Red Vaginal Discharge – Symptoms and Treatment Options
Red or pink discharge, or even reddish-brown discharge, is challenging to diagnose. The root cause of the color is often dried menstrual blood. But there are many causes of red discharge, so that it can be menstrual blood or a variety of other conditions.
Abnormal discharge, often any discharge that isn’t clear or milky white, may have a different texture, color, or smell.
11 Causes of Red or Pink Discharge
The discharge you’re experiencing may be caused by:
Women often experience red spotting in the middle of their normal menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs halfway through your cycle and results in the shedding of your uterine lining. Just a tiny part of the lining is shed, but this is enough to cause a red or pink discharge.
An increase in hormonal levels is to blame.
The discharge lasts for a few hours, and this will be a brownish pink vaginal discharge. The good news is that the vaginal bleeding is short-lived and is perfectly normal.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in the:
- Fallopian tubes
People with PID have an upper genital tract infection. Bacteria is the cause of the infection, and it can cause a woman’s vaginal discharge to turn red.
Menstrual cycles end when a woman is in menopause. This can happen at any time, but most women will go through menopause between 45 and 55. A natural occurrence, menopause is the end of a woman’s reproductive years, and menstruation will cease.
Reproductive changes cause estrogen production to stop. A hormone imbalance caused by menopause can cause red spotting.
Are you trying to get pregnant? You may experience reddish discharge when you’re supposed to have your period. Hormonal levels may not be high enough, or the placenta may not be fully formed yet, allowing some pink discharge to escape.
Hormonal changes can result in uterine lining shedding, too.
If the discharge is more akin to bleeding than normal discharge, it’s ideal to see your doctor. It could be a sign that you are experiencing a miscarriage.
Spotting or reddish-brown discharge is normal very early in pregnancy.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
A sexually transmitted infection (STI) can cause drastic changes in a woman’s body. There are dozens of STDs, and even with safe sex, a woman can still contract certain diseases as accidents happen. The bloody vaginal discharge could be a sign of gonorrhea appropriated by pain, especially throughout your menstrual cycle.
Some women may experience painful bowel movements, heavy vaginal bleeding or abnormal pink discharge, and pain when urinating are signs of gonorrhea.
If you’ve had sex with a new partner and you notice a difference in your discharge, you’ll want to see a doctor and get tested for STD. The faster you obtain a medically reviewed treatment, the better it will be for the health of your reproductive system.
Birth control pills or IUDs will alter your body’s hormones and stop the menstrual cycle. The time you start taking birth control can play a role in discharge. If you’ve taken the pill too far into your cycle, there’s a chance that the uterus will shed. This shedding can cause some bleeding or bloody discharge with a consistency of an egg white.
Hormonal changes can cause premature uterine lining shedding.
If you have an IUD to help stop pregnancy, there’s a chance that your body will reject the device. The rejection may result in bleeding or irritation. If the problem persists, you need to contact your doctor and discuss your issue.
Women who have cancer in their cervix may notice a brownish red spotting. This is a condition that requires medical assistance.
Your body works to expel all the blood inside of the uterus when you have your menstrual cycle. Often, some blood is left behind and dries. Dried blood will be brown, and when mixed with white vaginal discharge, it can turn red.
The older the blood, the darker it will become.
Most women will experience this change in vaginal discharge color a few days after their period. The same discharge may occur around the time of ovulation.
One of the first signs of pregnancy is implementation bleeding. This bleeding occurs when the egg attaches to the uterine lining. A small amount of blood may be present, which may lead to spotting or discharge that’s red.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant, congratulations.
Implementation bleeding happens in one out of three women. Most women don’t realize they have any bleeding or believe it’s just a tiny trickle of blood.
You may not produce a positive pregnancy test at this time since it’s so early on in your pregnancy. Even though your discharge changes at this time, the hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) and estrogen levels are still not as high to be detected by a pregnancy test. Wait for a week and retest again as the human chorionic gonadotropin doubles with each passing day until a urine test can detect it.
Most women experience an ovarian cyst during their life. Often, a woman will not show any symptoms, and they remain free of any pain and symptoms. A routine pelvic exam will help a woman uncover a cyst.
When symptoms do appear, this can cause vomiting, bloating, painful sex, and painful bowel movements.
In some cases, a red or pink discharge will also be a symptom of a cyst. Most cysts are not a cause for concern, but the rare few need to be medically treated. The discharge is more on the brownish side than red when the discharge is a result of cysts. Bloody vaginal discharge appropriated by pain could be a sign of a complication, and you need to see a doctor if this happens.
Yeast infections can cause vaginal discharge. Before we go into the symptoms and colors of the vaginal discharge caused by this infection, let’s briefly go over what it is and how it affects the health of your vagina overall.
A vaginal infection caused by yeast is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge, and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva (the tissues at the vaginal opening).
Medically reviewed data shows that vaginal candidiasis affects up to 3 out of 4 women at least once in their lifetime. Many women have this infection recurring with at least two episodes.
This infection isn’t officially considered part of the STIs, but health information shows that women who are sexually active with more partners at a time have a higher risk of getting it.
Research institutions do a lot of data gathering on the connection between yeast and oral sex. So far, the analyzed content shows a sign of connection. However, the information they receive isn’t sufficient yet to be confirmed.
A way to tell if you have this infection is by checking for the following symptoms:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
- A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- Watery vaginal discharge
These are the medically reviewed signs of complicated yeast infection:
- Severe bleeding, extensive redness, swelling, and itching that leads to tears, cracks, or sores
- You’re pregnant
- You experience this infection more than once a year
- You have uncontrolled diabetes
- Your immune system is weakened
- The color and content of your spotting changes to bright red
When To See a Doctor
If someone experiences this infection for the first time, it is good to see a doctor. Treating it on time will help eliminate it faster and not have it repeating later on.
You also need to seek medical attention if the OTC products like creams or gels aren’t working for you.
If you develop other symptoms like pain on the bottom of your cervix, then again, you need to run some tests and treat it before it causes additional health issues.
How Yeast Appears?
Several ways could result in yeast appearing on your ladyparts:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Weakened immune system
- Oral contraceptives
- Hormone therapy
Candida albicans is the most common type of fungus that causes health issues in the reproductive organs. Being the most common, it is the easiest to treat with fewer symptoms. If you have any other types of candida, then you will need more aggressive therapy.
How to Protect Yourself?
The risk factors that increase your chances of getting a yeast infection include:
- Taking antibiotics regularly, even when not prescribed by your doctor. These pills kill a range of bacteria, but they also kill the good ones that may cause havoc on your health overall.
- If you have higher estrogen levels, then it is possible to get this infection. Women that take high-dose estrogen birth control pills or estrogen hormone therapy when trying to get pregnant will also need to regularly check the health of their vagina because they are exposed to a higher risk of getting infected.
- Uncontrolled diabetes causes yeast overgrowth because of the high sugar content in the body.
- A weakened immune system cannot get rid of infections as efficiently. Hence if you are on corticosteroid therapy or have had HIV, you are more likely to get infected by yeast.
To keep the health of your vaginal optimal and the color of your discharge white or transparent, you need to take better care through these simple lifestyle changes:
- Wear more cotton-made underwear
- Stay away from the tight-fitting panties
- Avoid douching
- Don’t use too many scented feminine products like pads and tampons
- Take antibiotics only when necessary and prescribed by your doctor. Avoid taking them for colds or viral infections
- Don’t stay in wet clothes, swimsuits, and workout attire for too long
Brownish Pink Spotting Final Say
Red or dark pink discharge that goes away in a few hours is not a cause for concern. There are rare times when you do need to be concerned about the discharge, and this includes:
- Discharge that changes colors and persists for several days
- Pain, itching, or burning along with the abnormal discharge
- Fever or nausea
Women who are pregnant and experience a lot of discharge content should contact their doctor. A heightened level of vaginal discharge is common during pregnancy, but it is often white or clear.
Red spotting when pregnant may be a sign of early miscarriage. Call your doctor to diagnose the problem correctly. Caution and quick action can help stop a miscarriage from continuing.
If you have abdominal pain, fever, or unusual smelling discharge, you may have PID.
Infections are a sign of dramatic changes in your body. An acute infection can cause abnormal discharge from your vagina, and proper treatment is recommended.
The best way to get rid of uncontrolled vaginal discharge is by paying more attention to your body and seeking information from your physician timely. Any health issue left untreated may cause a plethora of complications later on. So, take care of your body continuously.