Light brown discharge can be described as excess mucus-like fluid produced by the cervix and vaginal walls. Vaginal discharge is a normal and even healthy occurrence since it is the body’s way of cleaning up the vaginal area and maintaining a healthy environment. The discharge is responsible for removing bacteria and dead skin cells from the vaginal area. This self-cleaning mechanism is necessary for keeping infections at bay.
Hormonal interactions are largely responsible for female bodily changes that happen during different menstrual cycle stages. The amount, texture and color of discharge varies depending on the menstrual cycle stage. For instance, during ovulation, the amount of discharge usually increases. In most cases, light brown vaginal discharge shouldn’t be a cause for worry. It is however important to consult your gynaecologist if you experience other symptoms. Below are some of the main causes of light brown vaginal discharge.
Causes of light brown discharge
There are a number of reasons why a woman’s vaginal discharge may appear light brown in color. Some of the most common causes are perimenopause and pregnancy. Below is a discussion of these causes among many others.
This is one of the most common reasons for having a light brown vaginal discharge. The discharge is an early sign of pregnancy.
Perimenopause is also known to cause a light brown vaginal discharge. The discharge can also be yellowish or pink accompanied by discomfort.
3. Implantation bleeding
This is another early pregnancy sign. The discharge can vary from light brown to pink or red in color. This type of discharge occurs 10 to 14 days after conception. The discharge is 100% normal since it is as a result of the egg trying to implant itself in the uterus. This type of light brown vaginal discharge appears as a smear as opposed to a flow type or spotting discharge.
4. Old endometrial tissues
Before the menstrual cycle begins, young girls have light brown vaginal discharge. In women, the discharge helps to release old endometrial tissues that were not shed during menstruation.
5. Atrophic Vaginitis
Bleeding, itching or pain in the vaginal area popularly known as Atrophic Vaginitis can also result in a light brown vaginal discharge. Painful intercourse is one of the common causes of Atrophic Vaginitis since it results in a burning sensation and bruising which usually manifests as discharge.
6. Uterine Polyps
Endometrial polyps popularly known as uterine polyps can also result in a light brown vaginal discharge, bleeding after intercourse as well as heavy menstrual bleeding.
Sexually transmitted diseases are also common causes of light brown vaginal discharge. Genital warts, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and trichomoniasis usually manifest as a brown discharge in the early stages of infection.
Complications of light brown vaginal discharge
Brown discharge is usually accompanied by other complications. Some of the most common complications include; itching, burning sensation, painful intercourse, swelling and pain in the vaginal area as well as a foul smell/odour. It is easy to diagnose the exact cause of discharge by visiting a gynaecologist. Gynaecologists are the best trained professionals for finding out the root cause of the problem. They are able to get to the bottom of the issue based on the answers you offer to their questions if your situation and symptoms aren’t serious. Alternatively, they can also perform a pelvic exam among other tests if a pelvic exam doesn’t show the root cause of the discharge.
Some of the above conditions i.e. implantation bleeding and pregnancy responsible for causing a light brown vaginal discharge can’t be treated since they are natural processes that the female body has to go through after conception. If you happen to have any other symptoms or the discharge takes longer to clear (it should clear within a few days), it is always advisable to seek medical attention. Discharge treatment depends on why you have the discharge in the first place. Below are various treatments in regards to cause.
1. STDs: Light brown vaginal discharge as a result of sexually transmitted diseases can be treated effectively using antibiotics.
2. Menopause: Light brown vaginal discharge caused by menopause can’t be treated since it is a natural process. Related symptoms can however be treated.
3. Uterine Polyps: Uterine Polyps are best treated by hormonal medications which work by shrinking the polyps which in turn reduce most if not all symptoms. Alternatively, uterine polyps can be treated via a procedure known as curettage. During this procedure, your doctor scrapes off the polyps from the uterine wall.
The polyps are then examined to ensure they aren’t cancerous. Hysterectomy is another Uterine Polyps treatment option available. Like curettage, this treatment option removes all polyps which are then examined for cancer before the doctor discusses future treatment options.
4. Cervical Cancer: Light brown vaginal discharge caused by cervical cancer is treated via surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Like treatment, the best prevention for brown discharge depends solely on the different causes of the discharge. It is important to remember that you can’t prevent discharge caused by ovulation, pregnancy, endometrial bleeding and menopause. Common causes of light brown vaginal discharge can be prevented by medical attention which comprises of medication and surgical intervention. These causes include; uterine polyps, pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly has also been proven to help minimize cervical cancer risks. Sexual transmitted diseases can also be prevented by having protected sex. Abstaining from sex is also equally effective in preventing light brown vaginal discharge caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Regular medical examinations can also go a long way in promoting a healthy reproductive system which in turn prevents discharge.
In addition to the above preventative measures, women are also advised to wear cotton underwear as well as lose fitting clothes to allow aeration and prevent warm and moist conditions around the vaginal area which are known to cause diseases like Chlamydia which in turn cause discharge. It is also advisable to change sanitary napkins and tampons regularly to reduce infection risks caused by hygiene issues. Avoiding douching is also an advisable option for preventing light brown discharge since douching increases risks of developing infections caused by unbalanced pH levels in the body.