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Brown discharge and cramps

Usually brown vaginal discharge is most often associated with menstrual period and old endometrial tissues. It could be seen when blood has taken longer than usual to exit reproductive organs (uterus, cervix and vagina). Sometimes brown discharge is just vaginal self-cleaning.

Brown Discharge combined with cramps can be a symptom of several health conditions in women – during Normal menstrual period, Ovulation, Miscarriage, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Ectopic pregnancy, Endometriosis, Cervicitis and during Uterine fibroids.

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Normal menstrual period

Normal menstrual period involves the shedding of the uterine lining and menstrual bleeding during few days. It is a signal of the beginning of next reproductive cycle and it usually occurs every 28-36 days depending on the individual.

Some women could have short brown discharge (1-2 days) before and/or after menstrual period which should not be a subject of concern. Menstrual cramps during mentioned period also can be just temporary (as a symptom of uterus contractions). But it would be useful to check all possible causes for menstrual cramps on next page.

Woman with cramps and brown discharge

Woman with cramps and brown discharge

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Ovulation

Some women could have short cramps during ovulation and very rare it can be combined with brown discharge. It could be just response of uterus to increased levels of hormones during ovulation.

If you had short cramping (30-60 minutes) and slight brown discharge in the middle of your menstrual cycle, just consider it as a signal for ovulation.

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Miscarriage

Brown discharge and cramps could be symptoms of spontaneous interruption of pregnancy (miscarriage). It is well known that about 15% of fertilized eggs are lost before the egg even has a chance to implant in the uterus wall. During early miscarriage women could have brown discharge or light spotting or bleeding combined with uterine contractions and abdominal cramps.

Most common causes of miscarriage in the first third of pregnancy (first trimester) could be hormonal dysfunctions, infections, stress, uterus abnormalities, chromosomal abnormalities, collagen vascular disease or diabetes.

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection which can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or the ovaries. It can lead to pelvic adhesions and scar tissue that develops between internal organs, causing ongoing pelvic pain, infertility and the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. PID can be sexually transmitted. Sexually active women between the ages of 20 and 31 are at the greatest risk of acquiring the PID through sexually transmitted bacteria.

During PID women could have cramps and brown discharge between periods.

The most common symptoms of PID include spread pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen; pelvic pain; bleeding between menstrual periods; increased or changed vaginal discharge; smelling vaginal discharge; fever and chills; vomiting and nausea; pain and/or discomfort during sex.

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself outside the cavity of the uterus. In most cases the ectopic pregnancies are found in the Fallopian tubes.

Usually ectopic pregnancy is not surviving and in most cases an embryo is not developed – the pregnancy is interrupting the development at certain period (early pregnancy miscarriage). Before and/or during pregnancy interruption women could have cramps and brown discharge.

Other ectopic pregnancy symptoms include lower abdomen pain, period delay, bleeding from the vagina, vaginal spotting, positive pregnancy test, dizziness or fainting (caused by blood loss), low blood pressure (also caused by blood loss).

The majority of women with ectopic pregnancy should be operated or treated with medication.

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Endometriosis

Endometriosis is the growth of cells similar to those that form the inside of the uterus (endometrial cells), but in a location outside of the uterus. Endometrial cells are the same cells that are shed each month during menstruation. The cells of endometriosis attach themselves to tissue outside the uterus and are called endometriosis implants.

These implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity.

They can also be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder, although less commonly than other locations in the pelvis. Rarely, endometriosis implants can occur outside the pelvis, on the liver, in old surgery scars, and even in or around the lung or brain. Endometrial implants, while they can cause problems, are benign (not cancerous).

In most cases women with endometriosis don’t have any symptoms. But some women with endometriosis could experience brown discharge and cramps. Other symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, pelvic pain and infertility. Pelvic pain usually occurs during or just before menstruation and lessens after menstruation. Some women experience pain or cramping during/after intercourse, bowel movements and/or urination.

Sometimes even pelvic examination by a doctor can be painful in women with endometriosis. The pain intensity can change from month to month, and vary greatly among women. Some women experience progressive worsening of symptoms, while others can have resolution of pain without treatment.

Pelvic pain in women with endometriosis depends partly on where the implants of endometriosis are located – usually deeper implants and implants in areas with many pain-sensitive nerves could be more likely to produce pain.

The endometrial implants could also produce substances that circulate in the bloodstream and cause pain.

Lastly, pain can result when endometriosis implants form scars. There is no relationship between severity of pain and how widespread the endometriosis is (the “stage” of endometriosis).

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Cervicitis

Inflammation of the cervix called “cervicitis” which is one of common conditions in sexually active women. In most cases cervicitis develops as a result of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Cervicitis could occasionally be caused by exposure to chemical irritants, the use of a diaphragm and/or allergies to condoms.

Women with cervicitis could experience unpleasant irregular brown discharge and cramps. Other symptoms of cervicitis include brown spotting between periods, pain during or after intercourse, unusual vaginal discharge and pressure in the abdomen and pelvis.

BROWN DISCHARGE and CRAMPS during Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are considered as benign tumors that grow in the lining of the uterus. Medical staffs usually observe fibroids in various shapes and different sizes. The main reasons for development of uterine fibroids are hormonal dysfunctions and genetic predispositions. It was noted the increased frequency of uterine fibroids in obese women and older women (after 35-40).

Women with uterine fibroids often could experience cramps and irregular brown discharge.

Other symptoms of uterine fibroids include brown spotting between periods, pelvic pain, frequent urination, pain during sexual contacts, lower back pain and abdominal fullness.

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