Pink Discharge: Is Yours Normal? (Causes, Complications, Solutions Explained)

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Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of cleaning out the vaginal area and preventing infection. Most women have grown accustomed to seeing white or clear stretchy discharge each month, so seeing a change in discharge color is naturally concerning. Many women experience pink discharge and wonder if they should see their gynecologists, but in most cases, this color discharge is perfectly natural.

 

What Causes Pink Discharge?

Light pink discharge normally occurs when a small amount of blood is present in the discharge. More often than not, it’s just a sign that a woman is about to begin her period. However, there are some instances when this color discharge can be a sign of something else.

Pink discharge on white backdrop.
Source

The most common causes of pink discharge include:

  • Menstruation: Pink spotted discharge is often a sign that a woman’s period is about to begin. In the early stages of menstruation, the blood may be light and appear pink in color. Over time, the flow will become heavier.
  • Ovulation: During ovulation, the follicles of the ovary rupture and release an egg. Sometimes, that egg can create a small hole and cause minor bleeding. Bleeding typically only lasts a few hours at most. Sometimes, the increase in hormones around the time of ovulation can also cause light spotting, and is nothing to be concerned about.
  • Birth control: Certain contraceptives, such as birth control pills and IUDs, can cause spotting in the early stages of use. What happens is the hormones in these contraceptives will interrupt your body’s natural cycle, which can cause spotting in between periods. IUDs can also cause bleeding as the body gets used to this foreign object. Spotting is normally random if contraceptives are the cause.
  • Bleeding after birth: Women who have just given birth often experience pink discharge. A large amount of tissue can sometimes be pushed out of the vagina along with the baby. This type of discharge will normally occur while the body is healing and can last for several days.

Pink Discharge Complications

In most cases, pink discharge is no cause for concern. However, it can be an indication of an underlying health condition, such as:

  • Infection

Vaginal infections often cause bloody discharge. The consistency of the discharge will let you know whether it is pus-filled or mucous. Other symptoms, such as burning, itching and pain, will also be present.

Endometrial inflammations can cause pink-colored discharge. Some women may experience a fever and severe cramping along with the spotting, while others will experience no other symptoms.

  • Cancer

Women who are 45 years and older are at a greater risk of developing cervical or endometrial cancer. Pink discharge may be a sign of this condition, and it often appears in the later stages of cancer.

  • 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.

  • Ectopic Pregnancy

A review of ectopic pregnancy.
Source

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to someplace outside of the uterus. As such, the body will be unable to support a normal pregnancy. Many women experience pink vaginal discharge and will miss their periods with an ectopic pregnancy. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Ectopic pregnancies can pose serious health risks.

  • Cervical Erosion

Erosion of the cervix is often accompanied by painless pink discharge. The mucus appears before, between and after periods. Sometimes, it may also occur after sexual intercourse or physical activity.

Abnormal Discharge – What to Do Next

If you are experiencing abnormal pink vaginal discharge, the first step is to see your gynecologist. He or she will ask you questions about your symptoms and take a thorough medical history to try and determine what the problem is.

The doctor will ask you about the color of the discharge, when it started happening and if it had a foul smell. You will also be asked if you experienced any other symptoms, such as itching, pain or burning. These can be signs of a sexually transmitted disease. During your exam, the gynecologist will do a Pap test or take a sample of the discharge if possible.

Treatment will depend on the cause of the discharge. A bacterial infection may be treated with creams or antibiotics, while a yeast infection will be treated with an antifungal gel or cream. STDs will each have their own unique treatments. In some cases, your doctor may find nothing wrong and will either order further tests or clear you of possible health concerns.

Pink Discharge Before Period

When pink discharge occurs before a period, it may be a sign of pregnancy. After the egg is fertilized, it attaches to lining of the uterus. During this time, hormone activity increases and more blood flows to the lining of the uterus. Right when implantation occurs, slight bleeding may also occur.

Of course, pink discharge is not always a sign of pregnancy. Many women experience a light pink discharge or some spotting before their periods begin.

If you are trying to get pregnant or worried that you might be, you may mistake this discharge for implantation bleeding. However, vaginal discharge before a period is perfectly normal, and implantation would occur 6-12 days after ovulation.

What Color Is Implantation Bleeding?

When implantation occurs, women may experience brown or light pink spotting. When the egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, minor bleeding may occur. This blood will take some time to pass through the body and out of the vagina. As the blood ages, it turns brown or fades to a light pink color.

Only rarely is implantation bleeding a bright red color. When blood is a bright, rich color of red, it means that it’s fresh. In the case of implantation, this color could be an indication that something is wrong.

Most women will find that their pink discharge is perfectly normal. The pink color is simply an indication that blood is mixed in with the mucus. This type of discharge commonly occurs during implantation or the onset of menstruation. However, if the mucus has a foul smell or is accompanied by pain, burning and/or itching, see your doctor right away as this could be a sign of something more serious.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I was suppose to start my period a week ago instead i only had very light pink smear on toilet paper n only when i peed ive never had this happen n i havent had sex in months i have no energy i feel exhausted idk what it is can someone tell me

  2. I am 39 years old and have already had a tubal 15 years ago and had a DNC maybe 6 or 7 years ago. For the past 2 months I have had a very light pinkish bleeding between my periods. Is this part of menopause? Or could it be cervical cancer? It is not painful in any way but am a little concerned.

  3. ‘m almost 19 and I’ve had irregular periods since I was 13. I get mine every 6-9 months and 2 in one month. I was really underweight but now I’m not. I have a UTI at the moment. The last 3 or so days I’ve been spotting pink and yesterday there was blood in my underwear and a little in a pad. I haven’t bled at all since then. I am sexually active and haven’t used protection.
    What’s going on?

  4. I am on the implant birth control for almost 2 years and I had my period 2 weeks ago and now I’ve been having a pink mucousy discharge, no smell, and have been cramping. Can anyone tell me if I should be concerned??

    • I am on the Nexplanon implant and have the exact same thing, my period was 2 weeks ago and I had sex a week ago and I’m so concerned

  5. I have been on the implant for two years. I haven’t had my period since. The last couple weeks I have been having awkwardly belly discomfort and I’ve started to bleed. First it started off with light pink then brown and now it’s bright red. I’ve had a pregnancy test done at the hospital and it was negative. I’m stuck!

  6. I have the nexplanon implant and have had it for about two years. The first few times we’ve had sex I didn’t hurt after but as the next few times went on I noticed that I was getting sore and I had slight tears along the beginning of my vagina. Then the next day I started to have discharge that was white and had smallish clumps. The next day after that I had sex again and then now I’ve been experiencing pink discharge, pain around my vagina, and when I try to insert anything. An STI or just something small that I can wait a few days and it will heal on its own?

  7. I’m 26 years old, had a baby and he is 6 years old now. Lately, I have been having pink bloody discharge and I already had my pms last week. I thought it was due to my intense weight lifting but this morning I had nausea and threw up! My period was not normal either! I already talked to my dr and she always say its normal but it does not feel like it is! Anyone?

  8. A discharge starts to look brown when the discharge has been traced with some of the end old blood that took a bit longer to pass from the uterus. As the blood gets older, it starts to turn brown.

  9. I’ve had a iud for almost 6 months and have had brown discharge seance and ik that’s normal but I havint had one period and I have been having light pink discharge for 3 days and this is the first time could I be pregnant??

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