Q. Could vaginal brown discharge be a sign of cervical cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Sameer Kumar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 19, 2018 and last reviewed on: Nov 28, 2022

Hi doctor,

I am 22 years old and I am sexually active for about four years now. For some 2 to 2.5 years, I am getting an occasional brown vaginal discharge, when I masturbate. Not a lot, just enough to cover my fingers. It does not happen all the time. There is no other pain or symptom associated with it. Could it be something serious?



Welcome to

The dark brown vaginal discharge that you are experiencing, especially after masturbation and usually in the second half of the cycle is often due to luteal phase defect which indicates progesterone deficiency.

So, it is suggested that you should get your serum progesterone levels done on day 21 of your cycle. If they are less than 21 g/dL, then you may need to be placed on cyclical progesterones to avoid such episodes of intermenstrual bleeding.

Also other causes can be endometrial polyp, fibroid or even sometimes ovulation mid-cycle bleeds, which is so often confused for abnormal uterine bleeding.

If the test is normal, then the next step would be to get an ultrasound pelvis to rule the above causes.

However, such bleeds if in excess can be acutely controlled with antifibrinolytics like Tranexamic acid tablets, which can control such episodes. But, if the cause is progesterone deficiency, then progesterone supplementation shall be required.

Thank you doctor,

It is just a few drops of blood mixed discharge. I was just getting worried if it could be a sign of a serious condition like a cervical cancer or something. Do you think that could be the case?



Welcome back to

If the masturbation involves insertion of a finger into the vagina then there is all possibility that you may have developed cervical erosions or cervicitis.

Following every masturbatory activity, the mucus can get injured due to friction with the cervix and hence can easily bleed.

You may get a per speculum exam and a pap smear for cytology done. It shall confirm if any atypical cells have been present on the cervix or its just cervicitis, which can be treated with antibiotics.

Cervical cancer in young age is uncommon when sexual exposure is not promiscuous.

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