There comes a time in most women's lives when she looks down at her underwear and wonders, What the actual eff is that?! Okay, maybe that's a little extreme. But weird-colored vaginal discharge can seriously freak you TF out—especially when it's brown. But before you start spiraling, it's probably helpful to know what that brown discharge means , when it's NBD, and when you should see your ob-gyn about it. Vaginal discharge is, basically, mucosal secretions produced by glands in your cervix and walls of your vagina, according to the U. National Library of Medicine.
Although healthy vaginal discharge comes in a variety of colors, changes are usually a sign that something totally normal is going on inside. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases some brown discharge is nothing to be worried about. It's hard at this stage to distinguish whether physical symptoms like bloating, breast swelling and acne are caused by pregnancy or premenstrual syndrome. For instance, if brown discharge is due to a cervical infection like pelvic inflammatory disease PID , you may also experience pain in the abdomen or during sexual intercourse, fever, an unusual smelling vaginal discharge or burning during urination. Another possibility is an ovarian cyst, a fluid-filled sac that forms on or inside an ovary. Brown discharge due to polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS , a hormonal imbalance, may be accompanied by excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain.
Women's Health. The release of brown discharge is often caused by a small amount of old blood mixing with your normal vaginal discharge. This creates a brown tinge.
Finding brown discharge on your underwear or when you wipe can be disconcerting. But the good news is that brown discharge is simply old blood. Fresh blood has a bright red color. But blood gets darker the longer it spends outside your blood vessels. When blood comes into contact with air, it goes through a process called oxidation.