Brown Mucus Discharge: 7 Causes You Should Know

brown mucus discharge in women

Last updated on July 28th, 2018 at 05:04 am

Do you have a brown mucus discharge before or after your period? Are you worried your brown stringy discharge is a sign of pregnancy or ovulation? Do you experience this type of discharge for more than a week?

This guide will explain the ABCs of brown mucus discharge and when its likely abnormal.


Normal discharge: What it looks like?pregnancy test brown discharge f

Vaginal discharge is that white stuff that comes out from your vagina. It is a natural way the vagina is constantly kept clean. It is made up of cells from the vagina, bacteria, and cervical mucus. Normal discharge is white in color. However, it could be yellow, pink and brown and still be normal.

It can be a thick white mucus discharge or watery clear discharge.

Yellow vaginal discharge is due to an infection in most women. However, normal white vaginal discharge when exposed to air can turn yellow. This yellow discharge may be normal without any other infection symptoms like smell and vaginal itching. Learn more about yellow vaginal discharge

Pink vaginal discharge may also be normal and is due to a mixture of blood and your vaginal discharge. It is not really a problem when it lasts for a few days. Learn more about pink vaginal discharge.

Other forms of discharge you should know are

Milky white discharge

Bloody vaginal discharge

White creamy discharge

Brown discharge

What causes brown mucus discharge?

Brown mucus discharge is a mixture of old blood with your cervical mucus. It is mostly normal in women and occurs while you’re ovulating, during implantation and while having intercourse.

1.  Ovulation

Brown discharge is a sign you’re ovulating. Ovulation is the process of expelling egg from the ovary. This egg will fuse with sperm during fertilization to form your baby.

During ovulation, the most mature follicle in the ovary ruptures with slight bleeding. This blood comes down your vagina and mixes with your vaginal discharge to form brown mucus discharge.

Ovulation usually occurs between 14 to 16 days before you see your next period. If you understand ovulation, then any brown stringy discharge may be because you’ve ovulated.

Before ovulation, you will experience fertile mucus which is a stretchy discharge that is white and clear. Regular intercourse during your fertile window will get you pregnant. It is easier to get pregnant if you have sexual intercourse 48 to 72 hours before you ovulate. After ovulation, your chances of getting pregnant reduces.

Brown discharge is a sign of ovulation. It is not your fertile window. Sexual intercourse during brown discharge is not likely to get you pregnant.

In addition, there are various ovulation kits and fertility monitors in the market that can help you know when ovulation occurs.

2.  Pregnancypregnancy brown discharge

If you are expecting, then brown discharge is an early pregnancy sign. After ovulation, the zygote (which is the fertilized ovum) is then transported by the ciliary action of the fallopian tubes to your womb for implantation.

During implantation, slight bleeding can occur. This mixes with your vaginal discharge and forms brown stringy discharge. Some women may experience low abdomen pain. However, it resolves in a few hours or days.

Brown stringy discharge due to pregnancy usually occurs about 10 days after your ovulation or 1 week before you are expecting your next period. It does not have any smell or itching.

Should I be worried about brown stringy discharge before my period?

No. It is normal except you noticed an abnormal feeling of pain during intercourse, vaginal burning, and itching with smell.

3.  Sexual intercoursesexual intercourse

During intercourse, your body will increase production of clear discharge from the Bartholin gland. This is necessary to lubricate the vagina and let you enjoy sexual intercourse without much friction or pain. However, you could have a vaginal tear or trauma to the cervix which can cause slight bleeding. If mixed with your white discharge can turn brown.

Should I worry about brown mucus discharge after intercourse?

No. It is normal and resolves in hours. However, irregular brown spotting after intercourse that occurs all the time may be due to cervical polyps. You should let your doctor know.

4.  Vaginal infections

This is also a cause of abnormal brown mucus discharge in women. If not treated early can cause infertility, tubal pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Some common vagina infections are bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia infection, trichomoniasis and gonorrhea.

How will I know if I have a vaginal infection?

  • You will notice an abnormal or different type of discharge
  • Your discharge becomes smelly
  • You begin to have vaginal itching
  • You feel burning vaginal pain
  • Your body temperature increases (fever)
  • You notice persistent low abdomen pain, pain while having intercourse and while urinating

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted. If you’ve had any unprotected intercourse with an infected person, then you may have a vaginal infection. Treatment is the use of antibiotics and has excellent success rates.

Treating your vaginal infection is not enough. You should inform your partner about your infections. Talk to him about the need to get tested and use of condoms to prevent reinfection.

5.  Birth control pillsbirth control pill

Taking some birth control drugs can cause intermittent spotting. This can mix with your discharge and come out as brown discharge. This is normal except if it continues and is persistent. You should let your doctor know about it.

6.  Cervical Cancer

Women with cervical cancer do have brown mucus like discharge. Though cervical cancer causes bloody discharge or brown discharge, it occurs as a late symptom of the disease.

7.  Endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer affects women that are more than 40 years and obese. It is cancer of the lining covering the uterus. If not treated early can cause death in women. However, it can be cured by removal of the uterus (hysterectomy), the fallopian tubes and ovaries.


Frequently asked questions about brown stringy discharge

These are some frequently asked questions about brown mucus. Let us know if you have any other symptoms by commenting below.

What causes brown stringy discharge before period?

If you experience brown stringy discharge just before your period, then it is likely because you’re pregnant. During implantation, slight spotting that occurs, can cause this type of discharge.

Should I be worried about my stringy brown discharge before period? No. It is an early pregnancy sign and goes away in a few hours or days.

What causes brown mucus discharge before period?

Brown mucus discharge that occurs before your period is due to pregnancy. It is simply blood mixed with discharge from implantation.

What causes brown mucus discharge during pregnancy?

Are you pregnant? and do you experience any brown discharge during pregnancy? Then you should not get scared yet. Sexual intercourse or any slight vaginal trauma can cause slight spotting that comes out as brown mucus discharge.

However, there are other conditions like threatened miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy that can cause this type of discharge. Because of the risk, any form of bleeding poses to pregnant women, it is always a good idea to let your doctor know about your symptoms.

What causes brown mucus discharge after period?

If you are having a brown mucus discharge after your period, then it is likely normal. If it occurs just after your period, then its likely due to old blood coming out from your womb. This old blood is from endometrial tissues that were not expelled during your period.

Should I be worried? No. It should resolve in few days.

Also, brown stringy discharge a week after your period ends is likely due to ovulation. It normally resolves in a few days too and does not need any treatment.

Is brown stringy discharge an early pregnancy sign?

Yes. If you notice stringy brown discharge while you’re expecting your periods, then it is likely because you are already pregnant. Should I be worried? No. Except you were not expecting or if it continues for days.

Why do I have brown string discharge instead of period?

Some women get very worried and anxious when they see an abnormal discharge that is not white in color. If you are already expecting a baby, then brown stringy discharge is a good sign. It simply means you may be pregnant. You may also experience some other early pregnancy symptoms like abdomen pain and breast pain.

However, if you’re not sure about being pregnant, it is always a good idea to get yourself tested.


Now it is your turn to let us know when you experience your brown discharge. Is it just after your period or before your period? Share your symptoms and story.

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  • Terry Reply

    A lot of stretchy mucus with brown mixture, lower pelvic pain. Hpt negative and blood test negative. Had this day I was suppose to get my period. It last til I wiped 4 times and was gone.

    • Dr Dunn A. Reply

      Likely implantation bleeding or your body preparing for period to start.

  • nonylizer Reply

    I had a brownish mucus discharge that lasted for 72hrs or more before my period. It was so strange n I’ve never experienced such. Wat could dat be?

  • Jennifer Reply

    I have just given birth 5 months ago to a beautiful baby girl. I have had normal regular periods for 3 months since I’ve had her. So my period isn’t due for another 10 days but early this afternoon I went to the bathroom and when I wiped there was just a little bit of very dark brown stringy discharge. Could this be implantation bleeding?

  • Lorrie Reply

    9th of October I had light pink blood only when wiping and a little on a pad, then it stops the same day. The day after completely gone during early day, then late afternoon a little blood and brown stuff. Them I just get brownish little red spotting. I was suppose to start my period today, and only symptoms is lower abdominal cramps and my back hurts.

  • Sami Reply

    On October 4th I started bleeding just think it’s my period but then a day later it’s was dark drown and slimy I had a miscarriage in March I’m very scared I will have another miscarriage

    • Dr. Dunn A. Reply

      Are you Pregnant?

  • sskura Reply

    why i still have brown vaginal discharge after my period .? my period start oct 4 and lasted oct 10. the brown blood discharge still continue. is it normal ?. painful intercourse..

  • Haley R Reply

    Its 2 days after my period and I’m having drown discharge???

  • jessica Reply

    Hi there I would love to hear a response to this..

    I was due for my cycle to begin a couple days ago but tonight I noticed after going to the bathroom dark brown thin stringy discharge, I have no cramping or twinges that I would normally get before my cycle..

    I also checked my cervix and it is high and soft, but not wet. I also did a baking soda test at home and it showed a positive result as it had fizzed like a soda pop instantly -if that means anything lol.

    I would love to hear from anyone with advice to this, Thankyou.

  • Shelby Reply

    I have a cyst on my ovary and I’ve been having brown discharge for about 5 days now? Is the cyst slowly draining or should I get a hpt?

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