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Black vaginal discharge

Normal healthy vaginal discharge is a liquid made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina. Vaginal discharge is natural body cleaning process which keeps vagina clean and healthy. Vaginal discharge helps clear out dead cells and bacteria. At the same time, healthy vaginal discharge insures the friendly environment allowing spermatozoids to move through cervix. During different phases of menstrual cycle the color, texture and volume of the vaginal discharge can be changed. Every woman knows her personal normal vaginal discharge and daily discharge can give you clue about overall health. Any change in color, texture and smell can indicate vaginal infections, hormonal disturbances, pregnancy complications and even cancer. Sometimes women could experience black vaginal discharge which could be a sign of several health conditions. In general, the black vaginal discharge is a sign of old bleeding – the darker the color, the older the blood.

Black vaginal discharge connected with menstrual cycle

Some women could have black spotting or brown vaginal discharge before or after normal period (during few days). Nothing to be worried – it is most likely uterus is clearing out some old blood and uterine lining. But if black discharge sticks around for more than few days, it could be a sign of something else.

Black vaginal discharge

Irregular unexpected black discharge could be the result of several hormonal dysfunctions including PCOS, Turner syndrome, adrenogenital syndrome, etc.

Sometimes girls could experience black discharge caused by so called “retained menses” – when menstrual blood is trapped in the uterus and cannot exit because of fully or partially covered entrance of vagina by hymen (abnormal situation).

Pay special attention to your vaginal discharge changes during menstrual cycle – once you know what is normal for you, it will be easier to recognize abnormalities.

Black vaginal discharge – implantation

During implantation the fertilized egg attaches (implants) itself to the uterine lining which can cause little local bleeding. Later this bleeding comes out from vagina like pink or brown or black discharge (depending on how long it took to exit through the vagina). Usually the implantation occurs between 6 and 12 days after fertilization and short discharge during this period could be the first sign of pregnancy.

Black vaginal discharge – foreign objects in the vagina

If you have black discharge combined with unpleasant foul smell, most probably you have some foreign object left in the vagina (forgotten tampon, pieces of condom or other vaginal contraceptives or other objects). Black smelly discharge can be combined with fever or TSS (toxic shock syndrome), pretty rare but serious complication.

Black vaginal discharge – cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is slow spreading type of cancer. Black vaginal discharge could be the first sign of cervical cancer. Special attention should be paid and urgent visit to your doctor would be recommended. Early diagnosis can increase the survival rate dramatically.

Black vaginal discharge – miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

Black, brown or pinkish vaginal discharge is always a subject for concern during first trimester of pregnancy. It could be considered as threatened symptom of possible miscarriage. If you had missed period and positive pregnancy test followed by unusual discharge, better to visit your doctor for miscarriage prevention.

Irregular unexpected on-going black discharge could be also a sign of ectopic pregnancy (especially if combined with missed period, abdominal pain and dizziness).

Black vaginal discharge – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Irregular black or brown vaginal discharge combined with foul smell, pelvic pain, painful urination, painful sex and fever could be symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – most commonly caused by sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia. During Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, usually inflammation spread into the Fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries.

If you had black or brown vaginal discharge, avoid vaginal douching which just covers up the problem and could put you at risk of serious problems including infections and cancer.

Black vaginal discharge – cervical stenosis

Some women (commonly after 40-45) could experience black or brown vaginal discharge because of cervical stenosis – the narrowing of the cervix, which can obstruct or drastically slow the flow of menstrual blood.

Any time you experience any big changes in the color, texture or smell of your vaginal discharge, it could be a sign of infections or other abnormalities. The best solution is to visit your doctor for clarifications and in-time treatment.

Black vaginal discharge – when to visit your doctor

Black vaginal discharge during few days could just be old blood being expelled from the body.

Any time you experience unexpected irregular on-going black discharge, it should be discussed with your doctor, especially if it is combined with following symptoms:

  • Vaginal foul odor,
  • Pelvic pain,
  • Fever,
  • Frequent urination,
  • Vaginal burning sensation,
  • Black discharge after menopause.

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