Brown discharge before period – a norm or pathology?
During each menstrual cycle, some women experience a brown discharge before period that lasts from one to three days. They take such discharge as a spotting and are in no hurry to seek medical attention believing that the body is merely preparing for the next menstruation.
However, according to gynecologists, this phenomenon may signal serious disorders in the female genitals and so requires more careful attention by at least visiting a specialist. You should not panic because the above symptoms do not always mean you have a disease. Nevertheless, you need to go for vaginal flora test to be able to tell if your body has an inflammatory process, of which premenstrual discharge is often a symptom.
Why do I get brown discharge before period?
Brown discharge before period is due to the bloody vaginal secretions. Most women of childbearing age may experience this phenomenon. Normally, it lasts from a few hours to a day, followed by full menstruation.
However, if the vaginal bleeding is accompanied by a cutting pain in the lower abdomen or an unbearable itching of the external genitals, while your period meanwhile have been slow to start, the reason for this may be much more serious than just a physiological process.
- Puberty. Teenage girls aged 11 to 17 years in their first year of menstrual cycle sometimes experience such phenomenon as juvenile bleeding. This is associated with hormonal changes in the growing organism and often coincides by time with the girl’s period. It may appear as a dark bleeding. Juvenile bleeding usually occurs with stabilization of the cycle, but in some cases, it may be caused by disorders in the sexual function and may affect the reproductive health of the woman in the future.
- Contraception. This is one of the most common causes of spotting during the premenstrual period. Brown discharge is how the body adapts to changes caused by hormone pills taken. If a doctor prescribed oral contraceptives with low estrogen content, the probability of such phenomenon occurring is increased by several times. It is considered acceptable when brown discharge lasts for 1-3 days and is repeated for three consecutive menstrual cycles. If longer, then the contraceptive selected is not correct. Using an intrauterine spiral can also sometimes provoke vaginal brown discharge before period.
- Beginning of menopause. Women aged 45 years and above may experience dark brown discharge before their period and up to complete cessation of the period. The most common cause of this is a violation of the timing of ovulation, which is the physiological norm for this period. Although, in some cases, such discharge may indicate dysfunction of the thyroid gland or tumor processes in the uterus.
Brown bloody discharge before period as a result of disease
A disturbing vaginal discharge is sometimes a symptom of the following diseases:
- Growth of endometrial tissue. One in every two women suffering from endometriosis experiences lingering brown discharge before her period without any pain. This is because the cells of the endometrium grow into nearby organs (uterus, its tubes, and ovaries), and are torn away at the death of the ovum thus causing microscopic bleeding.
- Endometritis. When a woman is suffering from chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane of the uterus, in addition to experiencing a vaginal discharge before her period, she often complains of frequent dull pain in the lower abdomen or back pain, and purulent or bloody vaginal discharge in the middle of her menstrual cycle. Infection and uterine curettage (abortions) can both cause endometriosis.
- Endometrial polyps. Polyps are benign growths on the uterine mucosa disrupting its functions and thus causing dark brown discharge before a period
- Uterine fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors in the uterus. This disease is common in young women of 20 to 35 years of age. Its symptoms can come in the form of a slight smearing and breakthrough bleeding shortly before menstruation.
How can brown discharge before period be dangerous?
Such discharge can be a symptom of incipient miscarriage. If the woman is not yet aware of her pregnancy, she could easily mistake such discharge as the beginning of her period and lose her child.
Disregarding any abnormal discharge during puberty or at a young age can later lead to infertility.
Dark brown or black discharge before period may be the only symptoms of such terrible diseases as ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and cervical cancer. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor on time to eliminate these diagnoses.
Cases where a brown discharge before period require immediate medical attention
When the discharge is accompanied by severe paroxysmal pain in the lower abdomen or waist
When the body temperature or blood pressure is high
When a weak discharge develops into a strong breakthrough bleeding
If during the discharge, the woman suddenly develops a feeling of strong weakness up to a brief loss of consciousness
Being in some cases the symptom of severe and sometimes life-threatening disease, brown discharge before period is a signal to the woman to go for early medical examination. By ignoring these signals, the woman could miss the opportunity to cure the disease at an early stage. It may be much more difficult to achieve a full recovery later. Therefore, regular checkups by a gynecologist, early diagnosis of the diseases and treatment under the supervision of a doctor are a key step towards a woman’s health and longevity.