Brown Discharge: Causes and When to See a Doctor
Women have a vaginal discharge which is fluid that comes out of the vagina, and this is usually white or clear. The amount of discharge they experience depends on whether they are menstruating, are pregnant, or going through menopause. Normal discharge looks like milk, water, or egg whites, and any changes in its consistency indicate an infection. So, why do women have watery discharge? What are the factors associated with clear watery discharge early pregnancy?
What does it mean when you have clear watery discharge and cramps? This article explores how clear watery discharge is associated with pregnancy and the other factors and conditions that can lead to this type of discharge.
It also describes what can lead to an excessive vaginal discharge and other signs that women can look for when they are pregnant.
Women start having vaginal discharge before they go through puberty, and this ends in the postmenopausal stage. When women are pregnant, both the cervix and vaginal walls soften and increase vaginal discharge as the body starts preparing for pregnancy. This helps to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the vagina.
Without this increased vaginal discharge, women would have a high risk of developing an infection that could affect the womb, placenta, and the baby. In addition, as the pregnancy progresses, women may notice that they may have excessive vaginal discharge, and they may confuse it for urine. Other factors can lead to watery or clear discharge.
Other signs and symptoms that can indicate that you might be pregnant include: A missed period: This is the most common earliest sign of pregnancy that many women experience. However, some patients have irregular and long cycles, so it would be best to look for other pregnancy signs.
Spotting: It is normal to have slight spotting during the first four to 12 weeks of your pregnancy, as implantation occurs and the mucus plug seals the cervix to protect the pregnancy from an infection.
However, if you experience heavy bleeding, this could be your period or a serious problem. Nausea: Some women feel sick as soon as they wake up or when traveling by car. Breast tenderness: Some women have tender breasts early in their pregnancy, but some also experience this during their periods.
Fatigue: This is one of the symptoms that women experience during their pregnancy. This occurs due to hormonal, physical, and emotional changes that lower their energy. For example, these changes can include disrupted sleep, heartburn, frequent urination, pelvic pain, stress, and low blood pressure. Frequent urination: Pregnant women tend to pee more as their body has an increased amount of blood. Therefore, the kidneys have to produce more fluids which then flow to the bladder.
Some women start urinating more often during their sixth or eighth week of pregnancy. The more estrogen levels a woman has, the more vaginal discharge her body produces. Ovulation: During ovulation, you may notice that your vaginal discharge is clear and stretchy but less watery than the discharge you usually have during your menstrual cycle.
Sexual arousal: When you are sexually aroused, you may have increased vaginal discharge. This is because blood flushes to the vagina and releases lubricating fluids.
As a result, you may have a more watery discharge after engaging in sexual activity. Menopause: Some women have watery discharge during and after menopause as they develop vaginal atrophy. This condition causes thinning, inflammation and drying of the vaginal walls and occurs when the body has low estrogen levels and is more common in postmenopausal women.
Watery Discharge and Infections If you have a clear watery discharge and cramps accompanied by a strong odor and itchiness, or a discharge that has a different color, then you might have an infection. Infections include: Bacterial vaginosis: This infection occurs in the vaginal walls and is common in pregnant women and produces a yellow, gray, or green discharge with a fish-like odor. Candida albicans: This is a yeast infection that produces a lumpy discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Gonorrhea: People with gonorrhea have a watery, creamy, or slightly green vaginal discharge, and they may also experience pain during sexual intercourse and the need to urinate more frequently.
Risk factors that can lead to a high-risk pregnancy include the following: Health conditions that develop before pregnancy: Medical conditions that are already present before the woman gets pregnant, such as obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, and infections, can increase pregnancy risks.
Health conditions that develop during pregnancy: These conditions include preeclampsia, a condition in which the patient experiences high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes. This refers to diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Maternal age: The risk of pregnancy complications increase when the mother is under 17 or over 35 years. Those who get pregnant after the age of 40 are at an increased risk of having a baby with congenital disabilities.
In addition, we recommend that women who have a high-risk pregnancy see a medical professional if they have: A clear watery discharge and cramps in their lower abdomen. Abnormal bleeding.
Can Clear Watery Discharge Be a Sign of Pregnancy?
When to call the doctor What Is Implantation Bleeding? Implantation bleeding is a small amount of spotting or bleeding that happens after a newly fertilized egg burrows into the lining of your uterus.
Since the uterine lining is rich with blood, some women spot a little at this point. So how much do you bleed during implantation?
Related Video How common is implantation bleeding? According to the American Pregnancy Association , approximately one third of women experience implantation bleeding in early pregnancy.
According to him, about 25 to 30 percent of women will experience some bleeding—including implantation bleeding—in the first trimester. When does implantation bleeding occur? So, when does implantation bleeding occur? Not so fast, though. According to the Cleveland Clinic , your body starts producing human chorionic gonadotropin hCG about 10 days after conception, which is around the same time implantation bleeding may occur.
At this early stage in a healthy pregnancy, hCG levels double every two days. Still, it takes time for the hormone to build up in your system and reach a volume that can be detected by an over-the-counter urine test. Some tests may be able to detect hCG about 10 days after conception, but waiting until after a missed period can lower the chance of a false negative.
Blood tests are more sensitive to hCG and can detect the hormone 9 to 12 days after conception. How long does implantation bleeding last?
It depends on the woman, but some claim it lasts for one day, while others say three or four. Implantation Bleeding Vs. Depending on how you typically experience menstruation, this could be a bit of a waiting game. Implantation bleeding is usually lighter than a normal period. But if you tend to have light periods anyway, you might not notice a huge difference.
Your period will typically last longer than implantation bleeding, Macleod adds. If it stretches beyond that time frame, you may have gotten your period. Still not sure? Wait a few more days and take a pregnancy test.
Now that you understand what it is and when it occurs, you might be left wondering: What does implantation bleeding look like? The truth is, implantation bleeding can resemble a lighter version of your period. The color is usually pink or slightly red when it starts, MacLeod says, although it can be brownish as the bleeding resolves.
Implantation Bleeding Symptoms Women can experience implantation bleeding differently. Some may have no additional symptoms besides the light bleeding, while others may start to encounter a few early signs of pregnancy, MacLeod says.
When to Call the Doctor There are a lot of things that can cause bleeding during the first few weeks and months of pregnancy. The tricky part is determining if the spotting is actually the result of implantation or something else entirely like your period. Of course, never hesitate to reach out to your doctor with any concerns. He is also an associate professor of medicine at Ohio State University.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Plus, more from The Bump:.
Bleeding During Pregnancy – What‘s Normal?
Implantation bleeding signs and colour The blood from implantation bleeding is typically pinkish or brown, but it could also be red. It could show up as one spot on your underwear or the bleeding could last a few days. You might also get mild cramps with implantation bleeding.
If you track your period carefully, you would likely notice implantation bleeding a few days before the real deal would normally be scheduled to arrive.
Some people have a little bit of spotting in the middle of their cycles anyway. She had some bleeding, and thought it was her period. Her original due date was calculated based on what she thought was her period, but an ultrasound eventually showed she was nearly 14 weeks pregnant, instead of only Should I be worried about implantation bleeding?
The good news is, implantation bleeding is nothing to worry about. Have you ever put a band-aid over a cut, then taken it off the next day to reveal a dried, brown stain? Brown vaginal discharge before or after your period is exactly that, and usually not something to worry about. Through a natural process of oxidation, blood that is exposed to oxygen turns from red to brown. Before your period, brown discharge can be due to just a small amount of bleeding and therefore a very light blood flow.
It takes time for blood to flow from your cervix until you see it, and during this time, the blood gets older. The oxidation of that old blood makes it appear brown by the time it gets to your underwear. Following your period, brown discharge is in most cases simply blood that has taken a little longer to be expelled. All of this is totally normal and fine.
Implantation Bleeding: When It Happens and What It Looks Like
Get started Types of Vaginal Discharge Vaginal discharge is a normal part of everyday life for women. In the course of your menstrual cycle, the amount, color, and consistency of your vaginal discharge changes due to fluctuations in your hormone levels.
These changes are natural and vary from one woman to another. Types of vaginal discharge during your menstrual cycle include: During your period: Red or brown bloody discharge is normal during menstruation — your uterine lining is shedding as it is meant to do.
Some women may also experience irregular periods or spotting between their periods. If you bleed for more than seven days straight or have to change pads or tampons every hour, this is abnormally heavy bleeding that should be checked out by a doctor.
Implantation bleeding: signs, symptoms and what it means
Post-menstruation: There may be a little discharge immediately after your period. Gradually, the amount of discharge increases and it may be yellow, cloudy, or white with a sticky consistency. Pre-ovulation: As your body produces more estrogen, it also produces more discharge. The discharge is usually thin and elastic and usually indicates that you are highly fertile.
Ovulation: Ovulation is the phase right in the middle of your cycle when an egg is released from your ovary and begins traveling down your fallopian tubes. During ovulation, vaginal discharge is clear and watery, and there is a lot of it. Some people experience spotting during ovulation that may look pink or brown.
Post-ovulation: After ovulation, your discharge may change in color, and will have a thicker consistency.
What is Your Period Blood Telling You?
Pre-menstruation : In the days leading up to your period, your discharge may once again become sticky. There is usually very little discharge one or two days prior to menstruation. Light brown discharge This results from white or clear vaginal discharge mixing with menstrual blood. Dark brown discharge This is most likely to occur right around your period. The discharge is dark brown because of blood oxidizing once it exits your vagina and comes in contact with open air.
Black discharge If your vaginal discharge is black in color, it could be a sign of particularly heavy menstrual bleeding. Thin vs. Thick vs. Clumpy Brown Discharge During menstruation, your body sheds its uterine lining, and the result is a mix of blood, mucus, and endometrial cells.
What this means is that your discharge consistency can vary quite a bit each day of your period. It might be thin and watery on some days and thick and clumpy on others.
Causes of Brown Discharge There are many possible causes of brown discharge. In most cases, brown discharge is nothing to be concerned about. This is normal, but you should still call your doctor or health care provider to check that everything is alright.
Birth control implant Some contraception methods like IUDs or implants release the progestin hormone into your body to prevent you from getting pregnant. As your body adjusts to the new form of birth control, you might experience side effects such as irregular menstruation, spotting, breakthrough bleeding and brown discharge.
Pelvic inflammatory disease PID PID is an infection of the cervix and uterus that can sometimes result in brown discharge. Other PID symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen and pelvispain during sex, feverpainful urination, and heavy discharge with a bad smell. PID is a serious medical condition that needs prompt evaluation and treatment.
Other symptoms include vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, pain during sex, and a burning sensation when urinating. Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS PCOS is a fairly common hormonal condition that affects one in ten people with vaginas of reproductive age years old.
Its exact cause is unknown but likely has to do with genetics and excess insulin in the body. People with PCOS have an imbalance of reproductive hormones: Their bodies produce higher levels of hormones called androgens, resulting in irregular or missed periods.
One symptom of PCOS is brown discharge instead of your period. Other symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, acneexcessive hair growth, obesityinfertility, ovarian cystsand dark patches on the skin.
Endometriosis Endometriosis is a chronic condition that occurs when the tissue that is normally in your uterine lining starts growing in other areas, such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bowels.