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Brown discharge during menstrual cycle

Brown vaginal discharge during any period of menstrual cycle can be unpleasant and disturbing. Sometimes it is just old oxidized blood remains after regular menstrual periods but sometimes it can be a symptom of several conditions, infections or diseases. Brown discharge during menstrual cycle could appear before or after menstruation, between periods (in the middle of cycle) or instead of normal menstrual period.

Brown discharge during menstrual cycle – before period

Brown discharge before period can be absolutely normal. In general, menstrual flow contains of detached endometrial lining, blood, dead cells, nutrients and tissue remains. All mentioned elements are discharged together as menstrual bleeding. Sometimes only the layer of nutrients could be discharged before the actual menstruation and it could appear like brown discharge before period.

Sometimes brown discharge before expected period could be cause by implantation of fertilized egg (so called “implantation bleeding”) which occurs during 6-12 days after ovulation. It can be considered as early sign of pregnancy.

Birth control pills also can be responsible for brown discharge before period. It is well known that birth control pills insure the contraceptive effect due to hormonal changes which could interfere in uterine lining development and detachment. If woman miss pills, it also can trigger similar brown discharge before period.

Regular brown discharge before period can be also a symptom of endometriosis or polyps or vaginal infections (including sexually transmitted diseases).

Brown discharge during menstrual cycle – after period

Brown discharge during menstrual cycle

In most cases brown discharge after period can be considered as normal – kind of post menstruation uterine cleansing from old uterine lining shedding and oxidized blood. This kind of discharge is a common and should not raise concern if no other symptoms are present.

If brown discharge after period is combined with cramps and pain, it could be a symptom of endometriosis. If brown discharge appeared with foul smell or itching or vaginal burning sensation, it could be a sign of vaginal infections.

Brown discharge during menstrual cycle – mid of cycle

Some women could experience mid cycle short-term brown discharge regularly every month – it can be considered as a sign of ovulation (best period for pregnancy). It usually appeared in the middle of menstrual cycle – approximately during 14 – 16 days after the last menstruation in typical normal 28 day menstrual cycle.

Duration of mid cycle brown discharge is always very short (from few hours to one-two days); volume of mid cycle brown discharge is limited (from few drops to light discharge); usually mid cycle brown discharge does not have any unpleasant odor or itching or burning sensation.

Brown discharge during menstrual cycle – between periods

Brown discharge between periods can be stressful. In most cases brown discharge between menstrual periods is a symptom of some abnormalities or diseases. Best is so called “hormonal storm” and worse is cervical cancer.

Brown discharge between periods can be a symptom of following diseases:

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) characterized by loss of appetite, fertility problems, infertility, abdominal pain and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Genital warts characterized by vaginal lump, cauliflower-like mass, vaginal itching, rash on genitals and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Gonorrhea characterized by pain, mouth lesions, feels hot to touch, yellow vaginal discharge and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Chlamydia characterized by loss of appetite, weight loss, discharge from anus, fertility problems and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Vulvovaginitis (vulvo-vaginal inflammation) characterized by pain in urethra, yellow vaginal discharge, vaginal dryness and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Menopause characterized by pain in urethra, yellow vaginal discharge, vaginal dryness and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Hormonal imbalance characterized by irregular vaginal bleeding between periods and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Endometriosis characterized by spotting and/or brown vaginal discharge before and after period combined with cramps and pelvic pain.

Cervical cancer characterized by pain during intercourse, vaginal discharge with specific smell, vaginal pain or discomfort and brown vaginal discharge between periods.

Chaotic spotting and/or brown vaginal discharge between periods could appear in cases of missed pills, vaginal infections, polyps and fibroids.

Brown discharge during menstrual cycle – instead of period

Brown discharge instead of period could be also the symptom of hormonal imbalance and/or hormonal dysfunctions which women could experience during polycystic ovarian diseases (PCOS), endometriosis, ovarian premature failure, hyperprolactinemia, premenopause and sometimes during use of hormonal contraception including birth control pills.

Brown discharge instead of normal menstrual period could be a sign of so called “implantation bleeding” which usually appeared in average of 9 days after ovulation (6-12 days post ovulation).


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