What Causes Bloody Discharge?

Posted on Updated on 5 November, 2017

Vaginal discharge is a good indicator of your reproductive health. Normal discharge is usually yellowish or a clear white, odorless liquid with thin light consistency. The volume largely depends on the state of your body. You may experience more discharge during pregnancy or when you are sexually aroused.

Discharge is responsible for maintaining the PH level of the body. The texture and consistency changes according to our monthly cycles. The texture varies from paste-like to stretchy like a raw egg-white and everything in between When we near ovulation, it turns stretchy and clear much like a raw egg-white. In between the two main consistencies lies the muggy consistency that is somewhat of a transition discharge.

Noticing a change in the smell of your discharge is one of the indicators that something may be awry. If the smell is accompanied by an itch or burning sensation, then it’s time to rush to the doctor as you could be the having an infection. It is a common misconception that vaginal infections are all sexually transmitted infections (STI). You also may get the infection from something such as non-breathing fabrics or douching. It is essential, therefore, to avoid self-medicating. Go to a gynecologist to determine the cause of your discomfort so that you can receive the ideal treatment.

It is a whole new ball game when you notice a bloody discharge. Bloody discharge indicates that there is bleeding somewhere in your reproductive system. Sometimes you may discover that the bleeding is just a part of the complex running of your reproductive train, but other times it could be a sign of a severe medical problem. In this article, we will discuss the various causes of bloody discharge.


In the initial stages of pregnancy, usually, six to twelve days after fertilization, many women experience bloody or brown vaginal discharge. It is considered normal and a result of implantation bleeding. When the embryo arrives in the uterus from the Fallopian tubes, it attaches to the wall. That process of attaching causes severing of tiny blood vessels which in turn cause a bit of blood.

Implantation spotting is a bit different from the rest because of its color and texture. It is usually pink or brown, and it comes with some degree of pain. If you suspect that you are pregnant, then you should take a pregnancy test or visit your doctor before taking any action. If the spotting persists, visit your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).

Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause bloody or brown vaginal discharge. It is due to inflammation of the vaginal mucosa. The vaginal discharge is usually accompanied by other symptoms like an aggressive fishy odor, redness of the vulva and vagina, painful urination, itching, and irritation. Other symptoms which might be included are back pain, nausea, pain during sex and stomach pain.

For some people, the only sign of infection is bloody/brown vaginal discharge. Chlamydia can cause severe health issue like infertility, and pelvic inflammatory disease if not treated. Since it rarely has symptoms, it’s important to get tested annually if you are sexually active. If gonorrhea is not treated, then it can spread to other parts of your body like joints, heart, blood, and the brain. If you notice a bloody discharge with any smell that is not normal, visit the doctor immediately.

Birth Control Pills

Brown, bloody discharge is common if you are taking contraceptive pills. Hormonal contraception causes strife in the body’s hormonal balance, which causes unusual bleeding. This bloody release is harmless, and you need not worry about it. You can, however, prevent it with the guidance of the doctor.

Contraceptives that contain progesterone alone usually result in spotting. It is caused by the drop in hormone levels. When you start using hormonal contraceptives, it’s normal to experience spotting two weeks after your regular periods. It might take up to six months to have normalcy return to your monthlies.

An Intra Uterine Device (IUD) which is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy also causes bleeding. Your body rejects it because it is a foreign body in your womb. It can cause spotting or heavy menstruation.  The spotting might decrease over time.

Malignant Cancer

Bleeding can be a symptom of malignant cancers like ovarian, cervical, or endometrial cancer. The most common and curable of gynecological malignancies is endometrial cancer. It usually starts from the glandular tissue in the uterine lining. Unfortunately, most people don’t experience signs until it has widely progressed. Symptoms include; bloating, abdominal swelling, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues like nausea, gas, vaginal spotting, changes in bowel movement, etc.

Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, is an abnormal, malignant cells growth that starts in the ovaries. The symptoms include difficulty in eating, abdominal or pelvic pain, bloating, urinary symptoms or unusual spotting.

Cervical cancer is identified through pelvic examinations and Pap smear screening. Cervical cancer is a very grave condition with high death rates if not detected in initial stages. Its symptoms include heavy vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, and heavier vaginal bleeding among others.

Make it a routine to go for frequent checkups and in case of any symptoms, talk to a healthcare provider.

It might be a sign of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is also known as tubal pregnancy or eccyesis. It is a complication during pregnancy where the embryo attaches and begins to grow outside the uterus.

Ideally, the fertilized egg is meant to attach itself to the uterus lining. In a tubal pregnancy, the embryo does not get to the uterus. Instead, it occurs in one of the fallopian tubes that carry ovules from the ovary to the uterus.

An eccyesis pregnancy cannot be carried to term. The fertilized egg cannot survive outside the uterus, and its development is likely destroying some reproductive parts. When you are found with an ectopic pregnancy, it is treated as a threat to the mother’s life.

An ectopic pregnancy begins like a normal pregnancy. However, with time signs like pain in the pelvis and abdomen, light vaginal bleeding and spotting occur. It is followed by extreme lightheadedness, fainting, shoulder pain, severe pelvis and stomach pain and vaginal bleeding. By the time the symptoms become grave, the mother is usually in danger of losing her life due to internal bleeding.

If bloody discharge changes from just spotting to heavy menstrual-like bleeding, there’s cause for alarm. You should also seek medical help if you are pregnant or spotting occurs after menopause. Always keep in mind that consistent bloody discharge is abnormal. If you are dizzy, exhausted, or in pain in addition to the bloody discharge, you need to visit the hospital immediately.