Brown Discharge Before Period 105

Brown discharge before a period is entirely normal and almost never cause for concern. In fact, period blood color or texture changes rarely are. Brown discharge in particular is a just result of older blood mixing with cervical mucus, but to ease your mind, let’s look at the most common causes of brown discharge before a period.brown discharge before period

Causes of brown discharge before a period:

Ovulation: Sometimes ovulation will cause slight spotting which takes time to reach the vaginal opening resulting in it appearing brown by time it exits. Ovulation is normal in those who have hit puberty and occurs on average mid-cycle. Not all women experience ovulation spotting.

Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalance such as low progesterone can cause spotting periodically throughout your cycle. Any cause of spotting or very light bleeding can result in brown discharge before a period. Minor hormonal imbalance is fairly normal as even small lifestyle changes in diet, activity level, sleep, stress, and more can cause fluctuations. Teens and those over 35 are also more prone to hormonal flux. These minor imbalances tend to resolve on their own. A difference in hormone levels from cycle to cycle is also normal. Continued imbalance or signs of a more severe imbalance (multiple missed cycles, very heavy periods, etc.) may require a visit to your care provider. Birth control or herbal options such as vitex may help balance hormones.

Implantation bleeding: When a fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall sometimes a small amount of bleeding occurs which can present as brown discharge before a period. If you’ve had unprotected sex and pregnancy is possible, you can read more about telling implantation bleeding from spotting here.

Cervical or vaginal damage: Damage to the cervix or vaginal wall may also cause light bleeding. The cervix is located at the end of the vaginal canal and serves as an opening to the uterus. Sex or PAP smears can cause this sort of damage.

Infection: Certain infections including yeast infections, bacterial vaginsosis, and sexually transmitted diseases can cause inflammation to the cervix which also causes bleeding. In this case, it’s likely you would see other symptoms as well such as odor, itching, or rash. Continuous brown discharge should be mentioned to your care provider.

Beginning or end of your menstrual cycle: Finally, depending on your personal hormone balance, your cycle may start or end slow with a day or two of light spotting before what’s considered a true flow. This light bleeding may appear brown or bright red, but is still entirely normal.

Hopefully one of the causes above clicks for you, and you have the relieving ah-hah-moment where you finally know what’s going on with your cycle. If not, we always welcome comments and questions here at Life with Gremlins, and do our best to respond to questions within 24 to 48 hours.

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105 thoughts on “Brown Discharge Before Period

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I’m 19 years old and I just started using birth control recently (like a month ago). I had some spotting that was a dark brown color that I have never seen before. It started when I am normally supposed to have my period. I also had unprotected sex a couple of weeks before. And although I am on the pill, I haven’t been as consistent with taking them as I should be (I’ve skipped a few right before having intercourse). Normally when I’m on my period I don’t experience any cramping or back pain or sensitive breast or feeling like I’m going to puke but this time I am experiencing it all. I thought birth control was supposed to help reduce pain and since I normally don’t have any I am worried. I have no idea if the birth control is messing with my period or what. I’ve never felt like this on any of my periods even when I first got my period when I was 9 years old.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It’s common to have symptoms of hormonal imbalance (which is what pregnancy symptoms are) as well as irregular spotting when starting the pill, those issues would be more likely if pill usage was sporadic like you describe. It would also decrease their effectiveness, so being there was unprotected sex, you may want to take a pregnancy test to be sure (wait at least 14 days from the last sexual act).

  • kassandra

    hello, I’m 22 years old and I am expecting my period in 7 days. Yesterday as I was going to shower I noticed some brown discharge on my underwear not a lot but I just thought I was starting my period early. I showered put on a pad and went about day, later on I go the restroom and I’m clean and not on my period. I recently went through a breakup so I’m thinking this might be related to stress. However I forgot to mention I did have sex 5 to 6 days ago so it might be implantation spotting? I’m not sure since then I have been feeling a bit light headed, tired, emotional , tender breasts and crampy I did notice the day I found the discharge on my underwear I was feeling a bit nauseas before I ate and before I went to bed. I’m just not sure what to think, it is too early to take a pregnancy test but I did go out and purchased some and find out if I miss my period. I would really appreciate any advice or if anyone has ever experienced something like this id really appreciate any feed back thanks.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      6 days is the minimum for implantation, with 8 to 10 being average, so if you’re pretty sure it was only 5 to 6 days ago, that’s not likely what it was. Stress can certainly cause a bit of hormonal flux though. As far as symptoms, if you were pregnant you wouldn’t see any so soon. About a week after your period is due is when those start to crop up, and even that’s on the early side. PMS is often more severe in times of hormonal flux though, and can mimic pregnancy symptoms. 🙂 I think your current plan to wait, see, and test if you have reason is a good idea.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Extended spotting before a period is often a sign of low progesterone. This isn’t a huge issue unless you’re trying to conceive, though the spotting can be annoying. The most frequent prescription for those not TTC is birth control.

  • Julia

    Hi I am 51, and just recently got my period, it was bright red in colour with mucus in it, I have also noticed recently have had a jelly like substance clear, with no period, could this be a sign of pre=menopause?

  • Anonymous

    Im 15, I’ve had my period for about almost 2years now.. this has never happened before but apart from after my period … for the past 3-4days I’ve been having this dark brown discharge with some bleeding with it? I’ve also been having some cramps here and there but not major ones x I’m a virgin, im not sexually active.. should I be concerned? And I start my period tomorrow: 6/3/18 x Please I’m very concerned and worried right now.. and I’ve tried searching it up and it’s just the same things, saying I could be pregnant or a disease // infection x 🙁

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      While pregnancy and infections (not necessarily just STDs) can cause spotting, most spotting is hormonal. At 15, your hormones are still in flux so the occasional irregularity is to be expected. As long as there’s no itching, pain, or foul odor, there’s nothing to be concerned about.

  • Anonymous

    I’m getting discharge 1.5 weeks before my period is due. It started with brown jelly like discharge but also brown runny stuff. Not a heavy flow, but not merely spotting too. After a day and a half of that, I’m starting to see bright red, runny flow as well. It seems too much to be ovulation bleeding. Is this an early period? It’s the first time it happened and I don’t know if it’s a cause for concern.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If this is happening every cycle, it’s actually probably low progesterone. You might try vitex, it helps raise progesterone for many ladies. If this has been a one-cycle thing so far, you could go ahead and take a test just to be sure, but there’s not really reason to worry unless you see a pattern of irregular bleeding.

  • Anonymous

    I normally have a moderate to heavy flow of about 5 days with cramps the first two days and an average cycle length of 26 days. I moved to a third world country 4 months ago where I have been under a decent amount of stress, adjusted to a huge time change, and am having more regular sex (with my fiancé). For the past 3 months my periods have been lighter and shorter with brown discharge at the beginning and end. The first day begins with brown discharge then I have a normal flow for about 2 days and end with more brown discharge. This past month I had a light amount of brown discharge around ovulation, as well. I just turned 30 and am we are planing to start trying to conceive within the next 6 months. Is this something I should be concerned about? As a side note, I had my pap and a transvaginal ultrasound in May and my doctor said I was ovulating at the time, the thickness of my uterus looked great, I had a lot of follicles/eggs and she said I shouldn’t have any problems conceiving from what she could see. I am worrying now with this change in my cycle if this will have any bearing on my ability fertility or if it could be stress related? Any advice would be great as I can’t get to my gyro until after the new year.

  • Kylie

    I have dark brown and I am worried that it’s something bigger and I had sex on the 10th. But there is some normal color too but I also haven’t been eating a lot and have working and sick lately too. I’m just really worried about it can u help me out a little please!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      That I know of at least, there is no serious cause of brown bleeding. If it’s new to you, illness, stress, and decreased caloric intake could indeed cause some hormonal flux and lead to some light spotting which may appear brown on exit. As long as there’s no pain, odor, or extremely heavy bleeding, I wouldn’t worry, it will likely self-resolved soon.

  • Katia

    Hi, for the past 2 – 3 years I have been getting brown spotting a day or 2 before my period actually starts, and after I am done my period, I sometimes get either very light red or brown spotting after sex, even if its a week or 2 after my period. I am 43. Is this something I should be alarmed?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Spotting like this is usually progesterone related, and while likely not what you want to hear, at 43, it’s probable that your seeing pre-menopause. The good news is that makes the spotting normal, the bad news is menopause tends to cause a lot more hormonal issues as it progresses. You could always see your care provider to confirm.

  • Tiffany

    Hi there, I’m 6 weeks pregnant. We did IVF. 3 blood tests over a 2 week period confirmed positive pregnancy. However, I had some pinkish light red bleeding start last night from 3pm-730pm. Then it stopped, then today when I wiped it was pink and grey. Should I be concerned? Am I having a miscarriage? I haven’t had any cramping just extreme nausea. Like can’t eat or drink anything. Please help!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Some spotting can be entirely normal in early pregnancy, but any bleeding should also be reported to your care giver just to rule out any other issues. They’ll likely also check up on your baby (which can really ease your mind if nothing else).

  • Sammy

    Hi! I usually have pretty normal predictable periods. This time & last I have had my period about 7 days (both times came later than normal- 4-5 days late) then for 2 weeks after its jelly consistency with thin dark brown clots & dark brown discharge if it’s not the jelly type. It’s enough for a panty liner changing every few hours. I have some pretty decent cramps in between periods when normally I have none during periods. No other issues. No itching, rash, odors. Anyone else have something similar??
    I’m 33 with a 7, 3, and almost 2 year old.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If it’s happening 2 weeks after your period and mixed with “jelly-like” discharge, my bet is it’s from ovulation. Some women get spotting, and it can be more common as you approach menopause and hormones go out of whack (though 33 would be on the early side for that). If early menopause doesn’t run in your maternal line, a lifestyle or dietary change is more likely to be culprit behind a shift like this.

  • Dina

    I’m 35 and I’ve been having brown discharge for almost a week now but it’s soon time for my period to start. I’ve looked online about symptoms and how long it’s supposed to last. I’m just wondering when is it suppose to stop. Will it stop before my period actually starts?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It should, yes. It sounds like you may be having a low progesterone cycle. In most cases this sort of thing self-resolves, but if you begin to see a pattern of it, it may be worth seeing your health care provider.

      • Dina

        Oh ok. I appreciate you taking the time out to answer my question it gave me a sigh of relief. I feel a lot better I will definitely see my doctor if it continues to be a pattern.

  • Sushi

    I have pcod and have been on norethindrone meds for past 3 years.
    I had intercourse on 14th August and then my periods on 17th Aug. My next cycle starts from 13-14 Sept. Today(9th sept) I had dark brown spotting. No heavy flow only bit of spotting and clots when wiped on a pad. Despite this I had intercourses (with protection). There is very mild pain.
    I don’t know what to make out of it. My periods are generally very regular because of the meds.
    Please help out

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Birth control does generally make you less prone to hormonal flux, but outside factors can still cause issues. Things like dietary changes, stress, activity level changes, and lack of sleep are common culprits. If intercourse was painful, infection is also a possibility. In most cases though one incident of weirdness like this isn’t cause for concern. It’s a pattern of irregularity that’s worrisome.

  • Anonymous

    I am worried something is the matter with me. For the last year my cycles have shortened to about 25 days. For the last 4 months I have been getting some brown discharge 2-3 days before proper bleeding starts. It is often only there when I wipe. I am 45 years old.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      At 45, a likely cause is either pre-menopause or menopause. In this time your egg reservoir has gone low (or depleted) and the hormone balance that controls your cycle begins to go off balance, as a result things like irregular, short, or long cycles, spotting, hot flashes, mood swings, nausea, and bloating are pretty much the norm. You could see a care provider to confirm, and they may be able to offer options to alleviate symptoms.

  • stephanie

    have been having brownish discharge few days to my period for over a yr now i dnt knw what is wrong and i am really worried. please i need help urgently

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If it’s happening just before your period, it’s likely progesterone related and nothing to worry about. You might try vitex if you’d like it to stop though. It has good results as far as balancing progesterone levels.