Discharge is quite normal in a woman. But what if your discharge is brown? Especially when you’re pregnant, it can be a bit of a scare. What are the causes and when do you need to see a doctor?Of course, discharge isn't always pleasant. But it's very common. The cervix and cervical wall produce fluid and mucus that comes out through the vagina: vaginal discharge. This doesn't happen without reason, because it protects your vagina and uterus against germs and cleans things up. Dead cells and harmful bacteria are removed to prevent infections. So you see: discharge is good! This discharge is normally transparent, slimy, moist and virtually odourless. It can dry out yellowish and grainy. The discharge can vary from day to day because it's related to your menstrual cycle, use of the pill, sexual arousal, pregnancy or menopause. How much discharge you have also varies from woman to woman. Some women have a little more discharge than others, there is nothing wrong with that. But what about brown discharge?
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Causes of brown dischargeBrown discharge, basically, it's nothing to worry about. Generally it's old blood in the uterus leaving your body. Often from your last period. It may be related to hormonal changes, for example, your body has to get used to the birthcontrol pills you just started taking or the newly placed IUD. It can also mean that your period is coming, or that it is finally ending. Brown blood can also indicate menopause, which starts usually around the age of 45 or an ovulation bleeding (spotting), about fourteen days before your period. The last innocent cause, apart from pregnancy, can be a burst blood vessel in the vagina. This will heal on its own. However, if the brown colour stays on for a few days or weeks, or if there are other symptoms such as vaginal itching, a burning sensation when urinating, a strong odour and / or pain in the lower abdomen, it is best to contact your doctor. These symptoms may indicate an STD, vaginal infection or bacteria that cause the brown discharge. All this will not go away without treatment, so you will have to go to your doctor for medication.
Pregnant and brown dischargeBlood is never fun. And if you're pregnant, you don't want to see blood at all! Nevertheless, it’s quite common for pregnant women lose some blood or suffer from brown discharge. It can point to three things.
- Implantation bleeding: the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, where it can hit a blood vessel. A light brown, pink or red discharge can occur, also called spotting. This usually happens around ten to fourteen days after fertilization. It is possible that some old blood remains in the uterus, this old blood can come out a few weeks later, by then it will have turned brown. So if you still suffer from a brown discharge, you don't have to be scared right away.
- There may also be something going on with your placenta. For example, you could have a low-lying placenta (marginal placenta previa) or the placenta can lie over the exit of the uterus (complete placenta previa). Do you suffer from brown discharge and are you worried? It is important to contact your midwife as soon as possible.
- Vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, these are the first signs of a possible miscarriage. It may be that you have been suffering from brown discharge for a few days, this can be a warning that a real (bright red) bleeding is coming. Here goes the same as before: if you suffer from brown or red discharge, contact your midwife to discuss it.