Brown Spotting Instead Of Period – What Are The Possible Causes?
If you notice a brown discharge around the time when you usually expect your period, one of the most likely explanations is that the remnants of the lining of your uterus, old endometrial tissue, were not properly eliminated from your body during your last period. Once the brown spotting finishes, your normal period will most probably occur. Even if this occurs regularly, provided it isn’t accompanied by other symptoms, it’s just a natural function of your body and no need for real concern. The brown color is due to the fact that you are seeing old, oxidized blood.
This kind of light discharge, occurring when you would normally be thinking about getting your period, could of course be a sign of early pregnancy, as the egg becomes implanted in the womb with resulting small issues of blood, and if it’s possible that you’re pregnant, now is a good time to get that test done.
If you have recently started taking contraceptive pills, or have changed your pill, then this can be another reason for a brown discharge around the time you would expect your period, as the body gets used to the new hormone roller coaster ride!
The onset of menopause – a common reason for brown spotting instead of period
As you get older, your periods will change, become irregular, lighter, and will eventually cease. During this time, known as the peri-menopause, you can expect almost anything to happen, and brown spotting when you would usually expect your period is quite likely. If you have accompanying symptoms of vaginal dryness, unusual mood swings, trouble sleeping and hot flashes, you may well be experiencing the onset of menopause.
When should I worry?
Brown vaginal discharge or spotting should be a concern for you if it goes on for more than a few days, or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, watery or yellowish discharge, bad smelling or very heavy discharge, depression, difficulty urinating, burning or itching, pain during sex and loss of appetite. These may be indicators of more serious conditions, such as a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia, vaginal warts or gonorrhea, or a disease such as a pelvic inflammatory disease or even cervical cancer. In this instance you should immediately stop having sex, especially with a new partner, and consult your doctor as soon as possible.
What should I do?
If you just have light brown spotting instead of period with no other symptoms, and your period comes as usual, then there is probably nothing for you to worry about. If it happens more than once, check that you are drinking enough water and try to de-stress your life a little – stress is often an underlying cause of minor hormonal disruptions. Take more exercise, improve your diet, and lose a bit of weight if you have a few pounds to spare. Should the brown discharge be heavy, long lasting, bad smelling or frequent, then, as ever, it would be wise for you to consult your doctor for reassurance.