Clear, thin, white vaginal discharge is normal for most women, but the appearance of a brown vaginal discharge can make you wonder what it means. Sometimes the brown discharge occurs after or before the period. You may also notice on occasion that you have the brown period with menstrual blood, but dark brown. Fortunately, in most cases, brown discharge does not mean there is something wrong.
Sometimes, you may notice that your period is brown and you wonder what that means. This may be completely normal during your period.
Brown blood in the period may occur during menstruation. The brown blood during the period can be a dark brown color and sometimes almost black. The change of color from dark red to brown is because the body is expelling older blood and this usually happens towards the end of your period.
There is nothing to worry about if you have brown discharge after the period, as this is part of cleaning your vagina to keep it healthy.
Causes of brown vaginal discharge
There are other reasons why you experience brown mucus secretion that may or may not be linked to your menstrual cycle. These are the most important:
1. Irregular menstrual cycle
If you have irregular menstrual periods, you may have brown discharge from time to time. This may be for the same reason that some women have brown discharge towards the end of their period.
2. Natality control
If you take the oral contraceptive pill, then you may notice brown spots or some flow, especially if you have just started taking the pill.
Some women experience bleeding from disruption (mid-cycle hemorrhage). This happens because the contraceptive pill is not controlling the cycle well enough. Dark staining or discharge occurs because the flow is reduced and oxygen gives regular menstrual blood a darker brown color.
If you are approaching menopause your periods will become more irregular and less frequent. This can lead to a brown-colored mucus or fluid flow before or after your period.
Most women begin the transition to menopause in their mid or late 40s. During this time, estrogen levels and menstrual cycles may become longer or shorter. This may mean that along with your period you may see old brown looking blood. Low levels of estrogen also cause minimal vaginal discharge at menopause.
4. Pelvic inflammatory disease
Another reason for brown discharge that may have a strong odor is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In general, a normal healthy discharge stops bacteria from entering the reproductive organs. However, a sexually transmitted disease can cause infection along with abnormal vaginal discharge.
Other symptoms of PID include irregular periods and, possibly, vaginal spots. Therefore, a brown discharge may occur when the old blood is emptied from the vagina.
5. Implantation of spots
The implant spot can cause dark, rust-colored spots if you’ve become pregnant. When a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, you may notice some colic pain from the implantation and brown spots in your underwear.
The spot of implantation occurs about 6 to 12 days after conception. Because implantation usually occurs just before your period begins, dark brown spots can be confused with your period.