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Dark brown spotting before period

Many women have dark brown spotting before period – in many cases it associated with old endometrial tissues and old blood from the uterus. If your period is late you might get dark brown, rather than red, spotting.

Dark brown spotting before period is only indicative of a lighter or a weaker menstrual flow. If this type of spotting appears several times, better to visit your doctor.

Dark brown spotting before period could appear in following conditions:

Normal menstrual cycle

Dark brown potting is normal when it occurs few days before the expected regular monthly menstrual period. This type of spotting is mostly due to the presence of old endometrial tissue and it usually occurs when menstrual periods are late. Blood which is old has dark brown color. When this happens, it’s simply the endometrial cells from the previous month, which were not properly eliminated from the body.

Implantation bleeding

Implantation occurs when a fertilized embryo gets embedded in the uterine lining causing rupture of blood – this could be a cause of dark brown spotting. Not every woman who conceives will experience dark discharge; however, this bleeding could be brown or pink and could last 1-2 days before your periods are expected.

Uterine dysfunctions

Some hormonal dysfunctions could change menstrual cycle and sometimes trigger dark brown spotting before period. Often it is happening because of progesterone deficiency. Hormonal tests would be needed for adequate treatments.

Polyps and Fibroids

Prolonged dark brown spotting could be a symptom of polyp or uterine fibroid. The inner uterine lining needs to be normal – any abnormal grow, irregularity or extra tissue can make this lining fragile and result in an unusual spotting at any time but often before period.

Dark brown spotting before period


Endometriosis is a typical cause for dark brown spotting before or after period. 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. The cells of endometriosis attach themselves to tissue outside the uterus and are called endometriosis implants. Endometriosis of vagina and/or cervix can be a reason for dark brown spotting before and/or after period. During endometriosis other symptoms also could appear such as very painful periods and fertility problems (infertility).


It is well known that so called “stress hormones” produced by adrenal glands, have a direct effect on female sex hormones, which regulate the menstrual cycle. Stress causes endometrial lining to thin down and delay periods. The blood oxidizes over time, making it brown in color and results in irregular periods or dark brown spotting before periods. Actually during stress so called “stress hormones” change the level of female hormones provoking unexpected dark brown spotting.

Post intercourse spotting

If you had intercourse just before period, it also could trigger dark brown spotting due to various factors like early pregnancy, inflammation, irritation of the lining, tearing of the hymen, cervical polyps or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Contraceptives side effects

Many birth control pills users experience dark brown spotting before period as a side effect and is caused due to hormonal changes. The pills cause changes in the hormones which results in thinning of the lining, which sheds erratically and in small amounts. Missing birth control pills can also cause this as it directly affects the hormonal balance. Similar situation can take place after emergency contraceptive pills. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) can also cause dark brown spotting before period due to damage to the endometrial lining.


Women after 45-50 usually experience hormonal changes and irregular periods. At the same time, during perimenopause women could notice dark brown spotting before late periods. It is mainly caused due to the atrophy of the lining of the uterus, which makes it weak and causes to burst spontaneously. Additional symptoms of perimenopause are well known – mood swings, hot flashes, depression, body ache, skin changes, etc.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is surely the most serious and most dangerous cause of dark brown spotting. This type of cancer is usually caused by the virus HPV which is spread through sexual contacts.

Cervical cancer risk factors:

Starting sexual activities at a young age,

Having multiple sex partners,

Weakened immune system.

Besides dark brown spotting before period (sometimes also at other days of cycle) women with cervical cancer could have also other symptoms including unexpected weight loss, pelvic pain, loss of appetite and fatigue.

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