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Top 5 brown discharge types

Many women confess that menstrual period is unpleasant period of month (messy, smelly, uncomfortable and painful). Menstrual flow consists of expelled internal uterine lining, blood, nutrients and dead tissue remains. In general, average duration of period is 4-5 days. Additional brown discharge at any time of menstrual cycle can be depressive. Different brown discharge types could be symptoms of several health conditions (simple or dangerous). It is very important to clarify when exactly women have brown discharge:

  • Brown discharge before period,
  • Brown discharge after period,
  • Brown discharge between periods,
  • Brown discharge in the middle of menstrual cycle,
  • Brown discharge instead of period.

Brown discharge types – before period

Brown discharge before period connected to menstrual bleeding
Not all types of brown discharge before period can be a subject of concern. Sometimes endometrial cells are not entirely expelled during period and “old” endometrial cells mixed with oxidized blood can leave uterus during next period and usually appear as brown discharge before period.

Brown discharge before period caused by polyps
Uterine polyps and cervical polyps can be responsible for brown discharge before period. Polyps can bleed very slowly before period and the brown discharge before period could be a result of the bleeding from polyps.

Brown discharge before period triggered by birth control pills
Birth control pills change levels of hormones, disturb normal uterine lining development and can trigger brown discharge. At the same time, missed pills can cause brown discharge.

Brown Discharge before period vs implantation bleeding
Implantation bleeding (brown discharge before expected period) is early symptom of pregnancy. It is an indication that the fetus has implanted itself in the uterine endometrial lining which triggers rupture of the lining and unexpected brown discharge.

Brown Discharge before period caused by vaginal infections
Several infections including sexually transmitted diseases (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts, trichomoniasis) could trigger brown discharge before period combined with vaginal itching, foul vaginal odor and vaginal burning sensation.

Brown Discharge before period caused by endometriosis
Endometriosis (endometrial implants) can be attached in vagina and cervix which could cause brown discharge before period.

Brown discharge types – after period

Often brown discharge after period could follow normal menstrual flow – actually it is female body’s way of cleaning out the vagina and shedding old blood. It could happen after regular normal period or after late period.

Brown discharge after period can be also caused by endometriosis, vaginal infections and damaged reproductive tissues (erosion, polyps and injuries).

Brown discharge types – between periods

Brown discharge types

Brown discharge types

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

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID);
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital warts);
  • Vaginal infections (vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis, trush);
  • Endometriosis or any hormonal disturbances;
  • Contraception (hormonal contraception, missed pills, IUDs);
  • Benign tumors (fibroids, polyps, ovarian cysts);
  • Cervical cancer.

Brown discharge types – in the middle of menstrual cycle

Mid cycle brown discharge is common – some women experience mid cycle brown discharge regularly every month. It can be considered as pretty reliable indicator of ovulation. In most cases mid cycle brown discharge occurs in the middle of menstrual cycle – approximately during 14 – 16 days after the last menstruation in classical normal 28 day menstrual cycle.

Brown discharge triggered by other causes (mentioned above) sometimes can coincide with ovulation days but it does not mean it is occurred because of ovulation.

Brown discharge types – instead of period

Sometimes women could experience brown discharge instead of normal regular menstrual periods. It can be a result of pregnancy, hormonal deficiency or damaged internal uterine lining.

Brown discharge instead of period vs implantation bleeding
Brown discharge instead of period could be early sign of pregnancy (so called “implantation bleeding”). After fertilization, the fertilized egg or zygote travels down the Fallopian tube to the uterus and embryo burrows into the uterine lining which results in brown discharge instead of period.

Brown discharge instead of period caused by birth control pills
Birth control pills’ mode of action is based on inhibition of female hormones production and suppression of cyclic hormonal fluctuations. In certain cases it could damage normal uterine internal lining development which could lead to brown discharge instead of normal menstrual flow.

Brown discharge instead of period during pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs because of infections in the upper genital tract (uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries). PID could cause not only brown discharge but also pelvic adhesions and infertility.

Brown discharge instead of period during perimenopause and menopause
Perimenopause and following menopause are naturally occurring transition periods of women life when ovaries gradually begin to produce female hormones. Hormonal deficiency could trigger brown discharge instead of period.


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