You may feel confused and worried about noticing pinkish brown discharge. It is obvious to feel concerned because normal vaginal discharge is creamy, clear, and slightly yellow in color. It doesn't have a bad smell and you may notice a change in its volume from time to time.  It is not easy to identify the exact cause of your pinkish brown discharge. Keep reading to learn more about why you may have pink brown discharge and if it is normal in your case or not.

What Does Pinkish Brown Discharge Mean?

You may notice brown discharge during your menstrual cycle due to the release of old endometrial tissues. You may also notice it when your period arrives late. When it occurs before your period, it may also indicate that your uterine lining could not make a timely exit during your last period. A brown discharge may appear soon after you finish your periods, and is usually a 'cleaning' mechanism that involves getting rid of old blood.

On the other hand, pink vaginal discharge usually indicates fresh shedding of the uterine lining, which usually happens during implantation or menstruation. This may happen due to vaginal or uterine trauma or because of hormonal treatment. The combination of two colors will lead to the appearance of pinkish brown discharge, which could indicate a number of conditions.

1. Ovulation

The ovary will keep making estrogen if ovulation doesn't occur. It also means the endometrium will keep thickening, which will delay your menstrual period followed by a pinkish brown discharge.

2. Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills work because they inhibit ovulation, but this may lead to the thickening of endometrium with pink brown discharge. This may occur during the first few months usually because of some changes in the lining of the uterus, but this may continue for several months when your body isn't responding well to a birth control pill. You will have to try a different pill to resolve the issue.

3. Hormonal Changes  

  • Puberty

Teenagers may notice pinkish brown discharge as a result of 'hormonal storm' that's common during puberty. It is common for many young girls to notice pink brown discharge for several years after they start menstruating.

  • Menopause

Just like puberty, menopause is a stage in a woman's life when she experiences a hormonal storm. It usually happens after 50. If you’re in menopause and still experience pink brown discharge, you may want to consult with your doctor to ensure it has nothing to do with cancer.

  • Pregnancy

You won’t have menstrual periods when you're pregnant, but so many women notice pinkish brown discharge even after pregnancy. This may also indicate implantation in some cases.

4. Stress

Cortisol and many other stress hormones can interfere with ovulation and even lead to hormonal imbalance that may result in abnormal pink brown discharge. It is usually temporary and goes away after a short time.

5. Fibroids

As many as 30% of women develop fibroid tumors, but these growths are usually benign and don't cause any symptoms. These growths will become larger with the passage of time, but they will lose their size after menopause. Sometimes, you will have more than one fibroid growth in your uterus, which may cause irregular pinkish brown discharge. This usually happens between periods.

6. Polyps

Polyps can invade the uterus or cervix, but like fibroids, they are noncancerous too. Sometimes, polyps may grow in the lining of the uterus – they are called endometrial polyps and are very common as well. These endometrial polyps hang from the lining of the uterus just like figs, but they can be flat in some cases. You may notice pinkish brown discharge when polyps disturb uterine lining.

7. Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis refers to a condition in which the lining of your uterus grows into the wall of your uterus. When this happens, some blood remains trapped in here. When it builds up, you may notice pink brown discharge with severe cramps and heavy bleeding.

8. PID

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease may also be responsible for your pinkish brown discharge. The disease refers to an infection in the fallopian tubes or ovaries. This may happen when you develop a sexually transmitted infection.

Note: when experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as pain, itchiness and bad odor along with the discharge, please don’t hesitate to see the doctor.

Different Types of Vaginal Discharge and What They Mean

As mentioned, your normal vaginal discharge is clear and foamy, but it doesn't mean you should worry whenever there is a slight change in its color or consistency. Here's a bit more about types of abnormal discharges with their possible causes:

Types of Discharge

Possible Causes

Bloody or Brown

It can indicate irregular menstrual cycles or endometrial/cervical cancer. The most common symptoms are pelvic pain and abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Cloudy or Yellow

You may have developed gonorrhea. The most common symptoms are urinary incontinence, bleeding between periods, and pelvic pain.

Yellow, frothy discharge with a bad smell

It usually means you have Trichomoniasis. The most common symptoms are itching and pain while urinating.


You may notice pink discharge due to shedding of your uterine lining after giving birth to a baby.

White, Thick, Cheesy

It may indicate a yeast infection and exhibit symptoms such as painful sexual intercourse, itching, and swelling around the vulva.

Gray, White, or Yellow with Fishy Smell

This usually happens due to bacterial vaginosis and has symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning, or itching of the vulva or vagina.

What Others Say about Pinkish Brown Discharge During Pregnancy

"It happened last week. I noticed brown to brownish-red and sometimes pink vaginal discharge with cramps. It continued for a week. Then, I went to see my doctor and they checked my levels, which were going up. It took two u/s to finally see my baby and a heartbeat. My doctor said it was probably residual blood from implantation and I should not worry about it. I was very worried, but I now believe light spotting is nothing to worry about."

"It was my 4th pregnancy when I noticed pinkish brown discharge. There was nothing like it in my last three pregnancies, so it was obvious for me to feel concerned about it. I also experienced it during the week of implantation. I noticed it also during the 2nd month/period, and it was heavy enough to make wear a liner. I never experienced any cramping though, which was the reason why my doctor wasn't that concerned about it."

"Yesterday, I noticed a pinkish brown discharge and it was after a couple of hours of having sex with my partner. It wasn't the first time I experienced it, but it usually last for a couple of days only. I've had sex with twice with the same person and am not on pills. Still, worried, but hope it's nothing serious"