Everyone’s menstrual cycle is a unique experience and cannot always be compared. What happens before, during and after your period, is something that you become accustomed to with time. However, you might have also noticed some things that you hesitate to ask anyone else for fear of being shamed.
Discussion of menstrual cycles and what comes with it has been taboo for so long, that we often find ourselves lost with the unique reactions each person’s body may have. Luckily, we now have the internet and a great community of women and doctors who put our worries to rest.
If you’ve been worried about vaginal discharge, brown discharge and the reasons for brown discharge, read on! This article will discuss brown period blood, brown discharge before period, brown discharge after period and when you should be worried.
What Is Brown Discharge?
As a bodily phenomenon, vaginal discharge or cervical mucus is entirely normal. It helps maintain a healthy vagina and changes according to a person’s menstrual cycle. Vaginal discharge is something that happens on almost a daily basis, and is thin and clear or white.
Put simply, brown discharge is a sign of blood mixed with regular vaginal discharge. It tends to happen before or after your period, as the vagina cleans itself out. Ordinarily, brown discharge is not a cause of worry and is completely natural.
What Causes Brown Discharge?
There are a variety of reasons for brown discharge such as:
- The beginning of a period
- Old blood leaving the uterus after the end of a period
- A vaginal exam or a pap smear
- Early signs of pregnancy
- Sometimes, signs of an infection
Brown Discharge Before Period
Before your period, any brown discharge is just vaginal discharge containing blood. Brown discharge by itself is normal and not a cause of worry. Any serious underlying issues will present through symptoms other than just brown discharge. But you may also find yourself asking, ‘brown discharge before period, could I be pregnant?’
The answer is that you may possibly be. In some women, brown discharge before a period is a sign of early pregnancy or implantation bleeding. If the discharge continues and you miss your period, we recommend that you visit a doctor at the earliest.
Brown Discharge During Period
In most women, the colour and consistency of blood changes through the menstrual cycle. Therefore, brown period blood is an extremely normal occurrence. This is more common in young girls, women starting birth control or women nearing menopause.
Brown Discharge After Period
Brown blood is more common towards the end of the menstrual cycle. The blood is older and brown, as compared to the beginning when the uterine lining is shed and the blood is normally red. It is simply a sign of leftover blood leaving the vagina. Brown discharge after period just like brown discharge before period is an entirely common, and normal phenomenon.
Some types of birth control such as ‘the bar’ (an implant) and hormonal birth control like certain pills can also cause brown discharge during or brown discharge after period.
Brown Discharge No Period – Should I Be Worried?
Light spotting which does not eventually become a regular period can be a sign of implantation bleeding, which is an early sign of pregnancy. Implantation bleeding can happen 10 to 14 days after conception, and resemble brown spotting or a very light period.
If the brown discharge is not a sign of your delayed period making an appearance, we would suggest getting a pregnancy test or visiting the doctor. However, if it happens before or after your period, or even after sex, it’s pretty normal and you should not be worried. It is only a cause for concern when combined with other symptoms, which we will be discussing below.
Can Brown Discharge Be The Sign Of Pregnancy?
You may wonder, brown discharge before period, could I be pregnant? Or brown discharge instead of period, could I be pregnant? Let us clarify for you.
On occasion, brown discharge can be an early sign of pregnancy and implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding happens when the fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine lining, and some brown spotting may happen. If you miss your period and experience brown spotting, you should do a pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy.
When Is It Not Normal?
As we have discussed above, brown period blood, brown discharge before period and brown discharge in general are just regular bodily occurrences. As long as the discharge is not itchy, smelly or an odd brown colour instead of the usual reddish-brown, you should not be worried. Some signs you can look out for are cramping, pelvic pain, spotting, weight gain, fever, bleeding during sex and odd smells. If you have brown discharge combined with these symptoms, they may indicate an underlying medical issue.
Some of these issues can be PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), ovarian cysts, bacterial vaginosis and cervical cancer. However, the brown discharge is likely caused due to an infection rather than something as serious as cancer. Please remember that the likelihood of having a medical issue is only possible if the brown discharge is combined with the symptoms above. Only brown discharge is not a cause for concern.
When To See A Doctor?
If you have brown discharge along with other symptoms, it would be best to visit a doctor and get an opinion on the causes. Here are some other instances when you can visit a doctor–
- Increased spotting between menstrual cycles
- Heavy bleeding with pelvic pain
- Menstrual cycle going beyond 7 days
- Changes in vaginal discharge (smell, itchiness, etc).
The changes in your vaginal discharge can also be a symptom of a yeast infection or an STI. In some instances, brown discharge can be a sign of cervicitis or vaginitis. If you are feeling discomfort and pain, please visit your doctor at the earliest.
Your bodily functions can sometimes be scary, especially when you’re bleeding and notice something amiss. But there’s no need to worry excessively, a lot of what seems strange is pretty normal and the human body is quite resilient.
So put away questions like ‘brown discharge instead of period could I be pregnant’ or ‘brown discharge before period could I be pregnant’. Instead, pay attention to what is happening with your body during your menstrual cycle. If you’re worried about the frequency of brown discharge before period, visit a doctor. If you think it’s nothing to be worried about, give it a few months and revisit the thought.
Brown period blood and brown discharge are a part of your menstrual cycle. Very rarely do they mean something nefarious. Sit back, relax and let your body go with its own flow, it knows what it’s doing.
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