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Light Brown Discharge Before Your Period

If you’re experiencing a light brown discharge before your period, don’t panic, it probably doesn’t mean that you have a serious disease or cancer. Most premenstrual or intermenstrual bleeding is simply normal spotting. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to you physician about it, it just means that you shouldn’t get overly concerned.

Normal Spotting

A light brown discharge before your period is often called spotting, breakthrough bleeding or abnormal uterine bleeding. All that it means is that for some reason there is a small amount of blood mixing with your normal cycle discharge. It is usually noticed as a small smudge on your panties or a noticeable stain when you wipe. To test if this spotting is originating in your vagina or cervix, you can insert a tampon for a minute and then remove it. If there is blood on the tampon then this is probably where the bleeding originated. If you have recently started an oral contraceptive pill, this is a sign that you may need to change to one with a higher estrogen content.


Light brown discharge before your period can be a sign of trauma to the interior of the vagina. This could be due to a number of things from sexual intercourse to the presence of an IUD. Small rips in the vaginal wall or cervix can result in bleeding that can leak out with normal vaginal discharge and dry to a light brown color on the panties. This is not a serious concern unless the bleeding is heavy, resulting in a bright red discharge.


There are several diseases that may lead to limited bleeding in the vagina. These can all result in a light brown discharge before your period. Cervical cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer are some of the major diseases that can cause bleeding and are the major reasons you should check with a physician if you experience this type of spotting. There are less serious conditions like ovarian cysts, cervicitis, endometriosis and fibroid tumors that can also cause premenstrual bleeding.

Implantation and Surgery

If you have recently had surgery, either for fertilization reasons, a hysterectomy, tubal ligation or other procedure that required cutting or burning of the reproductive or excretory system, spotting can be normal. During the healing process, scabs may fall off and a small amount of blood may be introduced to the vaginal region. Strenuous exercise often leads to this type of spotting or bleeding, which is why many patients are told to take it easy for up to two weeks after a procedure.

Post Menopause Bleeding

In post menopausal women, heavy exercise has been shown to cause light bleeding that can result in brown discharge. If the discharge is heavy or comes with a distinctive bad odor, see a doctor immediately as this could be a sign of a much more serious condition related to the diseases listed above.

In any case, if you have light brown discharge before your period, it is a good idea to mention it to your doctor at your next regular check-up. If there is any reason for concern, your doctor can do a few simple tests in the office to determine if this is indeed normal bleeding or if you need further testing done.