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BROWN DISCHARGE

Brown Discharge is one of common concerns of girls and women. Not all cases of brown vaginal discharge are cause for concern. Brown vaginal discharge is most often associated with old endometrial tissues.

Once you start puberty a white and/or clear discharge is normal. The vagina is self-cleaning. This same discharge increases the closer you get to ovulation and when you are sexually aroused. You can have this normal discharge for weeks, months or even years before getting your first period. It will also continue after you get your period. Sometimes you can have few times brown discharge before your first period. Your first period can look like this also.

If your period is late you might get a brown, rather than red, discharge. It could also mean that for whatever reason during your last menses the entire uterine lining failed to make a timely exit. Brown Discharge may happen right after periods, and is just “cleaning out” your vagina. Old blood looks brown. This may occur when you are ovulating in the middle of menstrual cycle.

Brown discharge

Brown discharge

Brown vaginal discharge can also be a symptom of a medical concern that is much more sinister than leftover endometrial cells. Some of these conditions include Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), menopause, sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, Chlamydia or genital warts) or cervical cancer.

If the brown vaginal discharge is a result of dysfunctional endometrial elimination your symptoms would likely be a later than usual period, if that.

Each of the other conditions mentioned have much more noticeable symptoms of their own in addition to brown discharge. Some of typical additional to brown discharge symptoms are: pain, discharge that is watery or yellowish, depression, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, frequent urination, infertility, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, burning, itching, rash, hot to touch, mouth ulcers, and loss of appetite.

If the cause of the brown vaginal discharge is simply old uterine cells, then the treatment may be simple life style suggestions such as better nutrition, regular exercise and drinking more water. If you discover that the brown discharge is a result of another condition, better visit your doctor.

Brown Discharge – symptom of different diseases

If you have Loss of appetite, Fertility problems, Infertility, Abdominal pain and Brown vaginal discharge – you could have Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

If you have Vaginal lump, Cauliflower-like mass, Vaginal itching, Rash on genitals and Brown vaginal discharge – you could have Genital warts.

If you have Pain, Mouth lesions, Feels hot to touch, Yellow vaginal discharge and Brown vaginal discharge – you could have Gonorrhea.

If you have Loss of appetite, Weight loss, Discharge from anus, Fertility problems and Brown vaginal discharge – you could have Chlamydia.

If you have Pain in urethra, Yellow vaginal discharge, Vaginal dryness and Brown vaginal discharge – you could have Vulvovaginitis (vulvo-vaginal inflammation).

During Menopause you also could have Pain in urethra, Yellow vaginal discharge, Vaginal dryness and Brown vaginal discharge.

Brown vaginal discharge often could be a symptom of several hormonal dysfunctions (natural or provoked by hormonal medication and hormonal contraception).

If you have Spotting and/or Brown vaginal discharge before and after period – you could have Endometriosis.

Unexpected brown vaginal discharge OR brown discharge instead of period could be the first symptom of pregnancy.

Missed pills, Local infection or inflammation caused by the IUD, Vaginal infections, Stress, Cysts, Polyps (of cervix, vagina, or uterus), Fibroids also could trigger Chaotic spotting and/or brown vaginal discharge.

If you have Pain during intercourse, Vaginal discharge, Vaginal pain and Brown vaginal discharge – you could have Cervical cancer.

94 Comments

  1. I have brown vaginal discharge but I have no pains what so ever. Could I be pregnant?

  2. I have now had brown discharge for a week the week before that I had my menstrual. I had my last child 4yrs ago and had my tubes tied after my last child. So that being said I know it’s not pregnancy. I have no pain & no odor.. I have had pre cancerous cells before could it have came back full on cancer and that be the cause?

    • if you had it only once, it could be just stress, hormonal changes, etc. BUT it would be recommended to do your Pap-test as soon as possible – http://www.women-info.com/en/pap-test/

  3. i have brown discharge with unpleasant odor and and a slight pain. Sometimes the discharges looks like penkish color. My period finished 10 days now and am really worried.

  4. Hi my period just went off a week ago an 3 days afther that I stated cramping an I stated spotting this dark red brown looking it’s been going on for 3 days now should I b worried

    • could be ovulation discharge or uterus “extra-cleaning” after cramps=contractions

  5. Just after my period ended I noticed a light yellow discharge and I thought it’s not important then it turned into a dark brown discharge, mostly clotted with vulva itching, redness and dryness just on the top and not inside. I also noticed acne like pimples on vulva. I don’t feel comfortable wearing panties now and whenver I wipe there is always a brown discharge either clots or liquid. It has been a week, am not sexually active for over a month now and am married (away for study purpose). I put olive oil or sesame oil for moist and to relief itching. I also feel like period cramps. No pain while urinating nor any other pain. What could this be?

    • looks like vaginal infection

  6. dear dolly,

    having light bloody with some tissues coming for more than a year , have been visited medical and did scanning, all clear, very frightened, what it could be

  7. I had o on may 5 2015…my last period 4/19/2015….I started spotting watery brownish discharge on and off all day mostly when I had wiped…light bleeding no clots

    • stress? pregnancy? infection?

  8. I habe been having light brown watery discharge last 3 days on and off, period is due tomorrow. Also very minor left sided cramping. We had a miscarriage back in September and have been ttc since. Could I be pregnant even though test yesterday said negative? Please help im so anxious!

  9. I usually don’t like to look on the Internet for things but I haven’t had time to go to the dr… so I started my period mothers day and it lasted maybe 5 to 7 days. A few days later I started having brown discharge. It has almost been a month and it’s still there. I only have one partner. Some times it seems heavy and sometimes it’s very light. It also kinda of looks creamy sometimes. I have had endometerosis before and had it removed. This has never happened before… any ideas
    I’m scared it could be cervical cancer ot something

  10. I started my period on mothers day.. over a month ago. And I had a normal period and a few days after it stopped I started spotting brown. I wasn’t to worried at forst. But now it is still going on. I have had endo before and had surgery about 5 years ago. I do have some cramping on and off I get the sudden urge to pee and gotta pee right away but it’s not uncomfortable. It hurts to have sex for me all the time any way. It seems heavier some days and sometimes it kind of seems creamy… no smell at all… please help

  11. I started spotting 9days late and have very strong constant pelvic pain and nausea and light headedness. What could it be

  12. I am in menopause and just noticed some brown spotting and clear fluid discharge, I have read this may be normal. Should I go to the doctors?

  13. My normal period lasts for around 5 days. But this time it’s around 10. I’ve noticed an odorless, brown discharge. It’s light and there is no pain caused by it. Its just there. Ive heard it’s ”old blood” being cleaned from the body but can this go on for around a week? Its really troublesome and very concerning. Any help please?

    • you are right – it could be just old blood cleaning – causes could be stress, weight changes, physical exercises; don’t worry

      • When should I go see a doctor about it? It doesn’t seem to be stopping, but maybe getting lighter. It’s still a little worrying. And is it normal? It’s going on around 12 days now.

      • Thanks for your input! It relieves a ton of stress. When should I start to be concerned about it? It’s been around maybe 12 days. There is still no pain but it does seem to be lighting up a bit and there is still no pain.

        • if the cause of it would not disappear – it will stay; try to identify the real cause of it; in normal situation (after stress, after pressure, etc.) it will disappear after few weeks; if not – go to your gynecologist.
          REMEMBER – more worries=more stress=more problems

  14. HI
    I have PCOS and never have “normal menses”. I have in the past had brown discharge which goes away after a couple days. I now have a light brown then bright pink discharge only when wiping x 2 weeks. No pain no discomfort just the discharge. I am on antibiotics and they have not done a thing. HELP…..

    • brown discharge is not typical for PCOS – most probably you have infection – check possible causes in – http://www.women-info.com/en/brown-discharge-period/

      • I had a huge argument with my mother a gew weeks ago everyday am stressing with my bf technically used to take meds for vaginal infection it never stopped i guess it was normal i stress a lot in school am snart but get bad grades approximately two days before my period. I have dark brown then red vaginal discharge back pain stomach pain light yellow pee for the sample no docter u pretty much always been healthy i don’t sleep with nightmares

        • you are experiencing complicated stress everywhere around you – it can mess your menstrual cycle; avoid stress, relax and your normal cycle and normal life will come back to you

  15. I’ve been on depo contraceptive for 6 months now, yesterday I started having cramps like period paids with brown discharge. What could be the problem

  16. My period was normal at first and then I noticed a brown/sometimes red discharge. It lasted for a few days (nearly a week now) but now it seems like its back to my normal period? I’m not to sure whats going on. I have experienced what seemed like light cramping but i’m not to sure. I’m not pregnant, sexually active or on any birth control but I have been a bit stressed lately.

    • avoid stress, take care of your normal weight, be physically active and everything will be OK

  17. I had my period from June 2 to June 6. I had unprotected sex on June 9 and took a plan b pill the next day. I felt fine at first but my stomach has felt crampy and I go to the bathroom more frequently (about 4-5 times a day). Today (exactly a week after unprotected sex) I discovered brown discharge and minor pelvic discomfort after I finished peeing. The discharge feel and smells like I’m about to start my period again (my cycle is very irregular). Is this a sign pregnancy or an std? Side effects from the plan b? Please help

  18. hi my period came 9 days late then ihave brown discharge thigh and leg pain, ovary pain, watering discharge again

  19. I’ve been on the depo shot since November and have gotten it on time ever since. My bf and I had unprotected sex because we thought it was safe. It’s been about a month since we last had sex, and for the past week I’ve felt like I’m gaining weight in my lower abdomen. My doctor put me on a Z Pak on Monday for a sinus infection and I’m wondering if it’s messing with my shot? I started having brown discharge (slight, not heavy) last night and I noticed brown fleshy tissue in my urine tonight. I’ve had it when I’ve had a UTI before, but I have no burning when I pee. Just the urge to go (especially at night). Every time I’ve had a UTI I’ve had terrible burning. Could it be a UTI, just old blood (I haven’t had a period since November) or pregnancy?

    • FIRST, antibiotics always reduce the activity of hormonal contraception;
      SECOND, most probably your UTI is coming back – better to use some natural remedies for prevention – http://www.women-info.com/en/natural-remedies-uti/

  20. I just experienced a very light period for about 10 days. The period was so light. My period went off yesterday morning and today I experienced a slimy dark brown discharge. It was no smell to the discharge. Can you help please

    • stress or pregnancy?

  21. I just had a 5 or 6 day period and it was very light and a brownish red. I now have smelly brown discharge but no cramps or nausea. My period is irregular but always have been. This past week I have been having a hard time eating and sleeping as well. Help please?

  22. Dark brown discharge. No smell. I’m not currently on my cycle either.

  23. I recently have been having a dark brown, clotty and watery discharge. I have not been sexually active for two months. I’ve had normal periods but every few days I have the discharge, mostly when I wipe. I don’t have any pain or other symptoms, should I be concerened??

    • everything has a reason – stress? vaginal infection? hormonal disturbances? pills?

      • I recently came home from college and have been babysitting 7 hours a day? I am not on any medication or birth control.

        • most probably too much stress (overwork) – take some nice holidays

  24. Hi, Im 19 years old and Ive always had regular periods but it became irregular after my I had sex for the first time at age 17. I didnt have my period for almost 10 months.For those 10 months I had been spotting (brown discharge)almost everyday. I wasnt pregnant nor did I have any sti’s because I got tested many times to make sure since I was freaking out and we used protection. Then after those 10 months passed I had sex for the second time (age 18) and I had my period shortly after that. It was regular for a couple months then it disappeared. Once again I began spotting and having brown discharge. I would realize that sometimes I would bleed but it wasnt like my period. Then in April I got the heaviest and longest period (lasted 2 weeks and it normally lasts 5 days & I had to change my tampon almost every 2 hours). I thought after that it would finally go back to normal but I havent got it since! Its going to be 3 months since my last period and since Ive been having spotting and having brown discharge. I havent been sexually active for almost two years and I havent been pregnant! Im really starting to freak out and don’t know whats going on!
    I’d really appreciate your input and thoughts Dr!

  25. I had flu and was taking antibiotics a few days after i finished the antibiotics. I noticed a slight discharge and when i go to the loo it burns. i now have a very red vulva and it’s like there is cuts cause i am even scared to go to the loo the way it burns

  26. Hi, I’ve had a brown, stringy kind of discharge with a tiny, tiny bit of blood for the past week and half or so. I feel extremely little to no pain at all. I have not had intercourse at all for months.I am on the birth control shot medroxypr. I had it once before just before a previous period before my last one, and it went away. But after my last period it came back. What could it be? Should I be worried?

    • it could be side effect of contraception

      • But when I got the shot the first two times, I didn’t get the discharge.

        • Medroxyprogesterone is in a class of medications called progestins. It works to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries). Medroxyprogesterone also thins the lining of the uterus. After some period (long-term) it can “reject” old uterus lining and provoke brown discharge. If you stop shots, uterus lining will start recovering and again “rejecting” old uterus lining.

  27. I recently lost my virginity in April and haven’t had sex since then. In May I started noticing a very heavy discharge. It Was a clear/light yellow color. I didn’t pay it any mind because I thought since I just had sex my body was just changing. I’ve had this same discharge until now. July. Today I noticed a brown discharge that is very heavy, and I would really like to know what is going on with my body.

  28. I have brown discharge before and after my period and bad. but my urine is smelly and cloudy. As a child up until my adult Hood I have had reoccurring urinary tract infections. I’m allergic to most medications well the strong ones. I have have vaginal pains. Sometimes I have vaginal dryness and it hurts really bad when I have intercourse. I have issues controlling my bladder due to the fact of these infections. I’ve never had an STD because I go to the doctor frequently because of the uti’s that I keep getting.can you help me and kind of lead me in a direction because I am currently trying to get pregnant… please help

  29. I just got off of my period yesturday, and I have been having brown discharge but I have no pain and I am a virgin.

    • sometimes it could happen – just slow uterine cleaning after menstruation

  30. Hi there, I started off with dark brown discharge on a Saturday night thinking I am about to start my monthly. As the days goes by it wasn’t period. Ives been “discharging” for about 6 days and 1 night now. It’s was dark brown and slowly turns to light. I have not started my monthly what so ever, the last time I started was the end of June. My period is irregular. I used to be on birth control to maintain my period just so it can come the same day every other mint. I recently got off it and I’m not sure why I’m discharging for this long…please help..also, it doesn’t come out a lot, just here and there so I always have to wear hygienes so it won’t get every where.

  31. So glad I could find a site with someone who answers! I started having brown discharge last night. Very very light but still a bit if a shock. I take birth control that only gives me four periods a year and looking at my pills I would be on my period this week. There’s no odor or pain, visible warts, and I haven’t had ssx with anyone lately to determine painful inter course.

    • While you get the convenience of 4 periods a year, you’re also more likely to have bleeding or spotting between periods. This can be slight to a flow like a regular period and should decrease over time. Bleeding or spotting is a common side effect with any birth control pill, but you’re more likely to experience this with SEASONIQUE – check more in – http://www.women-info.com/en/postpone-period/

  32. I haven’t had a period since I had my nexplanon put in my arm a month after I had my son 12/18/13. I don’t have any stds due to not having sex since March of 2013 and being tested. Had Brown discharge once every few months or so. Also been having hip pain and lower back pain too.

    • brown discharge is a typical side effect of nexplanon; hip pain and lower back pain could be coincident

  33. Hi, I’m having a brown discharge a week now. I had unprotected sex on the third week of June, (this is my last sexual intercourse). June 28 to July 2 was my last period but it’s 37 days before my period came, Usually my period came 33-35 days. Now I experiencing brown discharge and no pain at all. Today is my 33rd day but I have no feeling of stomach cramps. Could I be pregnant? Thank you!

  34. I have brown discharge and not sure why. I start my period pills tomorrow in my birth control pack. I’ve been on this specific birth control for 5 months and have never had any problems with it. I’m very good about it and always get my period when I’m supposed to based on these pills. So I’m a little concerned as to why I’m getting brown discharge as I’ve never had that happen to me before on this birth control nor before a period is coming. My body doesn’t even register I have to get my period until Tuesday when I begin the period pills on a Sunday. I also just used prescribed medical yeast infection cream and was bleeding from that when I would wake up in the morning.

    • yeast infection could be a cause for brown discharge or missed pill

  35. Hi i have brown and reddish discharge. this is the ninth day ive been off of my period. and i had unprotected sex during my menstrual cycle and it was heavy bleeding. could i be pregnant?

    • usually sex during menstruation cannot end up with pregnancy; bleeding could be provoked by sex during menstruation; check your fertile and safe days in – http://www.women-info.com/en/fertile-days/

  36. Hi Dr. Dolly,

    First I want to say thank you and that you are a saint for providing this service to so many.
    Secondly, my period is 3 days late. The day after it was due I began the brown cervical mucus. Very slight, only when I wipe. I took a pregnancy test yesterday afternoon that came out negative, however I had unprotected sex right around ovulation time. I may have experienced a slight cramp once or twice today, and have been quite emotional. I could possibly feeling a bit of stomach pain right now, but it could be indegestion! Lol. Other than that, no symptoms. Help?

    • it could be stress related or pregnancy – check all possible causes for late period in – http://www.women-info.com/en/late-period/

      • Hello again Dr.Dolly,

        Thank you for your fast response. My period did begin today and I have had terrible cramps throughout the whole day. I typically get cramps for about 10min altogether and they are minor. The flow is typical. I have an apt. with my ob/gyn in two weeks. Would a miscarriage be detectable by then? At all? Thanks again.

        • if you had very early miscarriage, it would not be detected after 2 weeks

  37. My period is late 27 days. I took home pregnancy test, its negative. Before 3 years I had ovarian cyst near my left ovary. It went off by contraceptive pills. Now am worry that i have it again. I got watery brownish discharge at the time which my period suppose to come. But it didnt come. Now I have pain in my left ovary and left thigh . it increases when i sleep on my right side my vaginal discharges are normal , some times i have nausea . i dont have other symptoms .

  38. Comment : i have a question im on depo provera I had unprotected sex not so long ago and as result contracted pid me n partner went an got treatment after we finished it we had sex again bt with a condom dis time after like 3 days past I saw brown discharge its js small nothing hectic its been goin a full week nw n still on what could be the cause please reply

    • sex is stimulating uterine contractions which can provoke brown discharge; at the same time, brown discharge and/or bleeding are common side effects of DepoProvera – check all possible side effects in – http://www.women-info.com/en/depo-provera-side-effects/

  39. I am 24 and I have a Mirena IUD and a simple ovarian cyst, which are both precursors to the brown discharge. My question, although somewhat innane, is this: Is it still considered discharge if it is nearly only present when I wipe? I sometimes need to wipe multiple times to clean myself. Normally, I only see a completely brown piece of toilet paper and occasionally it will drip into the bowl while urinating. Please let me know your thoughts.

    • YES, it is brown discharge – healthy women don’t see anything during wipe

  40. Dr Dolly. Im on the 15th day of my preriod .I’m seeing stringy brown discharge n I have a slight pain on my left side. What could it be?

  41. Hi
    I have been experiencing a bloody brown discharge in my urine with a little burning sensation from past two days. It looks like dirty urine. My period is due on 5th spetember…i have a little back pain too…please guide me what it is so that j can take the necessary steps to cure it.

  42. Hi
    I’ve had my periods twice last month, on the 3rd and again on the 30th. So yesterday I started having brown discharges with watery pinkish blood. Ive been having something that’s almost like knocking in my tummy just below my bellybutton, it doesn’t happen everyday. Also when we squeezed my breasts,there was a clear liquid almost like water that came out. So my friend said I could be pregnant, took a pregnancy test and it came back negative, I’m really confused. Please help.

    Thanks

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