Basically, it is normal for a lady to produce a bit of vaginal discharge. This discharge is normally slightly whitish and clear. In some cases, though, some ladies may produce more vaginal discharge than usual that may be reddish-brown or brown in color. Most times, it doesn't indicate a problem especially right after your menstruation.Yet, sometimes a light brown discharge could be a symptom of a health complication, which needs urgent medical attention. Then what can cause the discharge? When is it normal? How can you deal with the discharge? Read on to find the answers.
Is Light Brown Discharge Normal?
The answer can be yes and no, because it depends on the cause. If you experience light brown discharge right after your menstruation, it is quite normal in women. Besides this, the actual causes of a brown vaginal discharge are varied, ranging from mild to serious medical conditions. Since some of the causes of this condition are known to be serious and long term, it is highly advisable that you seek immediate medical attention if you have this type of discharge not after the period.
Additionally, you should also see a doctor for testing and treatment if you have light brown discharge during your pregnancy, because such a discharge may be a sign of a miscarriage. To eliminate the threat, the doctor may restrict your physical movement, hospitalize you, restrict your sexual activity and advise you to steer clear of stressful situations.
10 Possible Causes of Brown Discharge
1. Old Endometrial Tissues
The brownish color in your vaginal discharge could be a result of old endometrial tissues. This happens if the blood from the previous period had not completely exited the body. When remaining blood finally exits the body, it can make your vaginal discharge to turn brown. This mostly happens to ladies when they have a delayed period.
Perimenopause is the phase that ladies go through as they transit to menopause, the ultimate end of monthly cycles in a lady. During this period, the level of estrogen in the body drops significantly. As a result, the menstrual cycles may become very unpredictable. In addition to light brown discharge, perimenopause may also lead to a heavier menstrual flow, dryness of the vagina, hot flashes, insomnia and night sweats.
3. Implantation Bleeding
As a fertilized egg attaches itself to the inner uterine wall, you may experience light bleeding. This is referred to implantation bleeding and can make your vaginal discharge change color to light brown. In this regard, the appearance of brown-colored vaginal discharge may be a sign of implantation. However, not all ladies experience implantation bleeding, but if this is the case, the light brown vaginal discharge should cease in a few days.
4. Atrophic Vaginitis
Atrophic vaginitis is a condition that causes the vaginal tissues to grow thinner. The condition is primarily caused by reduced estrogen levels in the body, as the lady approaches menopause. Additionally, exposure to radiation therapy or chemotherapy may also predispose a lady to this condition. Coupled with the thinning of vaginal tissues, reduced estrogen levels will cause vaginal dryness. As such, the lady may experience light bleeding or spotting after sexual intercourse. It is this blood that may cause vaginal discharge to appear light brown.
5. Uterine Polyps
Uterine polyps are growths that develop on the inner uterine walls as a result of cell overgrowth. These growths may also lead to a light brown discharge after menopause or in between periods. In most cases, such growths are benign. However, the growths may become malignant, and you need to see a doctor when you notice the discharge.
6. Brown Discharge After Sex
Your vaginal walls may rapture during sexual intercourse, leading to mild bleeding. This blood dries on the vaginal walls and turns light brown in color. This will, in turn, change the color of your vaginal discharge to light brown. However, you should seek medical attention if the light brown discharge continues for more than two days.
7. Vaginal Infections
There are certain vaginal infections that may lead to a light brown vaginal discharge. Such infections include gonorrhea, warts and Chlamydia. If the light brown appearance of the discharge is a result of an infection, it may be accompanied by other symptoms like foul smell, a burning or itchy sensation and pain.
8. During Ovulation
In a 28-day cycle, ovulation usually takes place on the 14th day, during which a clear discharge may be passed out through the vagina. In some cases, the ovulation may lead to slight bleeding along with the exiting of eggs from ovaries. During ovulation, the eggs are protected by follicles to grow and mature. At the end of the process, the follicles will break and lead to slight bleeding that is mixed with cervical mucus. And the color of the blood may change from red to light brown.
9. Certain Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID)
Infection in any of the reproductive organs, including the vagina, uterus, ovaries and the fallopian tubes, may lead to a colored discharge. The color of the discharge in this case may be reddish, yellow or light brown, depending on the organ affected by the infection. Other symptoms associated with such infections include itching, smelly discharge, fever, irregularities in menstrual cycles and pelvic pain.
10. Cervical Cancer
In most cases, the occurrence of malignant tissues may go unnoticed during the early stages of infection. This is mainly because such tissues may give few or no symptom at all. Early screening can locate such tissues and early treatment can be applied. As such, you should always go for a checkup if you observe persistent light brown discharge or spotting.
How to Treat and Prevent Light Brown Discharge
Based on the causal agent, various remedies may be used to treat the condition. For instance, antifungal medications and antibiotics may be used if the condition is due to a bacterial or yeast infection respectively. While the condition may be remedied using different medications, you may use the following measures to prevent it:
- During your period, you should change sanitary pads a couple of times in a day.
- To avoid vaginal infections, you should not douche.
- After bowel movements and/or urinating, you should wipe in a front to back motion and avoid using perfumed tissues.
- Wear loose cotton panties.
- Avoid using scented soap or body wash while cleaning the vaginal area.
When to Seek Medical Help
If the light brown-colored discharge does not stop coming out, more than two days after menstrual flow, you should seek medical attention. Again, you should also have a doctor inspect you if you notice a light brown discharge in between your periods, which lasts for more than two days. If the discharge is accompanied by other symptoms, such as itching or irritation of the vaginal area, you should also seek immediate medical help.