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Got Bloody Discharge from Vagina? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About It

Many women who experience bloody discharge feel distressed and concerned since they know that, most of the time, the presence of blood in vagina fluids is abnormal. There are many potential causes of bloody discharge and, unfortunately, this occurrence is oftentimes linked to very serious conditions such as cervical or vaginal cancer. If you are not currently on your period but you experience bloody vaginal discharge instead, you need to consult your doctor immediately and see what may be causing this.

We’ve prepared a guide full of information on the problem of bloody mucus discharge – when it’s normal, and when it’s not. Keep reading to find out whether or not you identify with any of the situations described below.

Bloody Discharge After Period

The most common occurrence of bloody vaginal discharge is during the last day of your period, and one or two days after it stops. This type of discharge usually appears brownish in color, with odor and has a relatively thick consistency that resembles raw egg whites. It occurs as a result of your vagina expelling blood remnants from your period along with your normal discharge. Excess endometrial tissue that hasn’t exited your body during period may be expelled in the form of brown and bloody discharge once your menstruation stops. However, this isn’t a reason of concern. After period, your discharge will gradually become clear or white, going from thin to thick and creamy.

Bloody Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy

  • Implantation Spotting

Also known as implantation bleeding, implantation spotting is light bleeding that occurs when the fertilized ovum embeds to the inner wall of the uterus, called endometrium. Implantation spotting occurs in the form of increased bloody vaginal discharge and lasts between a few minutes to a few hours or even 1-2 days.
Impregnation can happen during ovulation or right after it. The day when you are the most fertile is usually the middle of your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cycle is, say, 28 days, ovulation is likely to happen during the 12-14th day. The mature ovum needs about 10 more days to migrate through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. The process of the ovum’s attachment to the endometrium can begin approximately on the 23rd – 28th day of your menstrual cycle. As a result, implantation spotting is likely to occur a few days before your period is due, or right around the date when it’s due. That’s why many women take implantation spotting for early menstruation.

Impregnation can happen during ovulation or right after it. The day when you are the most fertile is usually the middle of your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cycle is, say, 28 days, ovulation is likely to happen during the 12-14th day. The mature ovum needs about 10 more days to migrate through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. The process of the ovum’s attachment to the endometrium can begin approximately on the 23rd – 28th day of your menstrual cycle. As a result, implantation spotting is likely to occur a few days before your period is due, or right around the date when it’s due. That’s why many women take implantation spotting for early menstruation.

Many women who experience bloody discharge feel distressed and concerned since they know that, most of the time, the presence of blood in vagina fluids is abnormal. There are many potential causes of bloody discharge and, unfortunately, this occurrence is oftentimes linked to very serious conditions such as cervical or vaginal cancer. If you are not currently on your period but you experience bloody vaginal discharge instead, you need to consult your doctor immediately and see what may be causing this.

We’ve prepared a guide full of information on the problem of bloody mucus discharge – when it’s normal, and when it’s not. Keep reading to find out whether or not you identify with any of the situations described below.

Bloody Discharge After Period

The most common occurrence of bloody vaginal discharge is during the last day of your period, and one or two days after it stops. This type of discharge usually appears brownish in color, with odor and has a relatively thick consistency that resembles raw egg whites. It occurs as a result of your vagina expelling blood remnants from your period along with your normal discharge. Excess endometrial tissue that hasn’t exited your body during period may be expelled in the form of brown and bloody discharge once your menstruation stops. However, this isn’t a reason of concern. After period, your discharge will gradually become clear or white, going from thin to thick and creamy.

Bloody Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy

  • Implantation Spotting

Also known as implantation bleeding, implantation spotting is light bleeding that occurs when the fertilized ovum embeds to the inner wall of the uterus, called endometrium. Implantation spotting occurs in the form of increased bloody vaginal discharge and lasts between a few minutes to a few hours or even 1-2 days.
Impregnation can happen during ovulation or right after it. The day when you are the most fertile is usually the middle of your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cycle is, say, 28 days, ovulation is likely to happen during the 12-14th day. The mature ovum needs about 10 more days to migrate through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. The process of the ovum’s attachment to the endometrium can begin approximately on the 23rd – 28th day of your menstrual cycle. As a result, implantation spotting is likely to occur a few days before your period is due, or right around the date when it’s due. That’s why many women take implantation spotting for early menstruation.

Impregnation can happen during ovulation or right after it. The day when you are the most fertile is usually the middle of your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cycle is, say, 28 days, ovulation is likely to happen during the 12-14th day. The mature ovum needs about 10 more days to migrate through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. The process of the ovum’s attachment to the endometrium can begin approximately on the 23rd – 28th day of your menstrual cycle. As a result, implantation spotting is likely to occur a few days before your period is due, or right around the date when it’s due. That’s why many women take implantation spotting for early menstruation.

  • Threatened or Actual Miscarriage

If you experience bloody discharge during early pregnancy, there’s a good chance that your pregnancy may be at risk. Bloody discharge, whether watery and stringy or thick and chunky, may indicate a threatened or actual miscarriage, which may occur during first trimester of pregnancy. Another symptom that occurs with bloody brown discharge is cramping, which may be quite similar to period cramping. Depending on how early occurs, miscarriage may also cause other symptoms such as nausea, fever and vomiting.
Bloody discharge that’s caused by miscarriage is usually clottier than a period, with clots looking like tiny lumps in the discharge. If you experience any sort of bleeding in early pregnancy, call your doctor immediately or seek medical assistance at a local hospital. Have a professional run some diagnostic tests such as hCG blood tests or ultrasound to see whether or not there is still heartbeat.

  • Cervical Mucus Plug – The “Show”

The cervical mucus plug is an accumulation of cervical mucus that seals the cervix during pregnancy. The mucus plug acts as a protective barrier by keeping bacteria at bay and preventing pathogens from traveling to your uterus. It contains a small amount of cervical mucus, as well as antimicrobial agents such as immunoglobulins.
During late pregnancy, the cervix thins and some blood is released into the cervix which causes the mucus plug to become bloody. As you get closer to labor, the cervix begins to dilate and the mucus plug discharges. It may come out either all at a time, as a blood-streaked ball of mucus, or gradually in the form of bloody vaginal discharge over several days. Since it’s made up of cervical mucus, the plug may look like a stretchy, gooey blob of bloody pinkish snot. The process of discharging the cervical mucus plug is called “show” or “bloody show,” and usually indicates that your body is preparing for birth. However, it doesn’t imply that labor is imminent. It may take hours, days or even weeks until you go into labor.

During late pregnancy, the cervix thins and some blood is released into the cervix which causes the mucus plug to become bloody. As you get closer to labor, the cervix begins to dilate and the mucus plug discharges. It may come out either all at a time, as a blood-streaked ball of mucus, or gradually in the form of bloody vaginal discharge over several days. Since it’s made up of cervical mucus, the plug may look like a stretchy, gooey blob of bloody pinkish snot. The process of discharging the cervical mucus plug is called “show” or “bloody show,” and usually indicates that your body is preparing for birth. However, it doesn’t imply that labor is imminent. It may take hours, days or even weeks until you go into labor.

  • Postpartum Discharge – Lochia

Bleeding after delivery is completely normal and occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus, causing open blood vessels to bleed in the uterus. When the placenta is delivered, the uterus continues to contract, thus closing off blood vessels and reducing bleeding. Postpartum discharge, also known as lochia, is discharge that occurs after delivery. It consists of blood, bacteria and tissue shed from the lining of the uterus. During the first few days after birth, lochia contains a high amount of blood, which usually makes it look like your normal period. It may come out in small gushes or flow more evenly, similar to your period.

By two to four days after delivery, the lochia will have become pinkish and thinner due to the amount of blood expelled by the vagina decreasing. By about ten days after birth, the lochia will have become white or yellow-white. Use of sanitary pads can help prevent staining your clothes. If you experience heavy lochia for longer than ten days, contact your doctor or midwife.

Bloody Discharge After Sex (Postcoital Bleeding)

Postcoital bleeding is non-menstrual bleeding that occurs immediately after sexual intercourse. Most of the time, PCB looks like bloody mucus discharge that’s particularly slimy and thin, with a slight odor that’s very similar to the smell of your period. Interestingly, as much as 50% of women who experience postcoital bleeding (or bloody discharge after intercourse) have no specific causes. Common causes of bloody mucus after sex include infection (such as yeast infection), cervical cancer (apparent or speculum examination), cervical ectropion (if taking combined oral contraceptive pills), vaginal cancer, cervical or endometrial polyps. If you experience bleeding or brownish discharge after sex, make sure to contact your healthcare provider and have the issue investigated for proper diagnosis.

Bloody Discharge Between Periods

Intermenstrual bleeding, or IMB, is light vaginal bleeding (different from postcoital bleeding) that occurs at any time during your menstrual cycle other than during normal menstruation. Small amounts of blood may be expelled from vagina along with your normal white, milky discharge, thus causing it to appear bloody. Many women have difficulty distinguishing between intermenstrual bleeding and irregularly frequent periods, so the best way to see if there’s anything wrong down below is calling your doctor and having an evaluation done.

There is a huge number of possible causes of IMB, but most common ones are vaginitis, cancer, cervical cancer, cervical ectropion, adenosis, fibroids and endometrial polyps.

Breakthrough Bleeding

If you have recently started to take any contraceptive medications, the bloody discharge that you’re having may be due to breakthrough bleeding, which is the result of combined oral contraceptive pills. Bleeding problems are more common in women taking progesterone-only contraceptives and preparations containing 20 micrograms ethinylestradiol. Many women have bloody discharge due to breakthrough bleeding for several years after taking contraceptive pills.

Vaginal Infections

As noted above, bloody discharge may also be the result of vaginal infection. This is common mostly with sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, and is very unlikely to happen due to yeast infection or bacteria vaginosis. They usually cause spotting between periods – and implicitly, foul smelling discharge that’s much thicker than normal discharge. Other symptoms of vaginitis include vaginal and vulval itching, swelling and redness, burning during urination, painful intercourse and lower abdominal (pelvic) pain.

Your vagina will likely feel quite uncomfortable as well, specifically because the amounts of discharge tend to increase substantially when you have vaginitis. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call your doctor and see appropriate treatment.

Best Practices for Addressing Bloody Mucus Discharge

While these are the most common causes of bloody vaginal discharge, there are some others that are less frequent. Damage to your reproductive system, for example, happens very rarely, and so there’s a very little chance that the bleeding is caused by it. If you experience bleeding at other times than your period, make sure to contact your healthcare provider and have the issue checked up. The faster you identify the underlying cause, the faster you can treat it.

Now – how are you supposed to deal with bloody vaginal discharge? We’ve outlined a couple of important things you should bear in mind to ease your situation and avoid complications.

1. Don’t Assume That Everything Is Alright

One of the biggest mistakes you can possibly make when it comes to bloody discharge is assuming that everything is alright and you’ve got nothing to be worried about. Due to the wide range of possible reasons for bloody discharge, you should always seek immediate medical assistance, especially if it occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy. Even if it’s nothing serious, a checkup can also reassure you that there’s nothing wrong with you, and hence you won’t have to live in distress.

2. Avoid Touching Your Genitals with Your Hands

Direct contact with blood can allow bacteria to settle and fest. Needless to mention, your hands offer a thriving environment for bacteria and other germs that may travel to your uterus and cause infections. When using the toilet, make sure to always wash your hands before and after urinating or defecating. Also, avoid getting any other object in contact with your genital area – not only when you’re dealing with abnormal bloody discharge no odor, but in general.

3. Use Sanitary Pads Instead of Tampons or Panty Liners

As with your period, bloody discharge can get very frustrating due to its potential of staining your underwear and clothing. Although they may look like the perfect solution, neither tampons nor panty liners should be used for the purpose of soaking up the discharge and preventing stains. They aren’t 100% healthy for you because they alter the vagina’s environment and mess with its acidic pH, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and worsening your situation. Choose sanitary pads instead – they have a neutral pH that won’t impact the pH of the vagina, and they have been designed specifically for critical times like this.

4. Avoid Sexual Intercourse

No matter what causes your discharge to be bloody, it’s best to avoid engaging in any form of sexual activity until the issue is sorted out. If you have an infection, you may spread it to your partner as well. Alternatively, if your partner has a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, trichomoniasis or Chlamydia, vaginal bleeding may increase the risk of contracting it due to direct contact with blood. Even if protected, sexual intercourse should be avoided at all costs.

5. Wipe from Front to Back

In addition to sexual contact with an infected partner, getting any fecal matter close to or inside your vagina can also increase risk of infection due to allowing pathogens to enter the blood stream much faster. It’s important to wipe correctly, always from front to back, in order to avoid this. Also, make sure to use unscented toilet paper or baby wet wipes for this job. If possible, avoid using public restrooms, as they aren’t always properly cleaned and may be loaded with pathogens ready to infect you.

6. Change Underpants Frequently

One of the best ways to address bloody discharge is changing your underpants frequently. If the amount of discharge is little, this solution can be a better alternative to wearing sanitary pads – it’s healthier, economical, and more efficient. It’s important to wear only loose cotton panties in order to avoid changing your vagina’s environment. Tight clothing, and tight undies in particular, tend to mess with the vagina’s pH. Cotton is a very breathable fabric that allows for better air circulation, thus keeping infections at bay.

7. Visit Your OBS/Gyn Frequently

If you are currently taking any treatment for the bloody vaginal discharge you’re dealing with, frequent visits to your gynecologist can help track progress and ensure that your medication is working smoothly. In addition to this, your gyn will be able to identify other potential pathogens by taking samples of your discharge regularly, and also advise you in regard to the best personal hygiene practices. Once the issue is treated, keep seeing your gyn every few months for regular checkups.

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