Normally, vaginal discharge during the menstrual cycle is almost transparent, as it consists mostly of cervical mucus. Sometimes, brown discharge between periods can be observed. They can have both physiological causes (ovulation, adjustment to hormonal contraceptives) and various diseases.
First of all, it should be clarified, what the brown color of discharge testifies to presence of blood. Such a coloring of mucus can be associated with little amount of blood. Most often, brown coloring is typical to the blood, which has passed a long way from the ovaries, through the uterine cavity or cervix to the vagina. Disturbed integrity of vaginal vessels would more commonly have the form of scarlet bloody drops.
All forms of “spotting”, which is observed in the middle of the cycle, can be classified into 2 categories: physiological (normal) and pathological. Both types of brown discharge can occur before period, “wedging into” a regular cycle, or else appear a few days prior to the expected period due to possibly undiagnosed conception.
Normal spotting before period in a regular cycle
For not pregnant women, seeing dark spots on the underwear prior to the period can be indicative of ovulation bleeding or adjustment to hormonal contraceptives.
In the first case, bleeding has to do with the emergence of the egg from the follicle, which can sometimes be accompanied by slight affection of vessels. At this stage, the secretion of cervical mucus is most active and that is the reason for observing the picture of sticky brown discharge before period.
It is a well known fact that the peak of the egg’s maturation comes to the middle of a regular cycle (on the 14th day on average). Thus, this is the time when you can expect brown spotting. Normally it should last for no more than 2-3 days, can be accompanied by light cramps and pricking in the abdominal area caused by ovulation. Ovulation bleeding does not intervene the course of the cycle and does not delay a regular period.
Adjustment to a new contraceptive means, which contains hormonal components, be it a contraceptive patch, pills or injection of a drug reservoir, can be accompanied by bleeding symptom out of the cycle. In this case, brown discharge also precedes the period and does not intervene its normal course.
It should be kept in mind that an adequate adjustment period lasts no longer than 3-6 months. Any further bloody discharge can be indicative of a pathology and should be under the supervision of an experienced specialist.
Pathological conditions, which are not associated with pregnancy
In fact, any disease develops with no regard to the cycle or any other factor; that is why pathological bleeding may occur both before period and immediately after it. The following conditions can provoke not regular brown discharge:
- Hormonal disruption, including – polycystic ovary symptom and perimenapause;
- Sexually transmitted diseases;
- Anomalous proliferation of endometrium (endometritis, adenomyosis);
- Cervical diseases (erosion, polyps, cancer);
- Oncological uterine diseases;
- Disturbance of blood clotting ability, including disturbance due to intake of certain drugs
Visually, all types of spotting look alike, regardless of the cause. They look like dark spots or sticky brown discharge between periods. Its thickness and intensity depends, among other things, on the phase of secretion of cervical mucus, the peak of which overlaps with ovulation. Besides, it is not reasonable to diagnose brown spotting immediately after an intercourse, as for the most part, it points to the above mentioned pathology of uterine cervix.
Brown discharge and pregnancy
It may happen so that pregnancy is not yet established, while a woman observes spotting before the expected period. In this case, it can point to both the adhesion of ovum to the uterine lining (implantation bleeding) and to the disturbance of a normal or ectopic pregnancy.
An important distinctive feature of pregnancy is painless implantation, whereas threatened miscarriage is usually accompanied by severe cramps. Besides, in case of voluntary interruption of pregnancy, the discharge not only remains brown, but it gets more intense and thick. One may even have scarlet blood and blood clots in the discharge.
Thus, in any case brown discharge before period serves ground for a visit to a clinic. Even if it has physiological causes, it would be better to make sure in that, based on the opinion of a gynecologist. Brown discharge with matter admixture, as well as brown secrete, associated with the rise of body temperature and accompanied by significant dragging pain in the abdominal area, require immediate visit to a clinic.