Our menstrual cycle is a monthly phenomenon which depends on a number of emotional, physical as well as hormonal factors. All of these factors operate together to ensure that a woman has a continuous supply of mature eggs ready for reproduction at the time of ovulation, and also that the inner lining or the endometrium from the uterus is removed.
Sometimes, a little amount of menstrual blood remains in the uterus for a day or two before being expelled out. Hence, this old blood which may not have drained completely during the last period and is just presently being discharged, or expelled, from the body appears as dark brown in color. This is a completely natural phenomenon, and is not an issue of concern in the absence of any associated symptoms or complications.
Is Dark Brown Menstruation A Normal Phenomenon?
Studies have revealed out that, approximately 5% of women experience dark brown menstruation, which is considered to be quite normal.
Conditions Resulting In Dark Brown Menstruation Blood
An experience of a dark brown vaginal discharge between periods, around the14th – 16th day of the menstrual cycle of an average length of 28 days, is most likely because of ovulation. With the release of the mature egg from the ovary, a little dark brown colored bleeding is experienced by some women, which is normally called spotting.
Brown blood discharge is quite common in early pregnancy and is often an indicative sign of conception. This usually occurs a few days following conception, and lasts for about 3-4 days and is usually very scarce. This is referred to as implantation bleeding, that is the vaginal discharge at the time of the embedding of the fertilized ovum in the inner lining of the uterus.
A Large Uterus
Sometimes, larger uterus can result in dark brown menstrual. Following the stretching of the uterus during pregnancy, if the size of the uterus does not return to normal following delivery of the baby, then an enlarged uterus can lead to brown period blood.
The presence of an enlarged uterus provides sufficient time, for the menstrual blood to be collected and clotted before it is released from the body. This could also lead to a dark brown color or thickening of the menstrual flow. In certain cases, some cysts may be present in the uterus. Following the rupture of these cysts, the color of menstrual discharge can be affected.
Obstruction Of Menstrual Blood Flow
Anything which hinders or causes blockage in the normal flow of menstrual blood from the uterus through the cervix and out of the vag!na may result in problems with formation of clots, color, or thickness of menstrual blood.
The presence of benign polyps in the uterus may cause alteration in the flow of blood during periods. The menstrual blood flow can become reduced around the time of menopause; this is facilitated by the fact that, the cervical canal generally becomes narrower with lowering of the estrogen levels.
Adenomyosis Or Endometriosis
These are some abnormal conditions of the uterus. In endometriosis, the tissue which forms the uterine lining develops outside of the uterus.
In adenomyosis the tissue which forms the uterine lining grows in the muscle which forms the uterine walls. In both of these conditions, Clotting, thickening and color change of the menstrual blood is quite common.
Emotional disturbances, such as stress and depression in a woman, can cause thinning out of the inner lining of uterus. This further results in delay in shedding of the endometrial cells. This delay results in the oxidation of the blood which becomes dark brown in color.
Hence, dark brown menstruation is most commonly associated with the presence of old endometrial tissues,for example, in delayed periods. Signifying that the entire uterine lining had not made a complete exit last time around when you had your periods.
The passing out of blood clots are characterized by dark brownish vaginal discharge. However, following the discharge of the clot, the normal color will be regained in a few days.
A Few Conditions Of Concern Which Cause Dark Brown Menstruation
Dark brown vaginal discharge cannot always be considered as simply leftover endometrial cells. Sometimes, a dark brown menstruation can also be a symptom of great concern, requiring immediate medical care.
Some common conditions which can cause brown colored vaginal discharge include; cervical carcinoma, perimenopause/menopause, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, commonly abbreviated as PID, or sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia or vaginal warts. Pelvic inflammatory disease involves infection of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, the lining of the uterus, cervix, etc. Cervical cancer, which is caused usually by the virus HPV is the most life-threatening cause of dark brown menstruation.
Side Effects Of Certain Medications
When a woman is administered some form of medications, there is a possibility of the discoloration of the menstrual blood. Some of such medications include, oral contraceptive pills or steroid injections.
Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding, A Cause of Dark Brown Menstruation
Well, if the dark brown vaginal discharge is found to be caused as a result of dysfunctional uterine bleeding, abbreviated as DUB, then immediate consultation with a health care provider is recommended.
What Are The Possible Treatments?
If simply old uterine cells are cause of the brown vaginal discharge, then the treatment may be simple, and involves simple lifestyle changes such as better nutrition supplements, practice of a regular exercise and drinking an adequate amount of water daily. If, however the discharge is a result of an underlying disease, then treatments will be focussed at curing that particular condition.
A few home remedies for dark brown menstruation: Studies have reported that, parsley can help as a remedy for dark brown menstruation. This effect is perhaps due to the presence of apiol in parsley, which is in fact also a component of the female sex hormones.
A daily drink of about 75 ml of parsley juice, combined with the same quantities of beet, carrot, and cucumber juice is found to be quite effective. Consumption of fresh papaya is also believed to be an effective measure.
Editor’s note: This was earlier published on Babiesmata.com