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Brown bleeding

Uterine brown bleeding is always a reason for concern and it is becoming more complicated if bleeding is dark brown. In most cases the color of vaginal bleeding is expected to be bright and/or dark red but sometimes vaginal bleeding can be brown. In most cases the color of the vaginal bleeding is either light or dark. Dark brown color of the vaginal bleeding is usually indicates that the blood is not fresh and has been contained in the vagina or uterus for some period of time before being expelled.


Brown vaginal bleeding in most cases mean presence of “old blood” which is breaking down and has taken some time before it exits through the vagina.

Sometimes brown vaginal bleeding could be a symptom of different types of vaginal infections or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Other possibility for brown bleeding is when the bleeding occurs slowly thereby allowing the blood to degrade over time.

Menstruation & brown bleeding

Brown bleeding

Menstruation is the shedding of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) accompanied by bleeding. By the end of your menstrual cycle usually the thickened uterine lining and extra blood are shed through the vaginal canal. Color and intensity of the menstruation may not be the same every month, every season and it may not be the same in all women. In most cases the color of the menstruation is red and any discoloration in the menstrual flow becomes a cause for concern.

The brown bleeding during menstrual flow is fairly common among women. This is because discoloration is commonly a result of the long menstrual period – the long period means that the blood has become oxidized thereby causing the change in color. When this is the reason for the discoloration of menstrual flow, there is no cause for alarm.

Retained menses also can be a reason for brown bleeding. The inner wall of the uterus (endometrium) is usually a part of menstrual bleeding and sometimes a small portion of the uterine contents could be retained and after few days (1-3) it could appear as brown vaginal bleeding. Usually retained menses appearing in small portion and may occur few days after you finish your period.

Brown bleeding during menstruation could be noted also in following cases:

Menstruation during and/or after stress and/or depression. When a woman is subjected to extreme stress and depression, the inner lining of the uterus becomes thin. This thin lining means that there is a delay in shedding the endometrial wall. This delay will cause the blood to oxidize and become discolored and menstruation could look like brown bleeding.

Menstruation with blood clotting. Blood clots usually have brownish and/or black color and once the blood clots are mixed with menstrual blood, the menstruation could be like brown bleeding. In these cases the menstrual flow could become normal after 1-2 days.

Menstruation during medications. If woman is on some type of medication, the menstrual bleeding could become brown. Many women, who use birth control pills and/or injectable steroid contraception, noted brown bleeding during menstruation.

Menstruation with uterine polyps and/or cysts. It was noted that if women have uterine polyps and/or cysts, the menstrual flow could have brown color.

Pregnancy & brown bleeding

Brown bleeding during pregnancy indicates that blood is not fresh – brown bleeding results from the flow of oxidized blood from the vagina. When blood comes in contact with air or is outside the blood vessels for a long time before leaving the body, it looks brown.

Many pregnant women think that bleeding of any kind is an indication of miscarriage but fortunately it is not always a case.

At very early stages of pregnancy the brown bleeding and/or brown spotting can occur right around the time of a woman’s missed period which could be a symptom of implantation of the fertilized egg. In fact not all pregnant women experience brown implantation bleeding, but for those who do, it’s completely normal.

Sometimes pregnant women could experience brown bleeding after some activities and/or examinations such as intercourse, fitness, medical physical examination of the cervix and internal vaginal ultrasound. As during pregnancy the cervix becomes very vascular, several activities and/or tests could provoke bleeding from cervix – but the blood is not coming from inside the uterus and does not indicate any risk for pregnancy development.

While brown bleeding in small amounts usually is not a symptom of anything threatening, the large amount of brown bleeding is not normal and pregnant women should contact their obstetrician immediately. The large amount of brown bleeding could be a signal for miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy and/or trophoblastic malformation.

Induced artificial abortion & brown bleeding

Induced abortion sometimes could be a cause for brown bleeding. If women used medical abortion pills (mifepriston, RU-486) or if had illegal abortion, it may result in some of the uterine contents being expelled for days and weeks after the abortion. This may appear as brown vaginal bleeding with clots.

Infections in reproductive system & brown bleeding

Infections of the vagina, uterus or fallopian tubes may cause slight bleeding that degrades before it exits the vagina. If it is a slight bleed and the infection is limited, a brown vaginal bleeding could be noticed during few days.
As infections usually have other additional symptoms (pain, fewer, unusual vaginal discharge) it is easy to clarity the reason for brown bleeding. Sometimes several sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) could also be responsible for brown vaginal bleeding.

Cancer & brown bleeding

Cancer, especially in cases of cervical cancer where there is slight bleeding and ulceration of the cervix, a brown vaginal bleed may be noticed occasionally. In this case, the abnormal brown vaginal bleeding could occur over duration of time and increase in severity at the malignancy progresses.

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