ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have brown vaginal discharge in the middle of my cycle?

Question

Why do I have brown vaginal discharge in the middle of my cycle?

Brown stringy dark spots

Answer

Not all cases of brown vaginal discharge are cause for concern. Most are harmless and old blood, however it is important to discuss it with your OB/GYN or primary care doctor. Brown discharge is a natural process for the female body to remove some old endometrial tissues from the body that were not shed during the menstrual cycle. Light brown discharges usually go away on their own within a few days. Sometimes, discharge during mid-cycle bleeding with ovulation can become thicker and darker in color which corresponds to sloughing off of uterine cells just before actual menstrual bleeding. In some cases, dark brown discharge can be more serious and that is why it should be checked out by a doctor. Only then you can be diagnosed and properly treated. That being said, there are numerous reasons of spotting in the middle of your cycle (at around the time of ovulation). Sometimes, during the middle of a woman's menstrual cycle, when she is ovulating, she may have some bleeding that is lighter than menstrual flow lasting for one to two days. It may be due to the egg rupturing through the follicle during ovulation or a result of the elevated level of estrogen during the process of an egg maturing that the uterus sheds a bit of lining so bleeding occurs. However, ovulation bleeding should not be confused with implantation bleeding, which typically takes place about a week after you ovulate and is an early pregnancy sign. If not pregnant, oral contraceptive pills or an intrauterine device (IUD) can cause hormonal imbalance leading to irregular periods that may have episodes of ovulation period. All of these variations are basically normal. However, if the discharge is heavy, soaking undergarments, or has a bad smell or is accompanied by some pelvic pain or burning with urination, you should get it checked out by a doctor. These can be symptoms of some common vaginal infections (vaginitis). A light brown discharge can also be an early symptom of pelvic inflammation disease or a sexually transmitted disease. An OB/GYN or a primary care doctor can examine and further evaluate if this warrants treatment.

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

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