Red discharge, or reddish brown discharge, is pretty difficult to diagnose. The primary cause of this type of secretion is often dried menstrual blood, but there can be many other causes as well.
If your regular secretion mixes with blood from the wall of your cervix, uterus, and (or) vagina for some reason, it will turn red. Regardless of color change, if there is no change in texture and smell of your secretion, you shouldn’t worry; it is nothing serious.
Table of Contents
- 15 Causes of Red Discharge
- Red Discharge Concerns
15 Causes of Red Discharge
The possible causes of the red discharge you have are various. I will list the most often for you.
1 – Ovulation
Women often experience red discharge in the middle of their regular menstrual cycle. While you ovulate, level of hormones will increase and lead to the shedding of a small part of your uterine lining. That shedding, in combination with the old blood from the previous period, will cause an appearance of red discharge. The good news is that this secretion is perfectly normal and lasts only a few hours.
2 – Pregnancy
If you try to get pregnant and notice red discharge before your regular period starts, maybe that’s it. There is a possibility that red secretion is actually implantation bleeding which is considered as one of the first signs that you will become a mom!
And that discharge occurs at the moment when a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus. Consequently, endometrium releases a small amount of blood which goes through your cervix and vagina. This process can take a few days, and this blood will lose oxygen which leads to color change. That’s why you will see a reddish brown secretion as a result of that process.
You should know that implementation bleeding happens in one out of three women. Most women don’t realize they have any bleeding, or they believe it is just a small trickle of blood – which is often true. If you notice increases volume and frequency of your release as well as swelling and pain of your breasts in the same time, congratulation! You will be a mom for sure, but there is no point to do a pregnancy test in that period since it is so early.
3 – Menopause
Most women will go through menopause between 45 and 55 years old when their menstrual cycles end. It is a natural phenomenon which represents the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is also a time when their painful, bloody periods will cease. These reproductive changes are a result of the dramatic fall in estrogen production in the woman’s body. All that hormonal disturbances will cause red discharge from time to time.
4 – A Rough Intercourse
It is not rare that you notice reddish secretion after a little bit of rougher sex due to forceful vaginal entry. Unfortunately, the same thing will happen after rape. In both cases, a force or dryness of your vagina will lead to trauma of the cervix and (or) vaginal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8UWOuOjZ-4epithelium. The result will be some red discharge or bleeding. It can take a few hours or even several days until the recovery of the mucous membranes.
5 – Birth Control Pills and IUDs
If you try to avoid pregnancy, you will probably use birth control pills or IUDs. Be aware that some types of them will cause reddish-brown vaginal secretion within the first three to six months of use.
The fact that you experience a red secretion is nothing serious, and you don’t need to worry. Contraceptive just changes a typical production of hormones which can lead to the shedding of your uterine lining. As a result, you will experience an unexpected period of the menstrual cycle.
If you use an IUD to help stop pregnancy, there is a chance that your body will reject the device. The process of rejection may result in bleeding or irritation. If the problem persists, you need to contact your doctor and discuss your issue.
6 – Old Blood
Your body works to expel all the blood inside of the uterus when you have your menstrual cycle. Often, it happens that some blood doesn’t leave your vagina, but dries, and changes its color during the time. That dried blood is usually brown, and after mixes with your regular discharge, it turns red. The older the blood, the darker red it will become. Most of the women will experience this phenomenon a few days after their period or around the time of ovulation.
7 – Ovarian Cysts
Unfortunately, the most women experience ovarian cysts during their lifetime. Most of them are not a cause for concern, but in rare cases, this condition will require adequate medical treatment. Pretty often, there are no symptoms that something is wrong. That’s why a routine pelvic exam is so essential in the discovery of a cyst.
On the other hand, some women have various symptoms including vomiting, bloating, painful sex and painful bowel movements. In some cases, a brownish-red discharge appears as a symptom of this condition. The most dangerous is a situation when this ovarian cyst ruptures, and in such a case you should visit your gynecologist right away.
8 – Bleeding Disorders
A bleeding disorder is a condition when your blood can’t clot adequately. In that case, you can expect prolonged and (or) excessive bleeding. When blood mixes with the normal secretion, red discharge can occur.
9 – Uterine Polyps
If a woman suffers from abnormal growth in their cervix, she can notice red vaginal discharge and even bleeding after intercourse. The only way to diagnose this condition is to go to regular medical examinations of your cervix and uterus. Don’t worry; your gynecologist can remove polyps during surgery.
10 – Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids can be a pretty common cause of abnormal bleeding, especially in very young women. Well, released blood can mix with your regular secretion and change its color to red. Except for red discharge, women with uterine fibroids can experience irregular periods, swelling of their abdomen and difficulties during urination.
The only way to get rid of this issue is myomectomy (adequate surgical treatment for removing fibroids from the uterus). Depending on the type of fibroid, sometimes the hysterectomy (a procedure of removing the uterus) is the only option, especially for older women.
11 – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease) is a severe infection of the upper genital tract (ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes). Bacteria which are responsible for several sexually transmitted infections are the common cause for this infection too. One of the primary symptoms is red vaginal discharge.
12 – Ectopic Pregnancy
In the case when a PID infection damages woman’s fallopian tube, the fertilized egg can be implanted outside of the uterus which will lead to ectopic pregnancy. This condition can cause slight bleeding. After blood mix with the vaginal discharge, a woman can notice a brownish-red discharge. Keep in mind that ectopic pregnancy requires urgent treatment.
13 – Gonorrhea
In some cases, Gonorrhea can cause red (bloody) discharge. Except this, if you have a problem with this STD, you will suffer some other symptoms including pain during urination and painful bowel movements. If you suspect that you have a problem with this issue, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
14 – Cervical Cancer
Women who have cervical cancer may notice at a later stage of a disease a red (bloody) discharge among other symptoms (pain during urination, pelvic and back pain, and weight loss). Even though this type of cancer is not a common cause of red vaginal discharge, you should visit your doctor immediately if you suspect that you could have this medical condition.
15 – Endometrial Cancer
Unfortunately, many women over forty years are at risk of getting endometrial cancer. In almost all cases of this type of cancer, when it develops in the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium), women will experience bleeding and consequential red (bloody) discharge.
Also, symptoms such as pain during intercourse and urination can occur. The only method for a sure diagnosis is an endometrial biopsy (taking and testing a sample from the endometrium). In the early stages, treatment is possible and implies uterus removal.
Red Discharge Concerns
Red discharge that goes away in a few hours is not a cause for concern, but there are situations when you should worry if you experience this type of release. You need to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist if:
- Red discharge persists for several days
- You experience pain, itching or burning along with the abnormal discharge
- Fever or nausea
- You develop a rash
- You spot blood when it is not the time for your regular period
All future moms who experience a more significant amount of red secretion should contact their doctor right away due to the possibility that it is a sign of early miscarriage. The timely reaction can help stop a miscarriage from continuing.
You already know that vaginal discharge is a regular occurrence which protects your vagina from bacteria and other unhealthy organisms. When you notice red or reddish-brown secretion, you should determine whether this phenomenon is a reason for concern. Since the reason for the red release is always the presence of blood, be careful and consult your doctor if you suspect that you have a severe issue.