As women, we experience many different issues related to our reproductive abilities. While we grow accustomed to many as we get older, sometimes something different happens and it can throw us for a loop. Experiencing a brown discharge after a period can be concerning to some women especially if it has never happened before. Today we are going to talk about what can cause brown discharge right before your period or afterward, some possible causes, and when there is a cause for concern.
Why Am I Spotting Brown Discharge After My Period?
Dark brown spotting may be a normal part of your menstrual cycle and can occur before or after your period. Brown discharge when your period starts or ends can occur because the blood is flowing slower during these times and has time to oxidize, turning from a reddish color to brown.
If you experience brown discharge for several days or weeks after your cycle ends or occurs between periods and is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be due to an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
What Conditions Can Cause Dark Brown Spotting After A Period?
Brown spotting can occur because your period is starting or ending or can be a symptom of another gynecological condition. Some of the reasons you may experience brown vaginal discharge include:
- Birth Control
- Some methods of hormonal birth control can cause brown discharge, spotting, or irregular bleeding. The placement of a new IUD or the first few months of taking birth control pills can cause spotting or brown discharge. This tends to be more prevalent when very little or no estrogen is contained in the contraception and also occurs when women do not take their pills on time. If using the same form of contraception and brown discharge and spotting continue after 3 or 4 months contact your doctor.
- The years leading up to menopause are known as perimenopause and can last anywhere from 4 to 8 years. The symptoms of perimenopause include vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats, and according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it can also be the cause of spotting and irregular bleeding.
- Some infections that are transmitted sexually such as gonorrhea or chlamydia can cause brown discharge and spotting. This brown spotting would normally be accompanied by dull aching abdominal pain, painful sex, burning during urination, and breakthrough bleeding between periods.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Bacteria that is derived from an STD that has been left untreated can develop into an infection of the reproductive organs called pelvic inflammatory disease. PID symptoms can include brown vaginal discharge, fever, irregular vaginal bleeding, painful urination, abdominal pain, uterine pain, and pain during sex. PID can do irreparable damage to your reproductive organs, causing infertility and even death. If you think you may have PID, seek medical attention immediately.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- PCOS affects one out of every 10 women of childbearing age and can cause irregular periods or missed periods. It causes fluid sacs to develop on the outer edges of the ovaries (cysts) that contain immature eggs that fail to be released. PCOS can cause brown spotting between periods, thinning hair, facial hair, weight gain, hyperpigmentation, and acne.
- Brown discharge can be a sign of endometrial or cervical cancer. Unusual vaginal bleeding or bloody discharge are the most common symptoms of these types of cancer as well as pain while urinating, pain while having sex, and pelvic pain.
Brown vaginal discharge is less common with cervical cancer but can happen. Heavy or prolonged periods, breakthrough bleeding, unexplained weight loss, and extreme fatigue are also symptoms of cervical cancer. If you experience these symptoms together you should seek medical help.
- Hormone Imbalance
- Women can experience brown discharge, bleeding, or spotting between periods due to hormonal imbalances. Different factors can alter hormone levels and cause abnormal vaginal bleeding including:
- Medications affecting progesterone and estrogen levels;
- Thyroid Conditions;
- Adrenal gland issues;
- Liver conditions;
- Kidney disorders;
- Significant changes in weight;
- Uterine Fibroids
- Fibroids are common noncancerous growths that form in and on the uterus. These benign growths are not usually dangerous but they can cause some pretty nasty and painful side effects. About 75% of all women will experience fibroids in their lifetime but they may not be aware they have them as not all create symptoms.
Fibroids vary in size and can be singular or numerous and can create symptoms such as heavy and prolonged bleeding, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, painful sex, lower back or leg pain, and can lead to other conditions such as anemia.
In rare cases, fibroids can cause brown spotting after a period or in between periods. While fibroids are not normally considered a danger to the women who have them, some fibroids can cause complications such as a blocked urinary tract, or infertility.
When Do I Need To Call My Doctor?
Brown blood or spotting during or after your period when accompanied by any of the following symptoms warrants a trip to the doctor for a diagnosis.
- Heavy and/or prolonged bleeding;
- Periods that come closer together than 21 days or last a long time;
- Missed periods;
- Post-menopausal bleeding;
- Pain or bleeding during or after sex;
- Chronic Pelvic pressure or pain;
- Breakthrough spotting and bleeding;
- Unusual vaginal discharge;
- Painful or frequent urination;
While brown discharge can be a part of your normal cycle, it can also be a symptom of a bigger issue that needs to be addressed. In some instances, it may be a sign of a serious medical condition that needs treatment or it may be something that is easily treated such as uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids may be the cause of your brown discharge or other unpleasant symptoms. A simple consultation with The Atlanta Fibroid Center can help determine if fibroids might be the culprit of your symptoms. Make an appointment today and speak to one of the leading fibroid experts in the U.S.
Treating Fibroids Without Surgery
Say goodbye to brown vaginal discharge, heavy bleeding, chronic bloating, and pelvic pain without the use of surgery. In one 45-minute treatment, you could be fibroid free!
Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure performed by Interventional Radiologists like Dr. John Lipman or Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout of the The Atlanta Fibroid Center that treats fibroids by cutting off their much-needed blood supply. Dr. Lipman & Dr. Ermentrout are leading experts in the United States on the UFE procedure and have helped over 10,000 women avoid surgery.
UFE is done as an outpatient so there is no hospital stay necessary. Patients can go home the same day as their procedure with only a bandaid. After a very short recovery time, they can resume a better quality of life!
No one should have to endure ongoing suffering from fibroid symptoms or be forced to lose their uterus to find relief. Contact us today to learn more about uterine fibroid embolization and how it can help you.