Brown Discharge

A brown discharge from the vagina can be caused by a number of different medical conditions. Some of them will require medical attention, but many are perfectly normal and are no cause for alarm.

Causes of Brown Discharge

If you are displaying a brown discharge before your period, there are several conditions that could be contributing to your symptoms. In some occasions the endometrium is released before the start of the period, which will result in a light brown fluid discharged from the vagina. This can be brought on by alterations to your hormones due to taking birth control, or it could be a natural result of your body's cycle.

When a woman becomes pregnant, it is common to experience a phenomenon known as implantation bleeding. When the embryo attaches to the uterus wall it buries into the inner lining, which will rupture it. This will lead to spotting that is pink or brown in color. You may notice this about two to three days after ovulation, or before your next period.

A brown discharge occurring before your period may also be a sign of polyps. These tumors or abnormal growths are benign but can cause discomfort in the uterus and may impact your ability to conceive. Bleeding from polyps can result in a discharge that is dark in color and appears in irregular intervals.

When your period is delayed it can lead to a brown discharge. As you shed endometrial tissues, older cells will be darker, which will lead to a heavier, darker period. It is also not uncommon for your period to run longer than normal when it has been delayed. If the discharge is roughly the same texture and has a similar flow to your normal period this is usually nothing to be concerned about.

It is important to make note of the duration of the bleeding when you are experiencing a brown discharge after your period. If you are dealing with altered blood this can be a sign that damage has been done to some portion of your reproductive system. This could be from bacterial infections including regular yeast infections, an STD, pelvic inflammatory disease, or cervical cancer. On a less severe note, a brown discharge after the period is common in women who are beginning menopause as your body strives to set the body's conditions to cease the reproductive cycle.

If you are pregnant, it is fairly common to experience a discharge throughout your pregnancy. This is caused as by the uterus stretching and altering in size to accommodate your growing baby. If the discharge is slow, then the brown color is due to the blood being old and over exposed to oxygen as it exits the body. Any sort of cervical irritation, either from medical examinations or intercourse, can cause this type of discharge.

If you notice pain or itching that accommodates the discharge, then you may have a viral infection, which will require medical attention. Brown discharge accompanied by pain very early on in the pregnancy could also be a sign of an implantation in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus. If a painful brown discharge comes on very suddenly and is quite persistent, accompanied by severe cramping then you may be suffering a miscarriage.

Treatment Options

If you regularly experience a brown discharge before your period it is likely that you are not experiencing anything that is concerning or harmful. If you are concerned that you may be pregnant, take a pregnancy test. Any discharge that is abnormal in color or texture should be evaluated, especially if you are also experiencing pain. Your doctor can make recommendations regarding whether or not your condition requires medication or surgery to remove polyps.

When you experience a brown discharge after your period it is important to make note of how long it lasts. If the discharge ceases with your cycle then it is likely the result of a delayed period and is nothing to be concerned about. However, if the discharge continues or is paired with other symptoms such as unexpected bleeding, other discharges, or pain then it could be a sign of a more severe underlying condition. Make special note of any additional conditions such as itching, dryness, rash, frequent urination or a burning sensation during urination. Schedule an appointment with your doctor so you can discuss these symptoms and agree on appropriate treatment. An STD, viral or bacterial infection will usually require medication. Cancer or more serious conditions could require surgery or chemotherapy as well.

If you suspect you may be suffering from a fallopian implantation, it is important to seek out treatment as soon as possible. If the fetus has not started growing at a fast rate, a dose of Methotrexate can be used to cease the growth and allow the fetus to dislodge. Otherwise, surgery will be necessary to remove the fetus from the fallopian tube.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a miscarriage, then you will want to visit a medical professional immediately. They will be able to determine if you are in fact experiencing a miscarriage or if there is another problem that will require medical attention. In some cases, medication can be administered to prevent a miscarriage, though these are not useful or effective in all cases.



Requires Medical Attention


Endometrium released before the period

A light brown fluid similar in texture to menstrual blood



Implantation bleeding

A pink or brown fluid, experienced in spotting


Have a pregnancy test taken


Bleeding and discomfort


Medications or surgery

Late period

Shedding of older endometrial tissue



Altered blood

Injury or infection in the reproductive system


Will vary depending on the condition


Irregular periods and discharging


In extreme cases, estrogen treatments may be applied

Uterus Stretching

Your body grows to make room for the fetus



Cervical Irritation

An object comes in contact with the cervix, causing brief discomfort and discharge



Viral Infection

Brown discharge accompanied by itching or stinging



Fallopian Implantation

Heavy discharge accompanied by lower back pain


Methotrexate prescription or surgery in late cases


Heavy discharge accompanied by cramping