Why do I have a black vaginal discharge? What does it mean? Vaginal discharge can be stringy, thick or sticky. But what does its color mean? Black specks in vaginal discharge before a period or in early pregnancy can make you worried. Here’s what it means and what to do about it.
The color or the discharges can range from yellow, clear, to cloudy white. In addition, you will find that the vaginal discharges will normally vary because of factors such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, nutrition, and the use of birth control pills. When there is a variation from the normal colors, it could be an indication that one either has a disease or an infection.
A healthy vagina will from time to time secrete vaginal discharges that are intended to not only regulate it, but also ensure that it remains clean at all times. [McKinley Health Center located at the University of Illinois].
Table of Contents
- What does black vaginal discharge mean?
- Other common causes of black vaginal discharge
- Black stringy vaginal discharge
- Black specks in vaginal discharge
- Black discharge before period
- When should you visit a doctor?
- What do other vaginal discharge colors imply?
- What to do about the black discharge
What does black vaginal discharge mean?
It is normal to have a dark vaginal discharge after a period or a few days before a period. However, in the middle of the cycle, black spots or specks in the discharge can mean a foreign body is stuck in the vagina. This can be a tampon or even a condom.
- Serious changes in color for discharge between menses can also indicate serious illnesses such as cervical cancer.
- Dark brown discharge can also be old blood left over after your menstruation or embryo implantation (spotting during ovulation). A small amount of blood can remain in the tubes, clot and take a few days to be expelled.
In some cases, dark brown blood or dark vaginal discharge can occur six to 12 days after fertilization of an egg when the embryo attaches to the uterine lining.
See also: Why am I bleeding after sex?
Other common causes of black vaginal discharge
For many women across the world, vaginal discharge tends to have a creamy or clear color. Reddish brown or black vaginal discharge is therefore always a source of concern, as it often indicates that the women have experienced bleeding at some point at the end of their monthly cycle. It is important to keep in mind that the darker the color of this blood, the longer it has taken for it to leave the woman’s body
1. Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer spreads at a very slow pace. However, when it goes undetected for long periods, it may begin to metastasize to other body parts. During its early stages, this particular kind of cancer will rarely show any symptoms. When the symptoms start to show, you will find that they will be in the form of black, foul smelling vaginal discharge.
2. Black discharge after a period – old blood
As you complete your normal period, you may start to notice the presence of brown blood in your discharge. This should not worry you, as the brown blood is the blood that has taken a longer duration than normal for it to move through the whole body.
There are instances where old period blood has been seen to linger for longer durations in the female body. When this occurs, it mixes with your normal discharge, which is what brings about the black vaginal discharge after period.
In the event that this dark discharge has taken place shortly after you have completed your period then it means that the old menstrual blood could be the primary cause for this occurrence. However, you will need to pay attention to the color of the discharge, as if it were to change within the next few days after you have noticed it, it could mean that there were other factors at play causing the dark brown discharge after period.
3. Retained menses
Even though they are not considered to be a normal condition, retained menses have been known to cause a black discharge. Often, the condition comes about when menstrual blood gets trapped inside the woman’s uterus. When trapped, it means that the blood will not be able to exit the body through the vagina.
Hymens have been known to cause the problem with the retained menses. They become a problem when they cover the vagina fully, instead of partially covering it. As such, when the woman begins her cycle, the blood is unable to leave the body as the vagina is fully covered, making it impossible for the menstrual blood to leave.
SEE ALSO: How to Induce Period Immediately
4. Cervical stenosis
The problem is common among women of an advanced age. It causes such women to have a black discharge, instead of having the normally clear, watery discharge. Cervical stenosis comes about when the cervix becomes too narrow.
When this happens, it causes an obstruction, which in return slows down, and in some cases completely stops the flow of this menstrual blood. Additionally, there are abnormalities related to the anatomy that have been known to produce similar results as well. In most cases, you will find that the abnormalities are present when the girl child is born, with some of them being untreatable.
If you have noticed chunky vaginal discharge, it could mean that you have recently had a miscarriage. This is one of the major concerns for almost all pregnant women in the world. The worrying factor is that many women do not realize that they are having a miscarriage, as it tends to occur during the early pregnancy days. In some instances, you will find that there are mothers who experience a miscarriage at around the time that they are expecting to get their next period.
During a miscarriage, the woman may experience heavy bleeding, where the blood is mainly clotted. In cases where the miscarriage proceeds smoothly, you will find that all the products related to conception will be ejected from the woman’s body. However, there are cases where they are retained in the body, and this is what is deemed to be a missed abortion.
For a missed abortion to occur, you will find that dilation did not occur properly, which means that all the product used during the conception phase did not get to leave the body. These products will then be released from the body using a black discharge, which normally has a very foul odor.
6. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
When the black discharge is accompanied by a foul smell, it could mean that PID is behind the black discharge. PID has been known to cause:
- Black bleeding/discharge
- Painful sex
- Painful urination
The condition is mainly brought about by sexually transmitted diseases or infections e.g. chlamydia and gonorrhea. For it to be classified as PID, it has to move up into the ovaries, uterus, or the fallopian tubes.
7. Presence of a foreign object or lost tampon
When you have a foreign body that has been stuck in the vagina—it could be a forgotten or lost tampon. It could be the cause of the black and foul smelling vaginal discharge.
In case you have your suspicions that this is the root cause of your problem, do not be embarrassed to inform your doctor about it, as it is something that has happened to many women in the past.
8. Abnormal uterine bleeding
Black discharge occurring during your periods is one thing—however, when it occurs during random times of the menstrual cycle, you should consider this as a different matter altogether. Irregular bleeding of the uterine lining may be an indication of important issues that have something to do with your overall reproductive health e.g.
- An ectopic pregnancy
- Hormonal issues to do with PCOS
It is recommended that you do not ignore this kind of discharge, more so when accompanied by additional symptoms such as dizziness and abdominal pain. For abnormal uterine bleeding, you need to see a doctor as there is no other way to address this problem.
9. Implantation bleeding
When an egg that has been fertilized gets implanted in your uterine lining immediately after you have become pregnant, you may find it causing a small amount of bleeding. In some cases, you will find that this blood is black or brownish in color.
The color of vaginal discharge associated with implantation bleeding is determining by the length of time it has taken for it to exit the vagina. In case you have been actively trying to conceive, or recently engaged in an unprotected sexual encounter, it is recommended that you consider taking a pregnancy test in the event that your period does not come during the normal days.
Black stringy vaginal discharge
When the black stringy discharge just happens to be old menstrual blood, then there is absolutely no cause for you to be alarmed. In most cases, you will find that your discharge will clear up within no time.
But, in the event that this does not happen, and the discharge goes on for a few more days, either before or after your periods, it may mean that there are additional factors at play, including those discussed above.
Stringy discharge means your discharge is a bit thicker than usual. It is a strange thing, though it is important to consider its accompanying symptoms. It is best to see a gynecologist for precise help.
Black specks in vaginal discharge
Dark specks may indicate blood clots. These can occur if you’ve had an injury in the vagina or cervix. The specks can also occur from implantation bleeding blood or period blood that is left over, clots and gets discharged late.
Your vaginal discharge is a fluid that comprises various secretions from the vagina and the cervix. The discharge plays two significant roles in the human body:
- It assists in clearing out dead bacteria and cells, and in the process ensures that the vagina remains clean at all times. When the vagina is clean, it is provided with an extra layer of protection against infections and germs.
- It makes it possible for sperm cells to find their way through the cervix, and onto the egg released by the ovaries for fertilization purposes.
For it to fulfill both roles, the vaginal discharge texture will normally change according to the different phases that occur in the woman’s menstrual cycle.
In many cases, you will find that the discharge tends to be sticky and thick. This is meant to stop the bacteria and the germs from finding their way through this area.
However, you will find that the during the woman’s fertile window, which normally occurs before and after ovulation phases have been completed, the discharge tends to become slippery and clear in color. It is intended to ensure that sperms will be able to reach the egg so that they can fertilize it.
The color of your discharge can provide you with a good clue on the current status of your health condition. If your health status is above board, the discharge should be normal, which means that it should be whitish or transparent in color.
Even though this discharge will have a unique odor, you will find that it does not have any foul smell. To know whether you have a condition that is affecting your reproductive organs, all you need to do is check the color, texture, and odor of your vaginal discharge.
Black discharge before period
Why do I get a black vaginal discharge before period? Before and after you have your periods, you will normally have a light flow. In the light flow, you may notice black or brown spotting in the discharge. For those that already know this, noting unusual colors in the discharge could be an indication that there is something wrong somewhere, and hence the need to practice vigilance.
However, you should not be too worried about the color changes, as what it means is that your uterus is trying to clear out some of the old blood that was present in it, while at the same time trying to get rid of the uterine lining.
Often, you will find that this discharge will tend to have a darker color as compared to the normal blood. For most women, you will find that it is considered normal for them to have a darkish discharge in the days following the periods. But, in case you become concerned, or if it is happening to you for the first time, make sure that you get checked out.
When should you visit a doctor?
Even though black vaginal bleeding has always been classified as old blood that is now being expelled from your body, there are instances when it could be an indication that there is something wrong with your body. It is recommended that you consult your physician any time when you notice or experience sudden changes to your period or discharge.
Normally, you can wait a few days before paying your doctor a visit. But in case you experience or notice any of the following symptoms, you must make sure that you seek immediate medical attention
- Excess black discharge
- Abdominal pain
- Discharge that only lasts for a few days
- Burning, irritation or itching in your vaginal area
- Back pain
- Black discharge occurring after you have reached your menopause age
What do other vaginal discharge colors imply?
This is a clear sign that the woman has an infected vagina. Yellow coloration occurs when there is an increase in the number of red blood cells. It is something that can be associated with burning, itching, and a variety of other pains in the body. With time, it could go away on its own, or it could develop into a more serious infection
It means that your vagina has a serious infection. When the white blood cells that are present in your body start to deny and disintegrate, you will find that they become green in color. What this means is that your infection has lasted for too long, and is becoming intense. Additionally, it could mean that you have endured the pain for a lengthy duration, and it may, therefore, be beneficial for you to have a word with your physician.
It is common for women to experience a bloody red discharge. A bloody red discharge could be your normal period or it could have been caused by implantation bleeding. In case you notice any other discoloration, it may mean that you have an additional infection or wound, which is causing the bleeding to occur.
Brown discharge is always a sign or blood that has recently aged. In many cases, it is considered to be a precursor to black bleeding. When you notice a brown coloration, you should take it seriously as it is often used as an indication of a coming or existing infection. Additionally, it may also be an indication of spontaneous abortion or implantation bleeding.
See also: Cottage cheese discharge and STDs
They often indicate that there could be multiple things taking place in your body at the time. You should take it as a sign to mean that you need to have a word with your physician. Orange or reddish-yellow could be a sign that you have a serious infection that needs to be handled. Reddish-green, on the other hand, means that you need to book an appointment with your physician immediately.
What to do about the black discharge
Women who have experienced the black discharge are always seeking to know whether there is anything that they can do about this bleeding. Lucky for them, the answer is yes, there is something that can be done. Even though there is no way to deal with the vaginal discharge—given that it is a normal function of your vagina—there are steps that you can take to make sure that your vagina remains healthy at all times.
Try and maintain a lifestyle that is healthy
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and making sure that your diet is well-balanced will assist your reproductive system to remain in top shape always. The best thing would be for you to visit your physician or nutritionist and go through the diet options that are best for you.
Health experts recommend making sure that you have increased your calcium and magnesium intake. You can achieve this by ensuring that you add these food items to your everyday diet.
- Sesame seeds
- Leafy green vegetables
Apart from ensuring that you consume a healthy diet each day, there is always a need to making sure that your body remains active. For this, you have to exercise a minimum of three times each week. As you exercise, make certain that your body is getting lots of vitamin D, which is needed by your body as well.
Here, we are not talking about engaging in regular exercises. On the contrary, we are talking about having sex. Regular orgasms are needed by your body as they lead to the release of healthy hormones, in addition to causing your uterine to contract. The contractions will then play an important role in ensuring that your body relaxes, as well as making sure that your body is detoxified.
Regular sexual intercourse is also a great way to allow your body enough time to relieve the extra stress, as well as make it possible for you to have a good night sleep.