ZocdocAnswersWhat could be this brown vaginal discharge?

Question

What could be this brown vaginal discharge?

I am not having sex, but my boyfriend was fingering me and when he pulled his fingers (two) out there was a brownish red discharge on his fingers? We are both kind of freaking out. Could you please help me!

Answer

A clear and watery discharge that can occur at any time of the month can be perfectly normal, but it is always a good idea to discuss it with your OB/GYN. When there is a change in discharge color, it can be normal as well as not normal and it is even more important that you speak with your doctor. Brown vaginal discharge is most often associated with old endometrial tissues. The discharge is the body's way of cleaning any old endometrial tissues that was not shed during the menstrual cycle. It is normal to have a brown, rather than red, discharge if you have a late period. It can also come from ovulation bleeding that occurs in the middle of your cycle (or at around the time of ovulation), and this discharge sometimes is darker in color. Ovulation bleeding should not be confused with implantation bleeding, which typically takes place about a week after you ovulate and is considered an early pregnancy sign. All of these variations are basically normal. In some cases, there is cause for concern that is much more sinister than leftover endometrial cells. Brown vaginal discharge can be a symptom of some common serious conditions that include uterine polyps, pelvic inflammatory disease and cervical cancer. If you've not had a pelvic exam and Pap smear recently, it is important to have them done annually. A light brown discharge can be an early symptom of a sexually transmitted diseases as well. The most common STDs that cause a discharge include gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, syphilis or genital warts. If the discharge is heavy and accompanying by pain, it may be a sign of a severe problem. However, if it is extremely mild and short, it may be completely normal. However, you should consult with an OB/GYN to rule out a serious condition and for peace of mind.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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