For many women menstrual period is the most hectic, uncomfortable and unpleasant part of month. This is due to miscellaneous reasons like smell, bleeding, cramping, worries, cleanliness and much more. However, few women encounter further problems like brown discharge from women. This is more worrisome. While in most cases menstruation is normal but change in vaginal secretions raises alarms. Adding to this problem is spotting, which signals an underlying reproductive health issues.
What is Blood Spotting?
Blood spotting is vaginal bleeding that occurs before or after the normal range of menstrual days. The normal range is different in different women. This depends on genetic factors, biological factors and other important factors. A typical menstrual period starts from 28 days and lasts for about seven to eight days. This bleeding can be mild even which the name indicates. It might only appear as a light spot of pink or red colour on your under-garments. This can also appear as more pronouncing even heavier bleeding.
Normal and Abnormal Vaginal Discharge:
Normal vaginal discharge contains the debris, tissues and vessels of the endometrial layer of your uterus. This debris sheds of from the uterus when pregnancy doesn’t occur. Natural vaginal discharge varies during the course of your monthly cycle. During the days of vaginal bleeding women might observe a clear and whitish discharge coming from vagina.
This is nothing to worry about and is completely normal. This fluid is meant to keep the vagina moist away from infections and foreign particles getting their way in to the vagina. Abnormal vaginal discharge may appear something other then what is the normal routine in terms of colour, amount, smell and consistency.
In this article we will go through the reason and questions for brown vaginal discharge. Such vaginal discharges raise many questions in the mind of women. Like;
- What does it mean when brown discharge comes out?
- Why is my vaginal discharge brown?
- What does light and dark brown discharges signify?
- Does a brown bloody discharge indicate disease?
- How can I stop brown discharge?
- What should I do if I observe smelly and brown vaginal discharge after period?
- Brown and light coloured vaginal discharge seen after sexual intercourse.
In this article we will solve all these confusions.
Generally speaking coming of brown vaginal discharge is normal before periods if it is in controlled amount and doesn’t raise alarm. However, brown discharge may also indicate pathological diseases. After observing such a discharge colour one must consult his doctor. Following can be causes of brown vaginal discharge:
As we have explained earlier that menstrual cycle is shedding up of the layer of uterus meant for supporting a pregnancy. When pregnancy doesn’t establishes this layer sloughs off causing menstrual bleed to occur. This bleeding may also involve few cells of older monthly cycle and they may appear brownish on menstruation.
Polyps are benign masses that may develop in different parts of you reproductive tract. Most commonly they involve uterus. They are of many types with in uterus alone depending on the location. They can cause anatomical disturbance in the mucosal bed of uterus and cause the menstrual irregularity. In this way polyps can cause brownish discharge during different phases of menstrual cycle.
3) Birth Control Medications:
Birth control pills work on the mechanism of altering the hormonal levels in your body. Generally speaking they work on two of your important reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These pills can cause temporary infertility and cessation of bleeding.
However, a break in taking the pills with required sequence and flow may pre-dispose you to brownish discharge. Normally used OCPs have 21 days of pill period followed by 7 days of pill free/placebo period. Few women also observe abnormal bleeding during this pill free period. However, this is also subjected to the suitability, timing, half-life and other factors of pills.
4) Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
Diseases of reproductive tract particularly transmitted by sexual tract are known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Such infections may include gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital warts, syphilis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), candida and others.
STDs can cause varying degree of discharges depending on the organism involved. It is also the culprit behind brownish vaginal discharge. Such diseases may also come with other symptoms like abdominal cramping, pelvic pain, burning urination, vaginal itching and abnormal smell. Any such indication needs a doctor referral as soon as possible.
Implantation is when the male reproductive cell ‘’sperm’’ fertilizes the female reproductive cell ‘’egg’’ and forms the first cell of baby. This cell divides and implants on the floor of uterus a process known as implantation.
This marks the begging of pregnancy which classically presents with cessation of menstruation. However, it may cause mild brownish discharge at the beginning.
Endometriosis is a very common female genital tract disease. It occurs due to growth of endometrial cells (cells lining uterus) outside the uterine cavity. For Example: tubes of ovaries, ovaries itself, bladder, rectum and other places. It presents with abdominal cramping and stopping of menses.
Endometriosis can also present with brownish discharge just before your period had to ensue.
Lochia is a term applied to vaginal discharge that a women faces after delivery of the baby. It can also occur after abortion. There are three types of lochia, each occur for a specific period of time:
- Lochia Rubra: It is the first to appear after delivery. It is red in colour due to large amount of blood it contains. It lasts for 3 to 5 days
- Lochia Serosa: This is the second type of discharge that lasts for days more than the first discharge. It is brownish red or pink in colour.
- Lochia Alba: This is the final type of discharge which is yellowish or whitish in colour.
When to Contact a Doctor:
Brownish discharge alone along with periods or preceding and receding it in normal amounts is okay, as we have mentioned earlier. However, these symptoms might suggest some underlying problem for which you should see a doctor:
- Temperature or fever around 100.4 Fahrenheit or greater.
- Chills, feeling of apathy, myalgia and discomfort,
- Vaginal discharge with foul smell like fishy or pungent.
- Any associated symptom like pelvic pain, burning urination and others.
How to Manage This Problem:
Along with seeing a doctor you might need these practical steps to be followed.
1) Taking Birth Control Pills with Schedule:
As we have mentioned earlier that irregularity in taking Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) can predispose patient to abnormal or irregular vaginal bleeding. So taking the pill as prescribed may solve this problem.
2) Maintain a Menstrual Diary:
Yes, it might sound new to you because you are only used of maintaining diary of your expenditures and incomes. However, in the flow of life we forget that health is money and more important that your economic dealings.
Keep a regular record of the begging and end of your cycles, flow of blood, any abnormal finding during periods, number of pads used, and vaginal discharge. This diary will be very helpful for you doctor in sorting out whether your brownish or other discharge is a concern.
3) Changing the Methods of contraception:
All the methods of contraception are developed with proper research and techniques. They come with side effects and benefits. Though they are perfectly safe for usage. However, there’s always a difference between natures production and what we induce ourselves.
A single contraceptive method foe long term may cause problems. So a good way is to alternate between different methods of contraception like barrier methods, intra-uterine devices, oral contraceptive pills, intra-venous and intra-dermal routes among other. Spotting is more common in women using Intra Uterine Devices.
4) Controlling the Stress:
Stress is a major problem in corporate world. Emotional stress predispose your body to various problems and each of you system gets effected by it. Try to reduce the stress by regular exercises, recreation; delivering your tasks is time and other stress management techniques.
5) A Healthy Weight and Lifestyle:
Lifestyle influences your wellbeing a lot. It’s a key factor in determining your wellbeing and effectivity. Obesity and increased weight can cause multi-system problems. In women it can cause hormonal changes also. Therefore, it is very important for women to control her weight by nutrition plan and exercise.
6) Less Intake of Aspirin:
Aspirin thins your blood. It can predispose a person to bleeding. If it’s taken for long, regular days and over usage chances are even more. Avoid taking too much aspirin.
Some women are suffering from other medical issues for which they take medications effecting blood thickness. Tell this to your doctor.
7) PAP Smear:
PAP smear is a screening test highly recommended for women which can detect cancers and changes in mucosa early on.