I believe that you love your little black dress and your favorite pair of black heels, but when it comes to bodily fluids, black is the last color you want to see. What happens if your normally-clear discharge suddenly shows up black? Should you head straight to the emergency room? Let’s see.
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What Can Turn Your Discharge Black?
Black secretion can be a common phenomenon a few days before your period when it indicates normal blood flow. Also, it can regularly occur few days after your period because of some extra blood in your uterus.
In all other circumstances, especially in the middle of your menstrual cycle, this type of discharge almost always indicates different issues with your vagina and/or the cervix. There is a full spectrum of causes, from a foreign object to cervical cancer, which can be a reason why your vaginal release suddenly changes its color. Let’s face the most common causes of black vaginal secretion.
1 – A foreign body
Believe or not, a foreign body which slips off and hides in the vagina is one of the leading causes of black discharge. Usually, it is about tampons, medications delivered through the vagina, condoms, beads, marbles, and vaginal suppositories. When they stay there too long, consequently a pretty distinct, foul smell and black or dark brown discharge appear.
Along with dark discharge, you may also experience acute abdominal pain, muscular discomfort in the vagina, fever, painful urination, toxic shock syndrome, or even various severe complications. In rare cases, the foreign body can produce a systemic infection when the immune system is severely compromised or when there is a perforation through the vaginal wall and consequential secondary infection.
If any foreign object has been left in long enough to cause black discharge, you will probably need a doctor to remove it. He will identify the object and its location and most likely you won’t need to get any surgical intervention. The discharge will stop very soon after your gynecologist removes the foreign object from your vagina. Every delay of action can result in various infections and possible complications which will require further more aggressive treatment.
2 – Implantation
If a menstrual period is delayed and you still suffer black vaginal discharge, maybe it appears due to the implantation process. In 30% of all pregnancies pink discharge (implantation bleeding) appears during the egg attachment. In fact, it is the most common symptom after implantation. But, if blood stays in the uterus for a while for some reason, it may mix with your discharge and appear black or very dark brown.
Implantation occurs between 6 and 12 days after an egg is fertilized, and for some women, discharge is one of the first signs of pregnancy. During this time, the egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. As the egg burrows, it can cause some bleeding. In most cases, only small amounts of blood are released, but even a tiny quantity of it can turn discharge black.
If you suspect conception and this type of discharge occurs, but your test is negative, visit your gynecologist because there is a possibility of miscarriage, the premature placental abruption, or an ectopic pregnancy
3 – End of your period
At the end of your period, you may notice some brown blood. Don’t worry; it is the old blood that has taken a while to move through the body. Occasionally, old period blood may linger in the uterus long enough to mix with your normal discharge and turn black.
In any case, while the discharge appears shortly after your period, you don’t need to worry. You should start to worry about it if the dark-colored discharge sticks around for more than a few days. In that case, something else, probably more severe, is likely the cause of your black secretion.
4 – Retained menses
Although retained menses is not a common condition, it may be the cause of black discharge. Retained menses occurs when menstrual blood from the previous cycle is kept in the uterus and cannot exit the body. The most common causes of retained menses are uterine incapacity or a hymen that wholly or partially covers the vagina. In these cases, when menstruation occurs, the blood cannot exit through the vagina. As a consequence, you can see cervical mucus with the leftover blood expelled weeks after or before your period.
5 – Miscarriage
Miscarriage is a concern for every pregnant woman, but many women don’t even know they have had a miscarriage because it occurs early in the pregnancy. In some cases, the loss of the pregnancy can occur around the same time the woman expects the next period.
A miscarriage includes a baby loss, death of an unborn child, or a spontaneous abortion during the first 24 weeks. Many women in the first trimester are unaware of pregnancy until they spot an abnormal, heavy, clotted, dark vaginal bleeding followed by the foul odor and some tissues.
If there are no complications, all of the products of unsuccessful conception will eject from the woman’s body. But, sometimes, they can be retained because dilation doesn’t occur to allow ejection of all products of conception. This condition is considered a ‘missed abortion‘. If abdominal cramping and lower back pain follow black blood, you should talk with your gynecologist because all these symptoms are probably signs of miscarriage.
6 – Stress
Just a few women think of stress when they detect a black secretion. However, stress can easily disrupt the female menstrual cycle and very often cause a dark brown, even black discharge. The reason is the release of stress hormone Cortisol into the blood, which will actually help you cope with too much stress, but it affects the production of hormones such as Progesterone and Estrogen in the same time and causes a problem
7 – Emergency contraception
Yes, the ‘morning-after’ pill can be a reason why you notice black-brown discharge between two of your regular periods or during the period.
8 – Cervical stenosis
Cervical stenosis is a serious problem that occurs in older women and can cause black discharge. Basically, it is the narrowing of the cervix, which can obstruct or drastically slow the flow of menstrual blood. There are a few more anatomical abnormalities which can also cause similar results. Most of these abnormalities are present at birth, and may not be treatable.
9 – Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a painful disorder which occurs when endometrium (uterine tissue) grows outside your uterus, usually around the ovaries, fallopian tube, pelvis tissue, or even beyond pelvic organs. In these cases, the tissues outside your uterus keep thick black blood in your reproductive organs. This stuck old blood can mix with cervical secretion and create a grainy black discharge followed by constant pain in lower abdomen, pelvic pain, and prolonged, painful period.
10 – Ovarian cyst
Ovarian cysts sometimes develop on the female ovary. They are pretty standard and usually don’t cause any symptoms, but when ruptures, this condition can lead to a thicker reddish-black discharge. This secretion is actually residual blood from the place where the cyst was settled. This state is very serious, and in such a case you should visit your gynecologist right away.
11 – PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
If the discharge has a foul odor, one of the reasons can be the Pelvic inflammatory disease. It is an infection of the upper part of the women’s genital tract (ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes). Unfortunately, women with an intrauterine device (IUD) are at high risk of having PID. The most common symptoms of PID are pretty thick black discharge, pain in lower abdomen, bleeding, painful urination, painful sex, heavy and painful periods, and, in some cases, a fever.
12 – Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
STDs (Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea, Herpes, and Bacterial Vaginosis) are also mostly responsible for the abnormal black vaginal discharge. Depending on the type of bacteria, your secretion can be differently colored (not only black). Keep in mind that in all cases of STD, itch and odor follow abnormal secretion.
13 – Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is the most dangerous cause of black secretion. This type of cancer spreads slowly of the narrow lower end of the uterus. It begins with a precancerous symptom – dysplasia, a foul odor, and secretion which is not necessarily black but occurs after intercourse, between periods and/or after menopause. It is essential to detect this type of cancer as soon as possible by Pap test and regular gynecological examination. If you leave it undetected, it will begin to metastasize to other organs.
14 – Others causes
Black vaginal discharge can also appear as a consequence of yeast infection, pelvic infection after surgery, vulvitis, cervicitis (inflammation of the lower end of the uterus – cervix), vaginitis, salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes), and many other conditions.
When to See a Doctor?
It is probably clear to you that it is unlikely that a black discharge is a normal phenomenon. In the most cases, it is just old blood being expelled from the body, but there are too many situations when it may be a sign of something much more severe. That is the reason why you should discuss with your doctor right away if you notice sudden changes in your discharge color and one or more of the following symptoms:
- The black discharge is excessive and lasts more than two to three days
- Abdominal pain or tingling in your abdomen
- Back pain
- General malaise
- Itching or burning in the vaginal area
- The black secretion after menopause
- The black secretion after every intercourse
- Dryness of your vagina
- Occasional black discharge during more than three months after you started to intake hormonal medications
- Sudden increasing of black vaginal discharge frequency
Generally, you don’t need to worry too much if the discharge occurs just before or after your period. It is merely old blood which your body expels after a specific time. But if the release appears between periods, it may be a sign of something more serious.
What to Do About Black Discharge?
You need to visit your doctor right away and let him determine what causes your dark secretion and what you should do about it. Anyway, it is evident that the treatment of the black discharge depends on the primary cause. Treat the cause, and you will get rid of unpleasant release as well.
- If it is about the foreign body in your vagina, you should go to your gynecologist who will remove it out.
- If you are pregnant, there is a high possibility that black secretion is a sign that something is very wrong and you should ask your doctor for advice.
- Black discharge caused by the sexually transmitted disease will stop after you treat the primary infection.
- Cervical cancer as a reason behind black secretion needs to be cured by aggressive treatments (chemotherapy or radiation therapy).
- Find a way to reduce stressful lifestyle or to solve the stress problem using one of the alternative ways or medication.
- The location of the stenosis is crucial in choosing treatment for cervical stenosis. Your doctor may prescribe you some medicines, physical therapy, steroid injections, decompression procedure, but sometimes the surgery is the only remaining option.
- Endometriosis is the condition which demands medications, hormone therapy, and/or conservative surgery.
- Birth control pills, laparoscopy, and laparotomy are solutions for your problems with an ovarian cyst.
- If you have a problem with pelvic inflammatory disease, antibiotics are the only reliable choice.
How to Maintain Your Healthy Lifestyle?
There is no way to treat discharge itself, but you can take steps to ensure that your reproductive system stays healthy.
1 – Healthy food
Keep in mind that eating a balanced diet, which includes a variety of foods rich in calcium and magnesium, can help you stay healthy. A healthy lifestyle will keep your reproductive system in tip-top shape. It will be an excellent decision to schedule an appointment with your doctor or an eminent nutritionist about finding a diet that will fit you the best. I will give you a list of foods which will keep your reproductive system healthy and clean:
- Sesame seeds
- Leafy green vegetables
2 – Home remedies
If you suffer from black discharge, you should talk to your gynecologist and get treatment for the primary disease. At the same time, you should try to help yourself and make your symptoms easier using some useful home remedies.
If the menstrual issue is a reason for your black discharge, you can use carrot, parsley juice, beetroot, and cucumber juice to get rid of it and to regulate your period as well. If stress causes your black secretion, start with yoga exercise and restore your regular reproductive organs’ function.
3 – Physical activity
Along with a healthy diet, you also need to make sure that you stay active. Exercise minimum three times a week to keep your body in good shape and try to spend time outdoors to get enough vitamin D.
4 – Have orgasm regularly
Having orgasms during regular intercourse causes the release of healthy hormones and adequate uterine contractions which not only help your body relax but also help detoxify it. The more orgasms you have, the more your uterus has contractions after intercourse which allows throwing trapped old blood out from your uterus.
If you try to think better, you will realize that orgasm is probably the most attractive way to keep your body healthy. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of sex to relieve stress, sleep well at night, or entirely feel better?
All in all, black discharge is almost always a reason for concern, except in the case when your body tries to get rid of old blood trapped in your uterus. When you notice excessive black secretion from your vagina which lasts for more than a few days and don’t have a clue what the cause can be, you should make an appointment and consult your gynecologist.
He will examine you, take appropriate tests and vaginal swabs, and identify a reason for the black discharge you have. Don’t try to treat yourself! It is more secure and reliable to let the professional comes up with an adequate treatment plan.