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Reddish brown spotting

Reddish brown spotting could be very confusing and it could appear at absolutely unexpected time. Can healthy woman experience reddish brown spotting? Is it a symptom of something serious?

First of all, each young woman should know that normal physiological vaginal discharge is usually clear, creamy or very slightly yellow without unpleasant odor but could be very specific to each woman natural smell. The volume of normal vaginal discharge can be different depending on period of life and can be changed during different days of menstrual cycle.

Brown spotting at any time of menstrual cycle is most often associated with old endometrial tissues. If your period is late you might get a brown, rather than red, spotting. It could also mean that for whatever reason during your last menses the entire uterine lining failed to make a timely exit. Brown spotting may happen right after periods, and is just “cleaning out” your vagina. Old blood looks brown.

Red or reddish vaginal discharge is a symptom of fresh shedding of the uterine lining (during menstruation, after delivery, as a result of hormonal treatment, uterine trauma, etc.)

Reddish brown spotting means mixture of fresh and old shedding of the uterine lining and reasons could be different.

Reddish brown spotting – causes


If you have reddish brown spotting at the time of your normal period rather than your usual amount of flow, and you have had unprotected sex without using birth control, you could be pregnant and reddish brown spotting could be the first symptom of pregnancy.

Sometimes early in pregnancy you may have reddish brown spotting at the time of expected period (time when your period would normally come) – it means pregnancy hormones trigger short shedding of the uterine lining.

If you are pregnant and already had reddish brown spotting during 4-6 days, better to visit your doctor and exclude the possibility of miscarriage.


Reddish brown spotting may occur when you are ovulating in the middle of the menstrual cycle – increased levels of hormones can trigger unexpected shedding of the uterine lining (just a small portion). Fresh shedding mixed with old shedding from the uterus could be a cause of reddish brown spotting. During ovulation reddish brown spotting could be just during few hours and sometimes could be combined with abdominal pain (short).

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection in the upper genital tract (uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries). In most cases PID is caused by infections including sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia. PID can affect the uterus and trigger reddish brown spotting.


Menopause is a naturally occurring stage in women life which means the cessation of menstrual periods – it is a time of the end of women’s reproductive function and reproductive years. Usually menopause happens between the ages of 45 and 55. During menopause women’s reproductive system changes resulting in a discontinuation of estrogen production. During menopause reddish brown spotting could appear as a result of hormonal disturbances.


Reddish Brown spotting

Some types of contraception (mainly hormonal contraception, birth control pills, some IUDs) could trigger reddish brown spotting at different period of menstrual cycle.

All hormonal contraceptive methods change normal rhythmic hormone production and it could trigger shedding of the uterine lining at unexpected periods of menstrual cycle. During hormonal contraception usually shedding is happening on very limited area of uterine lining and short reddish brown vaginal spotting could be just temporary side effect of contraception.

Your body considers and clarifies the IUD as “unusual item in the uterus” and shedding and/or “trauma” of the uterine lining could happen during first month of IUD use. Reddish brown vaginal spotting could be expected during first month of IUD use.

Cervical cancer

Early cervical cancers usually don’t cause symptoms. When the cancer grows larger, women may notice increased reddish brown vaginal spotting. Unexpected reddish brown discharge should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible (especially repeated).

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