Health Issues

Brown Stringy Discharge – Causes and Treatment

Outflow usually describes an escaping secretion from the vagina of the woman. This is perfectly normal, but may also indicate disease if it changes.

Also discharge can apear from the urethra and the penis in certain diseases, which should be examined.

What is discharge?

In most cases, the term discharge means a secretion of from the vagina of the woman. This is referred to medically as fluoro genitalis. A daily, small amount of whitish and odorless discharge, also called white-flow, is perfectly normal, with the amount of vaginal discharge varying from woman to woman. In addition, the amount varies as part of the female cycle.

Shortly before ovulation and before the onset of menstruation (menstruation), a greater amount of vaginal discharge develops under the influence of the sex hormone estrogen.

The consistency also changes during the course of the cycle: while the vaginal discharge towards the middle of the cycle is rather transparent and fluid, it becomes more viscous shortly before and after menstruation.

The discharge consists of a fluid, which are formed by cervical glands, and cells of the vaginal mucosa. Because the vaginal discharge contains many lactobacilli which form lactic acid and thus create an acidic environment, it can prevent invading pathogens from multiplying in the vagina. In addition, the discharge ensures that sperm can not penetrate into an unprepared uterus.

Change in discharge

In addition to this healthy, useful vaginal discharge of the woman, however, may also cause a morbid discharge due to various causes. This usually has a different color, a characteristic odor or other accompanying symptoms.

In addition, it can come in the woman to a discharge from the urethra (Urethralfluor) and the man to a discharge from the penis.

Discharge: an indication of chlamydia?

Chlamydia spreads through the vagina, cervix and urethra into the bladder. There may be recurrent abdominal pain and purulent discharge. Burning or painful urination are a common symptom. The bacteria are also able to ascend into the fallopian tube and cause adhesions there. It can even lead to serious ovarian inflammation, which is usually associated with fever and severe pain in the abdomen. Chlamydia must be treated with antibiotics. If you notice the above symptoms, you should seek medical attention.

It may be disturbing to notice brown discharge in underwear or while wiping. Cervical mucus usually changes its consistency throughout the cycle, from creamy white to clear and stretchy. But brown discharge can be surprising, especially when the menstrual period is not taking place. The good news: in most cases, brown discharge is normal and there is no need to worry.

Outflow consists of vaginal secretions and is a normal process of the body, which usually begins shortly before the onset of puberty and occurs until the menopause. Usually the discharge is colorless or white and odorless.

Depending on where you are in the cycle, the outflow may change in consistency, appearance or smell. Uncertainty, however, widens when it comes to a brown outflow.

Shortly before the onset of menstruation, this is not so rare and relatively normal. The known spotting can be an indication of a yellow body weakness. This is basically nothing to worry about. Just then, however, if you would like to have a child, this should be controlled, because the yellow body is important to keep the pregnancy. Your gynecologist may prescribe supportive medications such as progesterone for this case.

Other causes of brown discharge

However, brown discharge may have other causes and may indicate a disease. If the brown discharge only occurs once, you need not worry about it. However, if you suffer more often, then you should contact your gynecologist.

Possible causes are:

  • Pregnancy: Brown discharge may be due to hormonal changes during the first weeks of pregnancy.
  • Benign growths in the uterus: Small growths, such as fibroids or polyps, can also trigger a brown discharge.
  • HPV viruses: An infection with HPV viruses may be responsible for the brown discharge. The viruses are considered as a possible trigger for the development of cervical cancer. A timely smear can be so important.
  • Fungal Disease: In the vaginal milieu, fungi can multiply very well and cause brown discharge with an unpleasant odor.

The gynecologist has various options to find out what causes the brown discharge. Smears, blood tests and urine tests give quick information.

Brownish discharge: indication for pregnancy

Brown discharge may already be an indication of pregnancy. Surely you have been surprised at some point by an intermenstrual bleeding. This can take on a brownish color, is much less strong than the normal menstrual period and usually has quite harmless causes. The reason for the discoloration is that it is “old” blood that has already been broken down. But especially at the beginning of a pregnancy brown discharge occurs more often. This results from the implantation of the fertilized egg cell and is called ovarian bleeding.

Therefore, it may come in the days after such an outflow. Often, this is noticeable. If you suspect that you may be pregnant anyway, this may be another clue!

Brown discharge in early pregnancy

Not only directly after the implantation, there may be a brown discharge, but also during early pregnancy, ie in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.

This also has a very simple reason: Because now that your period is absent, the body begins to break down old tissue and remnants of old menstrual bleeding.

A slight brownish discharge during pregnancy is therefore quite normal and no cause for panic, as long as it subsides after 10 to 14 days and causes no pain. If the brown discharge occurs a week after ovulation, there may be a nidation bleeding.

In the process, a fertilized ovum nests in the mucous membrane of the uterus and dissolves a bleeding. This Nidationsblutung indicates thus a pregnancy.

With which symptoms should you go to the doctor?

In most cases you do not have to worry about the brownish discharge during pregnancy. However, if it lasts longer than two weeks, becomes stronger, smells funny or is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain or itching, you should definitely consult your doctor.

Possible causes of the outflow can be:

  • fungal infection
  • venereal disease
  • blood blister
  • miscarriage
  • ectopic pregnancy
  • inflammation

You should therefore pay close attention to whether the brown discharge brings with it any side effects. Miscarriage CAN be the cause of this bleeding, but in most cases is more likely to be red blood. So do not panic!

On the other hand, a vaginal fungus is much more likely, as pregnant women are ten times more likely to develop such a fungal infection.

Brown discharge: underlying diseases and treatment options

Fluor vaginalis, the vaginal discharge, is completely normal. It starts in girls before puberty and continues until menopause, during ovulation and pregnancy it is stronger. But what about brown discharge? First of all, the body disposes of excess mucus from the uterus and cells. Lactic acid bacteria in the outflow keep harmful pathogens away.

Normal discharge is transparent to white, during ovulation it looks glassier. In the period it can turn reddish. If the discharge takes on a brown color, then it shows an altered flora in the vagina. This may be due to a pregnancy, but also to a disease. If the vaginal discharge is due to a vaginal infection, suppositories from the pharmacy can help.

The most common causes of a brownish discharge are hormone fluctuations or infections, as well as changes in the tissue or drugs are triggers in question.

If the brown discharge occurs a week after ovulation, there may be a nidation bleeding. In the process, a fertilized ovum nests in the mucous membrane of the uterus and dissolves a bleeding. This Nidationsblutung indicates thus a pregnancy.


During ovulation, the discharge also sometimes takes on a brown color. The cause is a spotting as a result of a reduced estrogen level. This bleeding is considerably weaker than menstruation.

During pregnancy and menopause, estrogen levels can also fluctuate, which also causes spotting and discolored discharge. This also applies to contraceptive rings, the pill or hormonal spirals.


In the first three months of pregnancy there is often brown discharge. There may be a lack of progesterone here.

This yellow body hormone prevents a new egg from forming and slows down the expansion of the lining of the uterus. This means the period continues even though the woman is pregnant.


Injuries within the abdomen, in the uterine lining or vaginal wall, can cause bleeding that appears as a brownish discharge. This is especially the case in pregnancy, because the veins are supplied with extra blood.

But also gynecological examinations or sports can cause such injuries.


Infections are manifested not only by discolored discharge, but also by burning pain, itching, traces of blood and especially by an unpleasant odor that, depending on the disease, smells of fish or decay. The most common infections that cause such foul-smelling discharge are venereal diseases such as gonococcal or chlamydia.

Also, fungi such as Candida albicans or viruses such as herpes simplex or papillomaviruses can trigger such inflammation.

Mental problems

Stress and mental stress have an effect on the cycle and thus on vaginal discharge.


When a woman has brownish fluid from the vagina, she usually notices it herself. The gynecologist or doctor can diagnoses the cause. She scans the inner walls of the vagina and the uterus, she takes smears, urine and blood tests. For the possible pathogens, these procedures are very effective and will soon deliver results.

Injuries or proliferating tissue are usually easy to detect. Blood and urine tests indicate hormone fluctuations that could be a possible cause.


If the vaginal environment is impaired, for example by a fungus, then a lactic acid therapy helps to restore the acidic environment.

The cure takes place with vaginal suppositories or ointments, which can be acquired without prescription in the pharmacy. Bacteria and viruses can be killed and contained with medication.

Do you have to go to the doctor?

If you have a little brownish discharge, you do not have to go to the doctor right away. Mostly the cause is a “normal” hormone fluctuation. However, you should go to the doctor if:

  • the discharge smells bad
  • he lasts for several days without there being a recognizable reason
  • the vagina region hurts,
  • You are pregnant,
  • the discolorations are particularly intense,
  • Shaving vagina and labia,
  • fresh blood or blood clots are in the discharge.

Self-treatment with brown discharge

1) In case of heavy discharge, use pads instead of tampons.

2) You should cleanse your vagina with pH neutral agents.

3) You should not take a shower in the genital area, because this can cause air in the vagina.

4) You can wear airy cotton clothing and underwear that promotes oxygen exchange, thus counteracting the proliferation of bacteria.