Brown periods: what does this brown discharge mean?
Have you ever experienced brown blood loss during your period and wondered if this is normal? We answer all your questions and explain the possible causes of this color.
What causes brown periods?
Brown periods are caused by a completely natural phenomenon: oxidation. If the blood takes a long time to flow, it will come into contact with the air, which will oxidize the iron in the discharge. The result? The blood will become tinted and have this brown color that can be surprising if you are not used to it. So, if you're wondering if brown discharge is really menstruation, the answer is "yes", it's just due to a change in the color of the period.
What causes brown periods?
There can be several causes for this period color change. Let's see what the main ones are.
First and last days of the period
At the beginning and end of the period, the flow is less abundant. As a result, the blood will take longer to flow. It can then stagnate in the vagina, where it will take on this brown color, due to oxidation. A light period can also be brown because it mixes with vaginal discharge and becomes brown rather than the bright red color we are used to.
Early puberty or menopause
At these times, hormones can play tricks on our bodies. When the first period occurs, it is rarely regular. The flow can vary a lot and be very light in some cycles. Brown periods are not uncommon. During menopause, hormone levels in the body fluctuate greatly and impact menstruation. They are very irregular and can be very heavy and then very light. Hot flashes often accompany these flow variations.
Use of an unsuitable contraceptive
Another element that can play a role and cause brown blood loss during menstruation is poor contraception. It too releases hormones and if it is not adapted, the level will be too low or too high and will disturb the periods. Forgetting to use contraception can have the same effect. Slight bleeding may occur and it will turn brown.
Should I be concerned about brown discharge outside of my period?
If you are not experiencing any other symptoms, there is no reason to be concerned. Menstrual cycles can change over a woman's lifetime and flows can vary. To protect yourself during those little dark bleeds, use external protection. You can use our Elia panties which are perfectly adapted to this situation.
Is it normal to have brown discharge during pregnancy?
This can happen during the first three months of pregnancy. Brown periods can come from old blood that has not had time to drain. This is called "anniversary bleeding". Any bleeding during pregnancy is, however, something to watch out for. It's best to talk to a doctor to get his or her opinion and make sure everything is okay.
Is a brown period smelly or painful?
Normally, no. Brown periods are supposed to have the same symptoms as regular periods. So pain can be experienced, but it should be similar to the rest of the cycle. Those caused by the contraction of the uterus to expel the blood present. Bad odors are especially important to watch out for, as they may indicate an infection such as a yeast infection. In general, if brown periods are associated with other symptoms, or if the discharge occurs outside of the menstrual cycle, it is recommended that you seek professional help.
Although they can be surprising, brown periods are normal. They are caused by oxidation of the blood, which changes color. However, if you notice any other symptoms or if the discharge occurs outside of your menstrual cycle, you should seek professional help to make sure everything is fine.
Brown Period FAQs
Is brown discharge a period?
Yes, at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle, the discharge is less heavy and may oxidize. It then turns brown.
Why are my periods brown and light?
This is often the case at the beginning and end of your period. It can also happen when you start to get your period, or at the time of menopause.
When does the brown discharge occur?
It can happen at various times. At the beginning and at the end of the period, when the flow is less abundant. The flow can also be lighter at menopause. Unsuitable contraception can also be the cause.
Is a brown period a sign of pregnancy?
It is possible, yes. During the first three months, small amounts of bleeding can occur, called "anniversary bleeding". This is not a cause for concern, but it is better to keep an eye on it.
Are brown periods a sign of miscarriage?
Sometimes yes. A miscarriage is usually manifested by blood loss. Depending on the amount of flow, the blood may oxidize and be brown instead of bright red.