Vaginal discharge is a way your body tries to clean out the vaginal area from bacteria and to prevent infection. Most women have accustomed to seeing white or clear stretchy secretion each month, so experiencing a change in discharge color is naturally concerning. Many women experience pink discharge when cervical mucus mixes with a small amount of blood. Well, in most cases, this color discharge is perfectly natural especially during your ovulation. Let’s see.
Table of Contents
- 14 Causes of Light Pink Discharge
- Pink Discharge And Cramping: 10 Possible Conditions
- When to Visit your Gynecologist？
- Abnormal Pink Discharge – What to Do?
14 Causes of Light Pink Discharge
Light pink discharge occurs typically when a small amount of blood is present in your mucus. More often it is just a sign that you are about to begin your period. However, there are some instances when this type of discharge can be a sign of something else. I will list you the most common causes of pink discharge which include:
Pink spotted discharge is often a sign that your period is about to begin. In the early stages of menstruation, the blood may be light and appear pink. Over time, the flow will become more massive. Also, in the case that you have an irregular menstrual cycle, you can notice light pinkish bleeding in any time between periods.
The most common reason why you can notice pink discharge is ovulation. In that period, the follicles of the ovary rupture and release an egg when sticky, milky-white discharge occurs. Sometimes, the egg creates a small hole and cause minor bleeding which typically lasts a few hours at most. There is also a possibility that the increase in hormones around the time of ovulation cause light spotting. Don’t worry; it is nothing to be concerned about.
Pink discharge can be a sign of pregnancy, but it is not a rule. In many cases, the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, hormone activity grows, and the amount of blood which flows to the lining of your uterus increases. That is a reason why you can spot slight bleeding at the moment when implantation occurs.
Keep in mind that you can expect implantation between 8 and 14 days after your ovulation, just before your period. You can easily mix up it with your next period. However, you should be careful even though pink discharge during this period is perfectly normal. If blood is fresh and you see a bright red color, you should talk with your gynecologist to check if this is an indication of the health problem.
4. Birth control
Certain contraceptives, such as birth control pills and IUDs, can cause spotting in the early stages of use. Well, the hormones in these pills will interrupt your body’s natural menstrual cycle, which can cause spotting between your regular periods. This spotting is ordinarily random and last for a while until your body gets used to the hormones. In some cases, it can last up to a few months.
There is also a possibility to see pink secretion if you miss your pill. If the IUDs are a reason for the bleeding, it will last until your body gets used to this foreign object. If you are worried about this bleeding or you are not sure what the cause is, ask your doctor for advice.
5. Bleeding after delivery
Women who have just given birth often experience pink discharge. A significant amount of tissue can sometimes be pushed out of the vagina along with the baby. This type of release will typically occur while the body is healing and can last for several days. You should see your doctor if heavy bleeding continues or severe pain happens after delivery.
6. Bleeding after intercourse
Some women can experience light pink release after intercourse from time to time. It is an unfavorable symptom and the primary causes of it are the disturbed integrity of some vessels, friction during sex, vaginal dryness, and atrophied vaginal mucous lining during menopause.
There is always a possibility that mucous lining of the vagina is injured during extremely rough intercourse or a traumatic case of an act of violence. If that is a case, pink discharge is accompanied by disturbance of the urethral function and acute pain, and this condition requires medical observation.
If you are pregnant and notice light-pink secretion after intercourse, put yourself on alert. Sometimes only a small amount of pink release after sex can be a reason for immediate hospitalization of the future mom because it exposes to danger both the fetus and the pregnant woman.
Unfortunately, pink discharge after intercourse can also be a symptom of oncological pathology. In some cases such as cervical polyps, uterine dysplasia, vaginal tears caused by childbirth, pelvic inflammatory disease, or cervical or endometrial cancer, you have a reason to worry.
In these cases, bleeding is accompanied with other symptoms such as abdominal cramps, watery discharge, and incontinence. The problem is that there are no specific symptoms for any of these diseases. In many cases, it can be a reason for untimely diagnostics.
7. Bleeding during perimenopause
Light pink spotting is pretty usual as you approach the menopause because hormone level changes and affects your periods. Also, it is not unusual that you notice some changes in the amount of flow and the length of your period. Until menopause it is normal, but any vaginal bleeding after that period is abnormal and requires expert’s analysis.
8. Bleeding during menopause
Some women can experience pink discharge after the menopause. If it is a case, you should visit your gynecologist because any kind of vaginal bleeding is considered as abnormal in postmenopausal women. The reasons can be cervical polyps, a drop in estrogen level, or thinning of woman’s vaginal tissue.
9. Mucus plug
There is a possibility that you lose your mucus plug after 36 to 40 weeks of your pregnancy. In that case, you will notice pink or brownish secretion. Don’t worry, softening of the cervix and consequently releasing the mucus plug is perfectly normal before labor.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
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.
Pink Discharge And Cramping: 10 Possible Conditions
In most cases, the pink discharge shouldn’t be a reason for concern. However, sometimes this type of secretion can be an indication that you have a health problem. Let’s see.
1. Ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is not a very common phenomenon, and it occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to someplace outside of the uterus (mostly in the fallopian tube). The woman’s body won’t be unable to support a healthy pregnancy, and you should consider this condition as a life-threatening emergency. If you notice bleeding and various symptoms such as extreme dizziness, occasional abdominal or pelvic pain on one side, and/or fainting, you should visit your doctor right away.
2. Cervical erosion
Your cervix is highly vascular during pregnancy, and a painless pink discharge often accompanies its erosion. This type of mucus can appear before, between and after periods, but it also can occur after sexual intercourse or physical activity.
3. Ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts are usually a regular part of your menstrual cycle, but sometimes too big ovarian cysts or those which rupture can cause pink secretion without any other symptom. In rare cases, you can experience vomiting, nausea, severe abdominal cramping, and/or pain while urinating.
Every bleeding during pregnancy, including pink discharge, can be a clear sign of miscarriage. If it is a reason for this type of secretion, you will notice other symptoms as well including abdominal pain, cramping, and lower back pain.
5. Uterine fibroids
Women who suffer from uterine fibroids inside the uterus’ muscle have irregular pink spotting as the primary symptom. Fibroids usually cause abnormal vaginal bleeding of different intensity. If fibroids are tremendous, bleeding can be heavy with painful periods, problems with bladder control, pelvic pain, and lower back pain.
Infection of the uterus, vagina, ovaries, cervix, or fallopian tubes, rarely cause pink or bloody discharge, but it can happen. Depending on the consistency of the release, you can conclude if your secretion is pus-filled or mucous. You can experience many other possible symptoms such as burning, itching, abdominal pain, fever, and severe cramping. Many women won’t experience any other symptoms except pink secretion. Their occurrence is the reason to visit your doctor and do some tests.
7. Pelvic inflammatory disease
PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease) can cause abnormal discharge along with pink secretion between periods in some cases. If you suffer from this condition, you will notice a foul odor, pelvic and/or abdominal pain, and irregular periods. Talk to your gynecologist, and he will set a proper diagnosis. You need to treat this bacterial infection to prevent infertility and additional complications.
After 45 years of age, every woman is at a higher risk of developing cervical or endometrial cancer. Unusual more massive pink watery discharge may be a sign of this condition, and it often appears in the later stages of cancer. If you have vaginal bleeding during the menopause, make an appointment with your gynecologist.
9. Unknown reasons
Unfortunately, sometimes women can notice bleeding during pregnancy without any apparent reason. According to some studies, one-fourth of pregnant women experience pink discharge or bleeding especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. No one knows the right reason for this. The appropriate examination can help with timely diagnosis.
10. Other health conditions
Sometimes, pink vaginal discharge can be a sign of other health conditions, including kidney and liver diseases, diabetes, blood clotting issues, and more.
When to Visit your Gynecologist？
Many women experience light pink secretion as a part of their regular menstrual cycle, but there are situations when you should go to your doctor and ask for his opinion. You should always consult your gynecologist in various situations when you notice abnormal pink release or vaginal bleeding when you:
- Are pregnant.
- Are in menopause and don’t take any hormone therapy.
- Use postmenopausal cyclic hormone therapy.
- Use hormones for the menopause and experience bleeding more than a half a year after beginning the treatment.
- Worry about your pink discharge or vaginal bleeding no matter what the reason.
Abnormal Pink Discharge – What to Do?
First of all, don’t panic! If you notice an abnormal pink vaginal discharge or bleeding, try to figure out what can be the possible reason (when you have last checked; have you had unprotected intercourse in the last 24 hours; are you in the third trimester of pregnancy, and so on). If the answers are ‘No’, and your secretion increases, make an appointment with your doctor. He will ask you about all possible symptoms you have to determine what the problem is and how to treat it.
Your doctor’s first question will be about the color, smell, and consistency of your discharge and when have you spotted the early symptoms. He will want to know if you have experienced any other symptoms such as itching, pain, and/or burning which are sure signs of sexually transmitted disease.
Be prepared for full examination including a Pap test and taking a sample of the mucus if possible. Your treatment will directly depend on the results obtained. If you have a bacterial infection, the procedure will involve creams and antibiotics. A yeast infection will be treated with antifungal gels and creams. There are various treatments for STDs which depends on the causative agent. And so on…
It is possible that, in some cases, your doctor doesn’t find any disorder. If results of testing show that nothing is wrong, but you still have symptoms, he may decide to order further tests and clear you of possible health concerns.
The woman’s body discharges in average 2-3 grams of mucus every single day. Sometimes it can mix with a small amount of blood, which causes pink discharge. Most women will find that their pink secretion is perfectly normal. This type of release commonly occurs during implantation or at the end of menstruation.
However, if your pink release lasts too long and the mucus has a foul smell or is accompanied by pain, burning and/or itching, you should visit your doctor right away. This situation is not regular and can be a sign of something more serious such as vulvovaginitis, STD, etc.