ZocdocAnswersWhat causes brownish discharge?

Question

What causes brownish discharge?

I don't think I have a vaginal infection, but it's difficult to be sure. What else could explain the brown discharge?

Answer

Brownish vaginal discharge is a very common complaint. I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor or OB/GYN in order to have this evaluated. While it could be a minor condition, persistent vaginal discharge can also be a sign of a serious condition. Vaginal discharge is most often caused by vaginitis -- or inflammation of the vaginal canal. There are three common causes of vaginal discharge. One is a yeast infection -- although this often have white appearing discharge. The second is a condition known as bacterial vaginosis -- which is when the normal bacteria of the vagina change -- causing inflammation. This often gives a brown thin discharge. The third is trichomonas -- which is an infection. This is a sexually transmitted disease. Each of these can be readily diagnosed and treated by your doctor. There are other causes that should be evaluated. Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause discharge. These, like trichomonas, are important to diagnose as they can be contagious to your partner, as well as cause severe long term problems if left untreated. I would recommend that you see your doctor -- either ob/gyn or primary care doctor. While often easily treated, vaginal discharge should be evaluated. Good luck!

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