The Cause Behind Brown Discharge Before a Period

When you see brown discharge, you may feel distressed. But no worries, brown discharge is usually harmless and there are many reasons why it may happen in the first place. Sometimes brown discharge can be an indication of pregnancy or perimenopause. Very rarely is brown discharge an indication of an underlying health condition.

Below we will look at the various causes for brown discharge and when it is time to see a doctor.

What is Brown Discharge?

Women have vaginal discharge on a relatively normal basis. Usually, vaginal discharge is thin and clear or white in color. When the vaginal discharge is brown it indicates that there is a small amount of old blood. If there is blood still in the uterus and it takes a longer time to come out, it may be brown.

Non-Pregnant Women

If you have brown discharge while you are not pregnant you may be experiencing the start of your period just at a lighter flow or ovulation spotting. You may also be having a reaction to a Pap smear test or a reaction to having sex.

Pregnant Women

If you happen to be pregnant, pink or brown discharge is sometimes an early sign of pregnancy. Not every pregnant woman will experience this symptom, but it does occur in a few women. The discharge occurs due to implantation bleeding. The bleeding may occur one to two weeks after the egg has been fertilized. Brown discharge during your pregnancy isn’t anything to be concerned over, but if the discharge is a dark brown, be sure to speak with a doctor.

Approaching Menopause

For women who are approaching their 40s or 50s and experiencing brown discharge before their period, it may be a sign of perimenopause. Perimenopause is a transition period that happens before menopause begins. Along with brown discharge, women may be experiencing mood swings, hot flushes, night sweats, a hard time sleeping, and vaginal dryness.

Serious Causes of Brown Discharge

There are a few other more serious causes of brown discharge and can occur at any age and will be accompanied by other symptoms. Pelvic inflammatory disease, a sexually transmitted disease, a retained foreign body (tampons, condoms, vaginal contraceptive sponges, diaphragms, etc.), polycystic ovary syndrome, and cervical cancer.

When to See a Doctor

As mentioned before, brown discharge isn’t something you usually have to worry about. Although it can be a symptom of something more serious, it won’t require you to go to the doctor. However, if you are experiencing brown discharge that continues for several weeks, happens after sex, smells bad, is accompanied by pain, cramping, or vaginal itching.

What Is Amenorrhea?

A woman’s menstrual cycle is stressful enough without complications. However, there are many factors that can interrupt or change a regular cycle. Here’s what you need to know about what amenorrhea is, how it’s caused, and its treatments. The more knowledge you have about its causes, symptoms, and treatments, the more prepared you’ll be if it happens to you. 

Put simply, amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding in a woman who is of reproductive age. There are two different types of this condition, primary and secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea occurs when girls over age 15 have never had their period. Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman who previously had regular periods does not menstruate for over six months. 

Causes and Risk Factors

There are a variety of factors than can contribute to the onset of this condition, including:

  • Obesity
  • Less than 17% body fat
  • Leptin deficiencies
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Overactive thyroid glands
  • Extreme emotional distress
  • Excessive exercise
  • The use of some contraceptives
  • The use of some medications
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatments
  • Scar tissue in the uterus
  • Genetic defects

Symptoms of Amenorrhea

While the main symptom is the lack of a period, there are other factors that can occur. If you think you may have this condition, consult with a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The following symptoms may occur due to amenorrhea:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Changes in breast size
  • Milky discharge from breasts
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Increase in facial hair growth
  • Headaches and vision changes
  • Pelvic pain

Diagnosis and Treatment

Consulting a doctor should always be the first step whenever you feel you have a condition or illness. Be open and honest about your symptoms so they can properly determine the condition, cause, and then prescribe a treatment plan. Doctors and medical professionals will typically perform tests to check hormone levels or genetic markers and may perform pelvic ultrasounds, MRIs, or a CT scan. 

Treatment will depend entirely upon the root cause of amenorrhea, but may include medication, surgery, lifestyle changes, or a combination of several. Taking steps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight may be a suggestion if obesity or low body fat is a cause. Medical treatments could include a change in birth control, estrogen replacement therapy, or removal of scar tissue.

What is Postpartum Depression

Childbirth can be an emotional experience for new parents. As you settle in with your bundle of joy, you might encounter something unexpected – depression. Postpartum depression is often left undiscussed but affects many parents. What separates this from postpartum “baby blues”? Sometimes a rare but more severe condition called postpartum psychosis can develop. 

Defining Postpartum Depression

By definition by the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women and birthing parents after childbirth. New parents often experience “baby blues” after childbirth, where they might experience mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. The symptoms of postpartum depression may be similar but tend to be more severe and last longer, sometimes interfering with your ability to care for your baby and complete other daily tasks.  

Symptoms

Parents can experience depressed mood or severe mood swings, excessive crying, and difficulty bonding with their baby. Other common symptoms include changes in appetite, social withdrawal, and sleep disturbances. Symptoms will usually begin within the first few weeks after giving birth but may begin earlier (during pregnancy) or later, up to a year after birth. More severe symptoms may occur, such as thoughts of harming oneself or the baby, and these require serious and immediate attention. 

Causes

Physical changes and emotional issues play a role in postpartum depression, but there is no single cause for the condition. Hormonal changes after childbirth, such as dramatic drops in levels of progesterone and estrogen, may contribute to postpartum depression. Your risk of developing postpartum depression may increase if you have a history of depression or other mood disorders.

Treatments

Fortunately, postpartum depression is treatable.Treatment and recovery time will vary depending on your individual needs and the severity of the depression. Your medical provider will work on treating the underlying causes and may refer you to a mental health professional. Generally, treatment for depression includes psychotherapy, medication, or both. It is important to continue treatment even after you begin to feel better, as stopping treatment too early may lead to relapse.  Left untreated, postpartum depression can last for many months or longer. 

Foods to Avoid During Your Period

Women everywhere know the struggle each month of dealing with their menstrual cycle. As if it’s not enough to handle the pain, bloating, and cramping, there’s also the emotional fatigue that can sneak up. What a plethora of women don’t know is that you can use diet to help relieve some of your period symptoms.

To improve reproductive health doctors recommend avoiding certain foods and drinks. Don’t worry though, the restrictions are only for the week of your period!

Salty Food

Bloating is very common for women on their periods. However, salty foods can cause even more bloating and gas. If that can be avoided by all means do! Things such as potato chips, popcorn, pickles, and other snacks have a lot of sodium and though cravings are a very real thing, try to refrain. Your body will thank you.

Saturated/Trans Fats

Another source of pain during the menstrual cycle can be caused by the saturated fats in certain meats and dairy products. Avoid eating burgers or drinking whole milk during your period and pain and inflammation can often be lessened. French fries, doughnuts, and other heavy carbohydrates are also best to avoid.

Caffeine

It’s sad, but caffeine is in a lot of the things we enjoy, such as coffee, soda, and chocolate. Just remember, it’s only for a week! Caffeine can raise our anxiety levels and create agitation and trouble sleeping so it’s best to lay off the frappuccinos and candy bars until your menstrual cycle ends.

Sugar

Though we often crave sugary candy during this time, it’s best to stay away. If you’re already feeling bloated candy will surely make it worse. Instead, opt for fruit that has natural sugar. Though candy might help elevate your mood short term, it will wear off and leave your body feeling as bad as before.

Alcohol

If you’re not celebrating with friends and family during your menstrual cycle it’s best to refrain from drinking alcohol. The loss of blood can lower your blood pressure which can heighten the effects of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can also increase your flow, making your period heavier.

Overall, trying to eat healthier (at least during your menstrual cycle) can improve your mood and help to alleviate some of the period pain.

 

Contraception, Reproductive Health Are Economic Issues

Opened_Oral_Birth_ControlFor parents within the United States, particularly women, reproductive health is an economic issue. Both mothers and fathers are quick to describe parenthood as a life-changing feat, an adventure, or the most fulfilling commitment you’ll ever have, but they rarely readily address the countless expenses attached to parenthood.

From birth until adulthood, children can cost parents approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation) for middle-income, husband-wife families, according to the latest annual “Cost of Raising A Child” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Expensive, particularly during the time of economic instability, children can add to financial struggle. That’s in addition to the emotional investment that’s tied to the decision to start a family and put parenthood planning into action. The ability to decide and plan for a family drives major economic conversations, which is why the decision of politicians and policymakers pointedly affects women, impacting personal freedom and contraception access, which is directly tied to economic security.

Economic security is fundamental for survival, whether one is choosing to have a family or not, particularly for contraception-users who are sexually active and of childbearing age. Nonetheless, state legislation sometimes misses the importance of access to reproductive care, including birth control and abortion. Of course, this shrugs off the fact that health care and birth control is very important to many American women, who want control over their reproductive health.

American women have face challenges in this regard, dealing with restricted access to healthcare, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and stripping public funded health programs –which is an affront to the basic economic realities. Approximately 70 percent of voters recognize that true economic security lies with access to affordable reproductive healthcare, as well as equal pay, paid time off to care for families, and affordable childcare.

Across political parties and races, constituents feelings about abortion care, but there’s a recognizable understanding that the ability to plan is piped directly to Millennial’s core economic values and the needs of multicultural communities. Also, approximately 76 percent of all voters believe that access is necessary for basic economic survival. Likely because there’s an involved connection, linking reproductive care and major economic discussion.

Beyond conversations around reproduction health care, women are breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and HIV tests, and reduction in funding for women’s reproductive care hit multicultural communities hardest. Reproduction care is more than a woman’s issue and social issues, it’s a freedom issue, a family issue, a values issue, and an economic issue.