All women experience vaginal discharge during their monthly periods and it varies in color, texture, and volume at different times during their cycles. Many women have reported varying shades of red or even a rusty brown color. But what if it’s pink? What does pink discharge mean? It could mean something is not quite right or it could mean nothing that you need to be concerned about. Read on to learn more!
Menstrual Blood Color – Light Pink Spotting
Most of the time, the blood that is discharged during a woman’s monthly cycle is dark red. This discharge is made up of blood and tissue from the previously built-up lining of the uterus that is now being shed and discarded.
Normally, during a woman’s cycle, they have a few light days at the beginning where their flow starts out looking like a light pink discharge and this may repeat at the end of their cycles. They may experience a heavier flow during the mid-cycle days. Every 28 days or so, the cycle repeats.
Some women experience “spotting” during the time between their cycles which will usually stop and start and repeat that pattern on and off but will not present as a steady flow. Paying attention to the color of the discharge may give you a clue as to what is causing it.
When Is Light Pink Spotting Normal?
There are times during a woman’s cycle when spotting that looks like a light pink discharge could be quite normal and expected.
You may experience light pink blood spotting:
- At the very beginning or end of your normal month cycles;
- When estrogen levels drop and cause the release of an egg;
- Just before or just after ovulation;
- If some light pink blood spotting occurs after your normal ovulation cycle, it may be a sign of “implantation bleeding” which occurs when a fertilized egg is implanted into the lining of the uterus.
When Could Light Pink Discharge Be Concerning?
Cervical fluid is clear and when mixed with a touch of blood as it is leaving the uterus can appear pink when it shows up on a pantyliner. This could be a normal part of the woman’s reproductive cycle however, pink discharge can also indicate a number of underlying women’s health conditions.
To determine the underlying cause of the pink discharge we must look at:
- The timing of the pink discharge;
- Other symptoms that are occurring around or at the same time as the light pink spotting.
If you experience pink discharge that happens outside of your normal period cycle, you should see your OB/GYN and get it checked out.
Conditions That Can Cause Pink Discharge
Light pink spotting may be a sign of:
1. Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow in and around the uterus. For some women, they cause a host of unpleasant symptoms while others may not even know they have fibroids.
One of the side effects of uterine fibroids is irregular bleeding which can be very heavy at times or manifest itself as “break-through bleeding” between periods and can even look like a light pink discharge.
Uterine fibroids can also cause anemia and result in periods that look lighter reddish-pink that are borderline watery as well as spotting between periods. If you are experiencing pink vaginal discharge, unexplained fatigue, or periods that seem lighter in color (almost diluted) you should contact your OB-GYN to be screened for fibroids.
2. Uterine Polyps
Similar to fibroids, polyps are benign growths that develop within endometrial tissue and can extend to the inside of the uterus. Pink discharge has been reported from women who have been diagnosed with uterine polyps after having sex. The natural vaginal discharge mixes with a bit of blood from disturbing these growths and mingled together can create a light pink discharge.
3. Ovarian Cysts
Cysts can develop on the ovaries when a follicle does not open properly to release an egg. These cysts fill with fluid and most often resolve naturally. Occasionally, they grow large and can cause abnormal bleeding or pink spotting between periods when they rupture.
4. Vaginal Infections
Experiencing a pink discharge may be a sign of an imbalance in vaginal bacteria that causes an infection. Sources of vaginal infections are varied but potentially could be sexually transmitted or vaginitis.
5. Pregnancy Implantation or Ectopic Pregnancy
As discussed previously, it is normal to experience some pink discharge as a result of a fertilized egg implanting into the uterine wall. It is very dangerous for an egg to implant anywhere outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) and can be life-threatening. Ectopic pregnancy can cause symptoms such as dizziness, sharp pains, fainting, abnormal watery bleeding that is red, brown, black, or possibly a pink discharge.
6. Cervical Cancer
The discharge associated with cervical cancer is usually watery and can smell fishy. The color is not normally an indication but if experienced with other warning signs like painful urination, abdominal bloating, edema, and fatigue, the cause should be investigated.
It is important to talk with your doctor about any changes you experience with your menstrual cycle including any sort of discharge. Vaginal discharge and pink discharge can be nothing to worry about or an indication of many different conditions. An OB-GYN would be able to diagnose the issue and recommend treatment if necessary.
What To Do About Pink Vaginal Discharge
We have discussed some of the reasons that a woman might experience pink discharge. We understand that pink discharge can be entirely normal in many cases, but it may also be a side effect of a more serious health condition.
Just remember to pay attention to your body and the signs it is giving you. After all, you know what is “normal” for you and if you notice any changes or symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, speak with your doctor and have them checked out. You may wish to keep a journal of any unusual symptoms or unexplained pain which can help your doctor better assess what is going on. It may be nothing but it will give you peace of mind to know.
If you are experiencing symptoms of uterine fibroids or have been diagnosed with fibroids, contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center and set up a consultation. Interventional Radiologists Dr. John Lipman and Dr. Mitch Ermentrout have been helping women defeat fibroids for over 27 years. At the Atlanta Fibroid Center, we use a nonsurgical procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) to eliminate fibroids forever without damaging the uterus. Contact us today, we would love to help you!