Brown discharge before period

Is a brown discharge before period making you freak out? Know why women release a brown-colored discharge before menstruation and also learn about its possible causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

What is Brown discharge before period?

In normal cases, vaginal discharge looks transparent or white in appearance. Persistent brown vaginal discharge is one of the common worries of women and pubescent girls. However, occasional discharge of brown fluid from the vagina should not always be regarded as a cause for concern.

Brown discharge before period Symptoms

This is a common event that accompanies the menstrual cycle and frequently occurs 5 to 7 days prior to the actual flow of menstrual fluid or the bright red discharge usually seen in healthy women. However, women may notice a brown-colored discharge at any time during the menstrual flow and after it.

A woman can have a brown discharge for several weeks, months or even years prior to the first period. This may also continue even after the menses is over. In some cases, brown discharge may occur a few times before the first period. It may also take place immediately after periods, simply as a self-cleaning activity of the vagina. In some girls, brown-colored release may also be observed during the first period itself.

Apart from brown discharge, some of the typical symptoms experienced by women include:

  • Burning
  • Depression
  • Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Infertility
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Old blood
  • Pain, during intercourse or at all times
  • Rashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Warmth in vagina (hot to touch)
  • Yellowish or watery discharge

Brown discharge before period Causes

Know about some of the main causes of this condition.

Old Endometrial Tissues

The condition is most often related to old endometrial tissues. Old blood appears brown in color. Generally, discharge is clear or white at the beginning of puberty. The brown discharge that occurs after a menstrual period is most often old blood getting released through the vagina. This may be a way by which the vagina cleans out any blood or tissue remaining from a previous menstruation. The vagina has an inherent self-cleaning mechanism.


The amount of discharge as a woman becomes are sexually aroused or when the time for her ovulation comes close. Brown menstruation may occur if ovulation takes place in the middle of menstrual cycle.

Failure of uterine lining discharge

Brown discharge can also indicate that the entire uterine lining could not make a timely exit during the last menses for some reason.

Implantation Bleeding

Also known as implantation spotting, it is an early indication of pregnancy. It is a sign of the fact that the fetus has burrowed or implanted itself in the endometrial lining (Uterine lining).

When the fetus implants itself inside the lining, it leads to breaking (rupture) of the lining. This results in implantation spotting which is characterized by pink or brown discharge. The discharge occurs for around 2 – 3 days and is extremely light in quantity. It occurs a week before the impending period or 6 – 12 days after ovulation.


Ovulation refers to the release of an egg from the ovaries of a woman which takes place approximately two weeks after menstruation. During ovulation, clear vaginal discharge is a common occurrence. In some cases, however, a little amount of bleeding may occur and appear brown in color. If mild brown spotting occurs every month, it may be regarded as a cause for concern.

Following intercourse

Brown bleeding may also occur after a recent sexual activity. Sexual intercourse can result in mild to moderate irritation within the vagina. Brown blood after sex may suggest that some bleeding has occurred and dried a little before being released through the vagina. If intercourse is followed by pain or significant bleeding, medical assistance should be sought to make sure that the patient does not suffer from any other condition, such as infection.


Brown bleeding may also occur after various infections, including those that are sexually transmitted. In such cases, discharge can be accompanied by pain and even foul odor. The problem can be caused due to Pelvic Inflammatory disease, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Genital warts. Routine examinations of the pelvic region may help detect these infections before they cause more acute complications or become difficult to control.

Cervical Cancer

Brown vaginal release may also occur as a symptom of an underlying cervical cancer. Annual pelvic tests often involve a screening for unusual cells within the cervix, which include those that induce cancer. Cervical cancer can give rise to abnormal and lengthy vaginal discharge that can be brown as well as pink, bloody, watery or pale in color. Women with cervical cancer can suffer from increased discharge or pelvic pain after sexual intercourse.


It occurs 2-8 years prior to menopause and is generally characterized by irregular periods. The condition is marked by decrease in the level of the hormone estrogen in preparation for menopause. An irregularity in estrogen levels can make the menstrual cycle becomes heavier, lighter, intermittent or even absent. During Perimenopause, women often complain of spotting within cycles as well as other symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, pain during sex and insomnia (chronic sleeplessness).

Uterine Polyps

These are abnormal growths that develop on the endometrial wall that is situated within the uterus. These bumps arise due to an overgrowth of cells in the endometrial lining and may vary in size. These may be as small as a sesame seed and even grow as big as a golf ball. The lumps are more likely to arise in women aged within 40-50 and may arise singly or several in number. While some women with uterine polyps do not experience any symptoms, others report of abnormal menstrual bleeding and post- menopausal bleeding.

Vaginal Dryness

Brown-colored release may also occur in women suffering from vaginal dryness, which is a very common issue encountered during menopause. As many as four out of 10 women experience vaginal dryness, which occurs due to a fall in estrogen levels. Some women, during sexual intercourse, suffer from dryness as well as other symptoms like itching, pain, light bleeding, burning and stinging sensations.


During menopause, a deficiency of estrogen may result in thinning of the uterine lining. This causes weakening of the blood vessels within the lining. In such cases, blood vessels may rupture spontaneously thereby causing a problem known as atrophy. Atrophy often leads to spotting. The small amount of blood often takes a little time to be released from the uterus and out of the vagina. This delay can be the reason for the dark pink or brown color of the discharge.


During early pregnancy, sexual intercourse can be a cause of the problem. This usually occurs due to penile irritation of the cervix, which is extra sensitive during this period.

Contraceptive Pills

Contraceptive pills change the level of the hormones that play a role in menstruation and pregnancy. Thus, these pills regulate the menstrual cycle of a person. If the pills are not taken in as per the prescription of a doctor, women might notice a brown discharge before menstrual period.

Vaginal release may also appear brown at some other times, such as after the normal delivery of a baby. Some women may also observe red or brown-colored spotting or breakthrough bleeding in between menstrual periods. Brown discharge may also occur as a possible side effect of some birth control techniques, like those that defer the menstrual period to later time.

Abnormal brown vaginal discharge may also occur due to other causes like:

  • Cysts
  • Fibroids
  • Localized inflammation or infection caused by an IUD (Intrauterine Device)
  • Missing a dose (comprising of pills)
  • Polyps (of cervix, vagina, or uterus)
  • Stress
  • Vaginal infection

Brown discharge before period Diagnosis

The diagnosis of this condition involves identifying its actual cause, which may involve any of the following:

  • Chlamydia
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Genital warts
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Menopause
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Vulvovaginitis (vulvo-vaginal inflammation)
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Cervical cancer

Brown discharge before period Treatment

Women should consult a gynecologist if they observe brown discharge prior to periods for a considerable duration. A gynecologist may try to identify the underlying cause of the problem and then prescribe medications or drugs based on the diagnosis.

Treatment usually depends on the underlying cause as well as the symptoms experienced along with brown pre-menstrual discharge. If a particular type of contraceptive pills is found to cause brown vaginal release, patients may be asked to use a different brand. If doctors suspect the presence of abnormal growths or polyps inside the uterus, they may conduct a Pap Smear Test to make a diagnosis. Treatment may be conducted on the basis of the test results. Most polyps can be treated with medications. In rare cases, however, surgical operation may be needed for complete removal of these benign tumors. If brown discharge is found to occur due to pregnancy, treatment is not deemed to be essential. Women have to undergo a test to confirm their pregnancy and then seek proper prenatal care.

Brown discharge before period Complications

Brown discharge occurring before period rarely gives rise to any complication. It is not necessarily a cause of concern. In some cases, however, it can also be sign of an underlying medical condition that is more serious than remnant endometrial cells (Dysfunctional Endometrial Elimination). Some of these conditions are:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as Gonorrhea, Genital warts or Chlamydia
  • Cervical cancer

In menopausal women, brownish bleeding or spotting is usually harmless. In some cases, it may lead to a health problem. Brown release after menopause typically occurs due to a problem that is known in the medical world as Vaginal Atrophy (decomposition of cells and tissue of the vagina).

Even though they may be freaky to look at, brown vaginal discharges occurring due to benign causes do not give rise to any discomforts. Menstrual cycle gives rise to various discomforts that can be too difficult to bear. Women need to know how to distinguish a normal brown discharge from those occurring due to potentially dangerous conditions. In case of severe underlying problems, patients may observe additional symptoms like:

  • Depression
  • Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Infertility
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Rash
  • Hotness in vagina
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Yellowish or watery discharge
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Mood swings

Brown discharge before period Prevention

This problem can be often prevented by making some healthy changes in life style. This includes:

  • Proper diet, consisting of nutritious foods containing enough vitamins and mineral
  • Regular exercises
  • Proper rest
  • Drinking lots of water, which can cleanse the system from within

With healthy changes in lifestyle, menstrual periods can often be normalized with vaginal discharge coming back to its usual color. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle on a regular basis can reduce the possibilities of all menstrual problems.

If you are experiencing brown vaginal discharge before period for a considerable period of time, it is best to seek medical assistance. Treatment is particularly necessary if you have been suffering from other discomforting problems apart from a brown vaginal release. Even though this may appear as a benign condition, brown pre-menstrual discharge can signal a possible complication in your body. A professional healthcare provider will first diagnose the cause of the condition before using any extensive treatment methods. Timely treatment and cure of the disorder can help you get rid of the disease pretty fast and enjoy good health without any sign of abnormalities.

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