to turn darker when it ages or comes into contact with sunlight. In other words, brown vaginal discharge is oxidized blood mixed with your normal cervical mucus.

What it can look like

Brown discharge does not always have the same appearance, particularly in terms of colour. Brown vaginal discharge can range in colour from very dark brown to light brown to pink-brown. Vaginal discharge in various shades may mean a variety of meanings.

Brown: What does mean?

Oxidized blood combined with natural cervical mucus causes brown discharge. A brown flow is normal at the start and end of the menstrual cycle. Menstruation could have started if you have a browner non-oxygenated discharge around the time of your expected cycle.

Brown discharge may often be an early indication of pregnancy due to implantation bleeding, particularly if it occurs 6-12 days post ovulation (DPO). When a fertilized egg inserts itself in the uterine tissue, it causes implantation bleeding, which leads to conception.

A faint brown discharge may result from the egg’s movement. If you think you have implantation bleeding, take a home pregnancy test on the day before the next menstrual cycle.

Dark Brown: What does mean?

The more oxidized blood is found in your cervical mucus, the darker your brown discharge becomes. The beginning or end of your menstrual cycle is where you’ll see a dark, nearly black discharge.

A dark brown or blackish-brown discharge can signal a vaginal blockage in rare cases. External objects stuck in the vaginal or cervix (such as a “lost” tampon or condom) or vaginal tissue preventing menstrual blood from leaving the cervix can cause blockages. If you think a vaginal blockage causes the dark brown discharge, see the doctor.

Tan/Light Brown: What does mean?

Light brown discharge indicates that there were just a few drops of blood in the cervical mucus. This could mean a very light menstrual flow, particularly if it happens at the start or end of your cycle.

Spotting or implantation leakage may also cause light brown discharge (if it occurs at any time outside of your menstrual period). Taking an early pregnancy test on the first day of the next cycle if you suspect you’re pregnant to see if you have implantation bleeding. If not, you may be suffering from spots, which is nothing to worry about.

Many women experience light Spotting during menstrual cycles, particularly if they use hormonal birth control. On the other hand, Spotting may be a symptom of a medical issue like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, sexually transmitted infection (STI), or even cervical cancer. If you find yourself spotting excessively between your periods, see your OB/GYN immediately.


Pink-Brown: What does mean?

Pink-brown discharge is most common during menstruation, particularly if you’re on an estrogen-lowering birth control pill. When you have low estrogen, your period blood will turn bright red or even pink. This blood may turn pink-brown as it oxidizes.

A pink-brown discharge sometimes marks pregnancy. It may be implantation bleeding, particularly if the bleeding is very mild. Owing to contact with the cervix, it may also happen during the first two trimesters of pregnancy following a speculum test or sexual intercourse.

Pink-brown discharge during pregnancy is nothing to be concerned with as long as it lasts less than three days.

Is brown discharge normal?

Brown discharge is fairly common and, in most situations, may not be cause for concern.

If your bleeding is limited to the start or end of your cycle, it’s more likely due to a slowing in your menstrual flow; blood takes longer to get from the cervix to your pad or tampon, and it may oxidize throughout the meantime.

If you’re using hormonal birth control and see brown Spotting between days, it’s most definitely a side effect. If you’re worried, talk to the doctor, but remember that it’s nothing to be concerned about.

Brown discharge after ovulation might be a positive indication if you’re trying to conceive. The brown discharge may be due to implantation bleeding. Take a pregnancy test from fertility2family to confirm whether you are indeed pregnant.

Brown discharge may sometimes indicate a concern with the reproductive system. If you have questions about brown discharge, see the specialist. It’s never a bad idea to be cautious.

What can cause brown discharge?

A variety of factors can cause brown vaginal discharge. Fortunately, the majority of them aren’t a cause for alarm. The following are some of the most common sources of brown discharge:

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal infection caused by an overgrowth of bacteria present naturally in the vaginal region. It often affects women of childbearing age. The source of the infection is unknown, but the chance of BV is linked with casual intercourse or repeated douching.


    • Fishy smelling discharge
    • Thin watery or brown discharge
    • Itching or burning sensation in the vagina



In the early stages of menopause, you can see brown discharge or mild bleeding. Changes in hormone levels are also to blame, and that mostly happens in the early 40s.


    • Hot flashes
    • Brown discharge
    • Mood swings
    • Headaches
    • Spotting


When old blood exits the uterus, brown discharge may occur at the beginning or end of your cycle. If you see brown discharge before your period, your period may have arrived earlier than scheduled. Brown discharge will even last a few days after the cycle has ended. Over time, it can fade away and become brighter.


    • Brown blood during periods
    • Cramps in the abdomen
    • Mood swings
    • Breast tenderness



Brown discharge occurs in a small percentage of women at the time of ovulation. It’s mainly due to the natural reduction in estrogen levels that happens following ovulation. Using a dip and read ovulation test (OPK) throughout your menstrual cycle can help you detect your most fertile window along with allowing you to tell if your brown discharge is due to ovulation


    • A light brown discharge that lasts 12 to 24 hours.
    • An increase in the body’s core temperature (BBT)


Ovarian Cyst

Cysts in the ovaries are fluid-filled sacs that reside within the ovaries. They’re normally harmless, and they’ll go away after your time is over. However, you might need to have them surgically removed at times. If you have some of the symptoms of ovarian cysts, contact the doctor. Only ultrasound will confirm the presence of an ovarian cyst.


    • Light Brown spotting discharge
    • Pain in the pelvic or lower back area
    • Painful periods
    • The sensation of pressure in the abdomen area



Brown discharge is a precursor of implantation and conception. You will find brown Spotting known when implantation bleeding as the fertilized egg bonds itself to the uterine lining. Some women say that this is the only early pregnancy symptom they find. If you have brown Spotting and think you may be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test on the first day of your missing cycle to be sure.


    • Cramping
    • Nausea
    • Headaches
    • Sore breasts
    • Mood swings
    • Brown discharge or Spotting


Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a form of early pregnancy that occurs in one out of every 50 pregnancies. Tubal pregnancies refer to ectopic pregnancies that arise almost exclusively in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies are not successful because the fallopian tube is not built to support fetal development. Ectopic pregnancy should be handled right away, and if the fallopian tube ruptures, it can result in life-threatening bleeding.


    • Brown or red bleeding
    • Pelvic pain
    • Dizziness
    • Positive pregnancy test
    • Nausea


Breakthrough bleeding

Some menstrual bleeding between cycles or when you are pregnant is known as breakthrough bleeding or Spotting. Breakthrough bleeding can be caused by various factors, including cervix irritation, hormonal birth control, and inflammation. Please seek medical attention if you notice persistent and heavy bleeding. Aside from that, there’s certainly nothing to be concerned with.


Between menstrual cycle phases or during breastfeeding, you can see a brown, red, or pink discharge (this is the only symptom)


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a prevalent reproductive health issue that affects about 10% of women worldwide. PCOS is affected by estrogen, progesterone, and male sex hormone imbalances (called androgens). You can understand more about how PCOS affects the body by tracking fertility hormones.


    • Brown Spotting
    • Weight gain
    • Acne
    • Abnormal hair growth

Hormonal birth control
Light bleeding can occur when hormonal birth control is changed, started, or stopped. Changes in hormone levels trigger this leakage, which may be red, pink, or brown.


    • Light bleeding, pink or brown
    • Witching birth control methods

Cervical Cancer

Brown discharge may be a symptom of cervical cancer in rare cases. If you drink, have had HPV, have had an irregular pap smear result, or have a parent with cervical cancer, you are more likely to develop cervical cancer. If you have brown discharge and other signs of cervical cancer, you can see a doctor right away.


    • Watery discharge
    • Previous HPV infection
    • History of smoking
    • Abnormal pap smear

Can brown discharge be a sign of pregnancy?

Having this type of discharge may indicate implantation bleeding or early pregnancy. Light bleeding may occur when the fertilized egg binds itself to the uterine lining.

However, you can check that the vaginal discharge is caused by bleeding with a pregnancy test on the first day of the next planned cycle. If you test before, the pregnancy hormone level might be too low for the pregnancy test to measure, resulting in a false-negative result.

Brown discharge can occur at any time during pregnancy. It is normally natural, even though it sounds frightening. To be sure, if you’re pregnant and you’re bleeding, you can talk to the doctor.

When should I talk to my doctor about brown discharge?

When you have only intermittent light vaginal discharge with no other effects, you usually don’t need to see a doctor. If you have some troubling signs in addition to brown discharge, you can see the doctor ensure that all is in order.

Along with vaginal discharge, the following symptoms should prompt a visit to the doctor:

    • Prolonged bleeding
    • Painful intercourse
    • Abdominal tenderness
    • Painful urination
    • Foul odour from vagina
    • Vaginal burning or itching

If you have some of these signs along with vaginal discharge, see a doctor right away. These signs and symptoms may signify an illness or, in rare cases, something more sinister, such as cervical cancer. Though brown vaginal discharge is normally nothing to be concerned about, it never hurts to seek medical advice.