Vaginal discharge is normal and is in fact a sign that your reproductive organs are working fine. However, a change in the color and volume of discharge may be a cause of concern in some cases. Many women feel worried and stressed because of brown spotting between periods. Menstruation is never an enjoyable experience for women, but issues like brown discharge makes things even more stressful. Keep reading to find out more about the causes and treatment options for experiencing brown discharge between periods.

Is Brown Spotting Between Periods Normal?

Spotting refers to any bleeding that occurs when your menstrual period ends and stops before the next period starts. The bleeding can be so light that you may only notice a pink spot on your underwear, but can appear as a drop of blood or even heavy bleeding that resembles your period.

Normal Old Blood

Noticing brown spotting between periods is not always a serious situation. In most cases, it happens when old endometrial and hormonal tissues come out of your vagina. It is more common in young girls who have not yet started their menstrual cycle. It can affect women as well and is your body's way of getting rid of old endometrial tissue that may not have left your body during your last menstruation cycle.

The menstrual blood discharge can also be of different colors at specific intervals. In some cases, the blood becomes trapped in cervix and stays there for a while. It comes out when it becomes dry to a certain degree. The bleeding you notice in this case will look like brown discharge. There are also other causes which will be explained below.

When You Need to Worry

In rare conditions, you may notice brown spotting between periods due to cancer, uterine fibroids, or other disease processes. If you experience spotting due to some serious issues, you may have some other symptoms as well. This may include pain and altered menstrual period duration and frequency. If your spotting is light with no additional signs and pain, you usually do not have to worry about anything. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience pain or bleeding persists.

Common Causes of Brown Spotting Between Periods Explained

Now you already know why you may have seen brown spotting between periods, but there may be some other underlying causes as well.

1.       You May Be Pregnant

If you are experiencing spotting between periods, this could be a sign of pregnancy. It takes up to 10 days after conception for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus through the Fallopian tube. The egg attaches itself to the uterine lining after reaching the uterus. This may cause a small amount of bleeding, which is usually called implantation bleeding. It is usually red, pink, or brown in color. It isn't that heavy though. You should take a pregnancy test if you have brown spotting before your period and your next period does not arrive.

2.       Birth Control Pills

Using oral birth control pills can affect your menstruation cycle and eve cause brown spotting between periods. That is mainly because these pills contain synthetic hormones that work like progesterone and estrogen. You have to take hormone-containing pills for about 21 days, which should be followed by placebo pills that you need to take for the next seven days. If you do not take your pills at the same time every day, your body may misbehave and hormonal imbalance may initiate bleeding. Once you start taking your pills, your bleeding stops. Being consistent with your birth control pills is the key to success.

3.       Being Stressed

If you are under serious stress, this will alter your hormone production. The hormonal imbalance will affect your menstrual cycle, making your periods to come late or more frequently. You may even notice a change in volume. Things return to normal once you find a way to relieve stress.

4.       Ovulation Spotting

Ovulation spotting is also a common reason why you experience brown spotting between periods. It occurs midway through your menstrual cycle and the exact reasons of ovulation spotting are not clear. Experts believe it happens because ovulation stretches the ovary surface – this may also happen due to the follicle rupturing within the ovary. Any irritation to the abdominal lining may also result in light spotting. If it's ovulation spotting, it may last for a few days and go away on its own. The bleeding is usually very light with no real pain. You may experience some cramps though.

5.       Uterine Fibroids

The condition refers to the development of being uterine growths inside the uterine lining, uterine muscle, and the uterine cavity. Uterine fibroids can be of several pounds or microscopic in size. They cause pelvic pressure, heavy menstrual bleeding, especially between menstrual cycles, constipation, backache, pelvic pressure, and leg pain. About 75% of women develop uterine fibroids at some stage in their reproductive years.

6.       Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

One of many symptoms of PID is a light brown spotting between periods. This serious medical condition occurs in different reproductive organs. It can affect the ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you are noticing spotting with other signs such as diarrhea, nausea, chills, or fever.

7.       STDs and Cervical Cancer

In rare cases, a light brown discharge indicates a sexually transmitted disease or infection. This may happen due to certain diseases such as Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, genital warts, and gonorrhea. Cervical cancer may also be the reason why you are experiencing a brown vaginal discharge. In case, it is due to cervical cancer, you may also have other symptoms such as weight loss, pelvic pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

How Do I Know If My Discharge is Unhealthy?

Any sudden change to vaginal discharge should not be ignored. It usually happens due to a vaginal infection. You should see your doctor if you notice a change in color or consistency of vaginal discharge with a sudden bad smell. An unusual change in the volume of discharge is also a warning sign of infections. Whenever you are not sure why you are experiencing a change in your vaginal discharge, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to find answers.