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Brown Discharge Before Periods- Is It Normal?

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Brown discharge before periods could be an indication of pregnancy, perimenopause, or an underlying health problem. Read this article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Natasha Bansal

Published At September 19, 2022
Reviewed AtNovember 1, 2023

What Is Brown Discharge Before Periods?

Brown discharge before menstruation is usually a vaginal discharge containing blood. Brown discharge that comes while a woman is not due for her period can be concerning. Brown discharge before a period, on the other hand, is usually not a cause for concern. Vaginal discharge happens on a near-daily basis for many women. Vaginal discharge is usually thin, transparent, or white. When vaginal discharge appears brown, it is most often due to the presence of old blood. It is possible that old blood that has taken longer to leave the

What Is a Normal Vaginal Discharge?

When a child reaches puberty, the body begins to produce discharge. By eliminating dead skin cells from the vaginal lining, discharge helps to maintain the genitals clean and healthy. It is made up of water, but it does contain bacteria. Throughout the menstrual cycle, the discharge will fluctuate. It varies depending on ovulation, sexual activity, menstrual flow, and birth control use. The color ranges from clear to white. In terms of consistency, it ranges from thick to thin. It has no odor (though a certain amount of odor from the vagina is normal).

What Causes Brown Discharge Before Periods?

Brown discharge can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be linked to the menstrual cycle, perimenopause, and issues such as ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. The main causes include-

  • Menstruation- Around the time of menstruation, some women may notice brown discharge. This can happen a day or two before a period begins and a day or two after it ends. Old blood might seem brown, and the final shedding of a period can also appear brown. This is a normal condition.

  • Irritation- Irritation might cause brown discharge from the vaginal area. It may also be accompanied by irritation in the vaginal area. Irritation in the vaginal region and surrounding skin can develop for a variety of reasons, including-

    • Intimate feminine sprays.

    • Douches (vaginal washes).

    • Contraceptive jelly, foam, or cream.

    • Creams or ointments.

    • Detergents or fabric softeners.

    • Vigorous sex.

  • Ovulation Discharge- Some women may suffer ovulation-related discharge. During ovulation, there is a chance of spotting in the middle of the cycle. At this point in the cycle, vaginal bleeding and spotting can range from pink to red to brown, with a thickness indicating discharge.

  • Implantation Bleeding- Implantation bleeding might happen a week or two after conception (the union of a human egg and sperm). Some minor bleeding or spotting may occur when a fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining. This spotting is usually brownish in color and quite faint.

  • As a Reaction to Clinical Procedures or Tests- Brown discharge is a side effect of some medical procedures, such as laparoscopy. After a laparoscopy, a surgery in which healthcare personnel use a scope to inspect the abdominal and reproductive organs, women may experience bleeding. For the first five to ten days after surgery, women may experience brown discharge. During this period, a sanitary pad or pantyliner may be helpful.

  • Perimenopause- Women's hormone levels and menstrual cycles vary during perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause). Normal spotting or brown discharge may develop during this time.

  • Birth Control- A variety of birth control methods can cause spotting. Brown discharge or mild bleeding are possible symptoms. Spotting normally stops after the first two to three months of taking the birth control pill. This is most frequent with birth control implants within the first six to twelve months of initiating birth control. Long-term spotting, on the other hand, may occur in some people.

  • Lochia- Lochia, also known as postpartum bleeding, refers to the vaginal discharge that occurs following vaginal birth. This discharge is usually dark red for the first three days after delivery, but it might shift to a pinkish or brownish tone four to ten days later.

  • Miscarriage- A brown discharge can indicate an early miscarriage. This is old blood draining from the body. This discharge might resemble coffee grounds.

Some More Severe Causes of Brown Discharge That Needs Medical Attention-

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause a brown, green, or yellow discharge. Sexual contact can lead to the spread of these infections. Trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are STIs that cause discharge.

  • Infections- Various infections can cause brown discharge from the vaginal area. Other symptoms such as itching or discomfort may accompany these infections. Infections include yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis (BV).

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)- The pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) affects the female reproductive organs. A sexually transmitted infection is the most common cause of PID. It can cause stomach aches and vaginal discharge that may vary in color. Other PID symptoms include-

    • Painful sexual intercourse.

    • Burning sensation on urinating.

    • Irregular menstruation.

    • Pelvic pain.

    • Excessive vaginal discharge.

  • Ovarian Cysts- Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. The ovarian cysts can be of various sizes, ranging from half an inch to ten inches. Ovarian cysts can cause spotting between periods and irregular or heavy periods. Brown spotting is also possible.

  • Ectopic Pregnancy- When a fertilized egg implants into one of the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. The fetal development is impaired, and the mother's health will be compromised if the pregnancy continues. Although symptoms do not usually accompany an ectopic pregnancy, they can result in dark, watery discharge or bleeding.

  • Endometriosis- Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus, grows outside of it. It can cause painful, heavy periods or brownish spotting in between periods. Other signs and symptoms include painful urination, bowel movements, sexual intercourse, and problems conceiving.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)- Polycystic ovarian syndrome causes a hormonal imbalance in women, making ovulation infrequent or irregular and difficult to conceive. It can result in slight bleeding or a brown discharge. Women may experience irregular periods, no periods, excessive facial or body hair, greasy skin, dark areas of skin, and weight gain.

  • Foreign Objects- When an object (known as a foreign body) enters the vaginal canal when it should not, it can cause discharge and an unpleasant odor. A forgotten tampon is an example.

  • Cervical Cancer- Brown discharge, however uncommon, could indicate something more severe, such as cervical cancer. Cervical cancer in its early stages frequently has no symptoms, although it can cause a persistent vaginal discharge that is a pink, light, watery, dark, red, or foul odor.

Conclusion:

Brown discharge can be caused by various reasons, including menstrual activity, perimenopause, and use of birth control, all of which are perfectly normal. It could, however, be a sign of something more dangerous, such as an infection, an ectopic pregnancy, or a tampon left in the vaginal canal. Therefore, it is advised to check with a healthcare provider if a woman is concerned about a brown discharge before her periods.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Is It Normal for Brown Discharge Before Period?

Brown discharge before menstruation is usually a vaginal discharge containing blood. Brown discharge that comes while a woman is not due for her period can be concerning. Brown discharge before a period, on the other hand, is usually not a cause for concern.

2.

What Are the Severe Causes of Brown Discharge?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause a brown, green, or yellow discharge. Sexual contact can lead to the spread of these infections. Trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are STIs that cause discharge. Various infections can cause brown discharge from the vaginal area.

3.

What Does Normal Vaginal Discharge Look Like?

The normal vaginal discharge varies depending on ovulation, sexual activity, menstrual flow, and birth control use. The color ranges from clear to white. In terms of consistency, it ranges from thick to thin. It has no odor (though a certain amount of odor from the vagina is normal).

4.

What Is a Normal Vaginal Discharge?

When a child reaches puberty, the body begins to produce discharge. By eliminating dead skin cells from the vaginal lining, discharge helps to maintain the genitals clean and healthy. It is made up of water, but it does contain bacteria. Throughout the menstrual cycle, the discharge will fluctuate.

5.

What Is Ovulation Discharge?

Some women may suffer ovulation-related discharge. During ovulation, there is a chance of spotting in the middle of the cycle. At this point in the cycle, vaginal bleeding and spotting can range from pink to red to brown, with a thickness indicating discharge.

6.

Should I Worry About Having Brown Discharge in Periods?

Brown discharge can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be linked to the menstrual cycle, perimenopause, and issues such as ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. Old blood might seem brown, and the final shedding of a period can also appear brown. This is a normal condition.

7.

Can a Tumor Cause Brown Discharge?

Brown discharge, however uncommon, could indicate something more severe, such as cervical cancer. Cervical cancer in its early stages frequently has no symptoms, although it can cause a persistent vaginal discharge that is a pink, light, watery, dark, red, or foul odor.

8.

What Does Brown Discharge Look Like in Early Pregnancy?

Implantation bleeding might happen a week or two after conception (the union of a human egg and sperm). Some minor bleeding or spotting may occur when a fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining. This spotting is usually brownish in color and quite faint.

9.

What Types of Discharge Is Normal?

Women's hormone levels and menstrual cycles vary during perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause). Normal spotting or brown discharge may develop during this time. This is most frequent with birth control implants within the first six to twelve months of initiating birth control.

10.

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition, where the endometrium lines the uterus, and grows outside of it. It can cause painful, heavy periods or brownish spotting in between periods. Other signs and symptoms include painful urination, bowel movements, sexual intercourse, and problems conceiving.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Natasha Bansal
Dr. Natasha Bansal

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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