The body of a woman experiences many things, and the Vagina can often times be the centre for most things in the form of discharge.
You see a tiny bit of colour in your underwear even though you are not on your period. You panic that it is blood and you are not expecting your monthly period anytime soon.
The question pops, is that blood? Discharge? Or a combination of both?
When should you be concerned?
The end of it all is that you should see your doctor if you start having discharge that you have never had before, such as:
You frequently bleed between periods, or you bleed more or less than usual for you.
Heavy bleeding results from your spotting, especially if you experience pelvic pain.
You start noticing alterations in the tone, feel, or smell of your discharge including other symptoms like pain or itching.
According to Healthline vagina discharge is a natural way that the female body keeps the vagina clean. Brown discharge makes it difficult to tell. It might be a completely natural indicator of the completion of a recent menstrual cycle, or it might be something different, such as a symptom of a medical condition.
In an article, published by Cleveland Clinic, Ob/Gyn specialist Oluwatosin Goje asserted that, “Discharge happens when the cells of the vagina shed or slough off. It’s a healthy, normal process, but sometimes, you’ll notice changes in your vaginal discharge. While some of those changes can be easily explained, others signify health concerns worth talking to your doctor about.”
Again, Mayo Clinic describes virginal discharge as a discharge that helps keep vaginal tissues healthy, providing lubrication and protection against infection and irritation.
It states that the amount, color and consistency of normal vaginal discharge varies from whitish and sticky to clear and watery which are all dependent on the stage of the menstrual cycle.
Often, after going through the monthly period, brownish discharge often occurs when vaginal fluid and blood combine. In some cases, this can just be an indication that your period is over.
Goje said that the “Normal brown discharge happens at the end of your menstrual cycle, when there’s a little left over from menses, often the body will biodegrade it so it doesn’t come out. Sometimes, though, some of it makes it out of your vagina and into your underwear toward the end of your period, or even a day or two after it has finished.”
Vaginal fluid can combine with even a single drop of blood from your cervix or uterus to produce a brownish discharge. Despite how terrifying it may sound, it isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm.
She confirmed that there could be other reasons aside from the recently finished period causing the blood stained discharge.
The cervix is quite brittle and can occasionally just slightly bleed, according to Dr. Goje. Young women who are just starting to menstruate frequently “spot” in between cycles. But everyone can experience it.
Other times, unusual bleeding can indicate a health issue. Book an appointment with your doctor, especially when it occurs frequently and perhaps accompanied with some discomfort.
Another possible reason for the discharge is bacterial vaginosis. This common infection is typically associated with grayish discharge, but for some people, it could look brownish, especially after it dries in your underwear.
Discharge from bacterial vaginosis also called BV is caused by a bacterial imbalance in your vagina, and it’s usually more noticeable around your period and after sex.
It’s almost always accompanied by a fishy odor, a key signifier that the bacteria is out of whack down there. Based on expert opinion, the interaction of the bacteria with blood or semen makes the bacteria grow and the insights the smell it comes with.
It could be menopause. With menopause comes a decrease in estrogen. This causes the walls of your vagina to become thin and brittle, a condition known as vaginal atrophy. Your blood vessels shrink, and you may experience some vaginal bleeding.
During the cold season, when your skin is dry and chapped, the occasional blowing of the nose reveals blood when you pull the tissue away from your face noticing tint of blood mixed in with your nasal mucus.
Goje compares that scenario to what happens in the vagina during menopause.
She adds that “If you’re in or approaching menopause and start to experience brown discharge, talk to your Ob/Gyn, who’ll want to make sure it’s actually vaginal discharge. For menopausal patients, we always want to make sure that blood isn’t coming from the uterus, which can signify other issues.”
Have you ever heard of trichomoniasis? It could just be it. Furthermore, trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection brought on by a live parasite in your vagina and/or urethra, may be the cause of the blood in your discharge. This parasite can irritate your inside organs just like a scratch on your skin can cause you to bleed a little.
According to Goje, the irritation leads to excessive scratching which in turn causes “flecks of blood” to drop and when it comes out the discharge is brownish.
Trichomoniasis can also result in a thin or foamy discharge that is white, yellow, or greenish and has an unpleasant smell. If you have this common ailment, your doctor can perform a test on you and issue you a prescription to eradicate the parasite.