Dark-brown vaginal discharge may be observed in between periods and instead of them. Its causes can be both physiological and pathological. Primary distinctive symptoms of diseases include acute pain, genital discomfort, unpleasant smell or various admixtures in the discharge, as well as frequent bleeding and inability of conception. Such conditions must be examined in a clinic.
Normally, there are two types of vaginal discharge – bloody during periods and mucous between them. On average a regular woman loses 34-50 ml of blood at a period, which is either scarlet or dark-red. It may also contain some clots.
In some cases women notice brown spotting on the underwear, which testifies to a little blood admixture present in vaginal mucus. Such a phenomenon can be observed both before the period and instead of it.
Physiological dark-brown vaginal discharge between periods
In a number of cases scanty bleeding between periods can be observed even in healthy women. First of all, quite often micro vessels can be affected during the ovum’s emergence form the follicle (ovulation bleeding). The second physiological cause of dark-brown spotting out of the cycle is the adjustment to hormonal contraceptives. This phenomenon can be provoked by the intake of any such drug, both in the form of pills and local means (for example, intrauterine device with progesterone). It should also be noted that dark-brown bloody discharge can be indicative to implantation.
Symptoms that point to pathological nature of dark-brown spotting
We distinguish between general and gynecological diseases that cause spotting between periods. The first group involves thyroid pathologies and coagulation failure, including such, caused by the intake of certain drugs.
Insufficiency of thyroid hormones shows up in the form of sweatiness, obesity, digestion disorders and chronic fatigue. Coagulation failure may be revealed during clinical analysis of blood or after a trauma, provoking poorly jugulating bleeding.
Now, let us study the symptoms of brown bloody discharge, associated with diseases of reproductive organs:
- Genital discomfort, itching, burning, unpleasant smell, foaminess and/or matter admixtures, present in the discharge along with blood, indicate to the presence of sexually transmitted infections;
- Post-coital spotting most often indicates to the affection of the thinned endometrial lining (inner vaginal lining), presence of cervical polyps or neoplastic processes in the uterine cervix;
- Irregular bleeding of various intensity and persistence can be typical to endometriosis and adenomyosis (anomalous growth of endometrium);
- The foregoing symptom in line with swelling of the uterus (in some cases even visible) is typical to nonmalignant uterine neoplasmas (myomas, fibromyomas);
- Irregular cycle, accompanied by dark-brown bleeding from the vagina, is characteristic to ovarian polycystic disease.
Sometimes, it appears impossible to establish the cause of pathological bleeding. This condition is commonly referred to as dysfunctional uterine bleeding. The set of symptoms of this disease is also variable.
Causes of dark-brown spotting instead of normal periods
Scanty brown discharge during periods is common in women in premenopausal period, within the first year of the establishment of a regular cycle and in the period of taking hormonal birth control pills. Thus, such a phenomenon is considered pathological in case it occurs beyond the mentioned time frames.
Symptoms of anomalous brown vaginal discharge instead of periods
The situation when the menstrual cycle fails to establish within a year after the first period testifies to a congenital disease; anatomical disorder, such as adhesions in the uterine cavity, cervical stenosis (contraction of the cervix); or genetic pathology: trisomy X syndrome.
In case dark-brown discharge started to replace periods eventually, special attention should be paid to the following circumstances:
- Very painful scanty periods, preceded by infectious disease, or surgical intervention, can constitute symptoms of acquired cervical stenosis;
- Brown menstrual discharge after stressful situations, change of climatic environment or rapid weight loss is indicative to hormonal disruption, particularly decrease of the gonadotropic hormone;
- Light periods in combination with other irregularities of the cycle and infertility, as well as the above mentioned forms of irregular bleeding, are observed in case of endocrine pathologies, including thyroid dysfunction and ovarian polycystic disease, as well as adhesive processes in the uterine cavity.
Thus, dark-brown vaginal discharge, reoccurring throughout the cycle or replacing the periods, all the more so, aggravated with the mentioned symptoms, should serve ground for visiting a gynecologist. Taking into account the fact that certain diseases are not distinctly marked with specific symptoms or do not involve any symptoms at all, causes of such bleeding can be established only by a specialist.