Brown Cervical Mucus Causes – Hormones, Infection or Intercourse?
Cervical mucus is not something that most women care to talk about, whether with their health care providers or anyone else for that matter. It can be an embarrassing and even gross topic, and that’s when it’s normal. When it changes, it can sometimes be alarming. But, under most circumstances, cervical mucus serves as a rather big help. It’s a cleaner of sorts for the cervix, flushing out bacteria and other invaders away from the sensitive reproductive organs. And, it’s also a pretty helpful tool for those looking to achieve pregnancy, as thickened egg white like versions help serve as sperm transport, taking the fertilizers to their next destination. Cervical mucus has another purpose as well, as changes in it can signal distress within the female system. And, one of the most disturbing of these is brown cervical mucus.
One of the most common causes of brown mucus discharge, according to MomsWhoThink.com is simply old blood. When it’s fresh and part of regular menstruation, blood is often bright red to red in color. But, once it dries or becomes old, the bright red hue can diminish to a duller shade and result in brown cervical mucus. Sometimes this dislodges on its own. And sometimes, it can be a result of disruption by other means where the mucus or a brown mucus plug comes out unexpectedly. One of the most common reasons for this is intercourse, where brown mucus discharge can result following the movement of the dried blood. The UK National Health Services note that the end of menstruation can also be a cause of brown cervical mucus as well. And, brown mucus is also not uncommon as a result of simple irregular periods, as indicated by WebMD. In fact, dark, old or dried blood in cervical mucus is most commonly related to either the menstrual cycle itself or an irregularity thereof in one manner or another.
Hormones and infection are not common causes of cervical mucus that is brown. Of course, they can certainly contribute to a change in vaginal mucus color. One of the most common infections that can affect the vaginal area is a yeast infection. However, yeast infections do not produce brown cervical mucus. Instead, they create a characteristic and often easy to identify set of symptoms associated with discharge, whereby it becomes thick and white (like cottage cheese) and often produces a foul odor. Similarly, hormone fluctuations can result in changes to cervical mucus. Throughout the monthly cycle, these hormonal changes can alter the consistency and color of the resulting vaginal fluid. However, the hues remain unchanged, varying between clear, white and light yellow depending on the part of the cycle that the body is currently going through. And, brown is not one of the colors that can result from hormonal changes.
There are some more ominous causes of brown cervical mucus that should be considered if the symptoms are persistent or recurrent. WebMD points out that both cervical and endometrial cancer can carry brown discharge as a symptom. Typically, this change in mucus hue will be accompanied by bleeding that is irregular or abnormal as well as pain in the abdomen.
It’s incredibly important that when brown cervical mucus is present that a symptom inventory be taken promptly. If accompanied by other new or unusual symptoms, scheduling a doctor’s appointment is a good idea. If the unusually colored mucus occurs right after a period, immediately following intercourse, or occurs alongside periods that are sporadic or irregular, then it may not be anything to worry about. However, when it’s persistent, recurring or noticeably concerning, it could possibly be a sign of sinister underlying causes. Typically a doctor’s appointment to identify the causes of unusual discharge will include many questions asked by a health care provider. These can include inquiries about the frequency, duration, smell, other symptoms as well as sexual history. It’s a good idea that at the onset of symptoms that the answers to these questions be noted so that a full evaluation of the brown cervical mucus can be performed. While in most cases, brown discharge is little to be concerned about, it can be a sign of potentially serious health concerns and in some cases can and should require a medical evaluation.