Brown Vaginal Discharge
What Is Considered Normal Or Abnormal?

Brown vaginal discharge can be light or dark brown.

It is normal if it occurs:-

  • some time around your menstrual cycle.
  • during ovulation.
  • in the early stages of pregnancy. 
  • after a normal or Caesarean birth.
  • around perimenopause and menopause.
  • when you are using IUD as birth control

Vaginal discharge that are light or dark brown in such circumstances shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Menstrual Cycle

Blood that is left in the uterus and vagina at the end of the menstrual cycle (a day or two before it ends) appears as brown vaginal discharge. Shedding this blood which is actually old uterine cells is our body’s way of clearing the reproductive system in preparation for our next period.

A light brown discharge is common in young girls at the beginning of their period.

Some women may experience dark brown  discharge before their menstrual cycle. Again these are old endometrial or uterine cells that the uterus failed to shed during the previous menstruation.


what is considered as normal and abnormal brown vaginal discharge

Ovulation could also be a reason for brown vaginal spotting. When the ovary releases an egg, slight bleeding might occur for some women. By the time the blood is expelled from the body it is several days old. Old blood with lack of oxygen appears as brownish vagina discharge.


After an egg is fertilized it implants itself on the lining of the uterus to grow. As the lining is rich in blood, bleeding occurs when the uterine lining is disturbed during the implantation. This implantation bleeding appears as brown to bloody vaginal spotting. It does not happen in every pregnancy or in every woman.

Dark brown blood can be a signal for the onset of a miscarriage. It is best to be extra conscious  and consult your doctor if you have dark brown discharge when you are pregnant.


After giving birth, heavy bleeding continues for four to six weeks. The heavy flow tapers to a light discharge and turns brown towards the end. You don’t need to worry too much as long as there are no foul smell or large clots. Such an occurrence is considered normal for most women.

Caesarean Birth

I had brown vaginal discharge that lasted about 4 weeks after undergoing a C-section. A doctor’s examination indicates that nothing is wrong. He explained that it is shedding of old blood as most probably blood is not completely soaked up from the uterus during the operation.

Perimenopause And Menopause

Just before menopause, your body's hormone level becomes erratic Peri-menopause can cause a light brown, pink or yellow discharge. It is heavy and uncomfortable for some women.

A lot of women who are nearing menopause may have a dark brown discharge instead of a normal menstrual flow.

Insertion of IUD (Intra Uterine Device)

Brown vaginal discharge may occur during the first few weeks of the insertion of the IUD. This is due to the reaction of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to the device. It should not be a cause for concern, but it there is pelvic pain and/or fever, consult your doctor immediately.

Abnormal Brown Vaginal Discharge

Don't hesistate to see a doctor if brownish vaginal discharge is prolonged and is accompanied by weight loss, pelvic pain or fever.

It could be indications of a serious illness such as cervical cancer or vaginal infection e.g. chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Cervical Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, cervical cancer can cause a wide variety of symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Symptoms, when present could include prolong vaginal discharge that range from watery, pale, pink, brown or bloody. Sexual intercourse can increase the bleeding and pain in the pelvic region. Other signs are loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, back pain and leg pain.


Chlamydia is known as the “silent” disease because most women do not have signs of this vaginal infection.

Women who do have symptoms have a yellowish to brown discharge, vaginal burning during urination, painful intercourse, fever, lower abdominal pain and bleeding between menstrual cycle.


Also known as the “clap” gonorrhea can affect multiple sites in the body but it occurs most commonly in the genital area.

Symptoms include brown and foul smelling vaginal discharge, burning sensation during urination, vaginal bleeding between periods and abdominal and pelvic pain.

Medical Checkup

Do not procrastinate your visit to the gynecologist if the brown vaginal discharge is accompanied with the above mentioned symptoms.

Whether it turned out to be serious or not, early detection could save your life as it halts the development of further complications.

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