Do you know that our body provides signs about reproductive health through vaginal discharge? Yes, you heard it right. Hormonal or any other changes in reproductive system can have a direct impact on the vaginal discharge.
Usually, white, creamy, clear, sticky, tacky and watery vaginal discharge is very normal. But a change in color can bring up a lot of questions, especially for a woman who is trying to get pregnant.
In this article we are going to go through all the different scenarios that you might encounter pink blood outside your period and what could that mean. However, first things first we are going to start from the start and answer the question…
What is a Pink Vaginal Discharge– Is it normal or…?
Pink discharge means that a small amount of fresh blood is mixed with the cervical mucus. But don’t get tensed! In most of the cases, pink discharge is pretty normal however in some cases it can be an indication of an underlying problem like hormonal disorders or inflammatory diseases.
To reduce your anxiousness, we have covered all the possibilities in which a pink discharge can happen. You can analyze the situation based on it…
Possible Causes of Pink Discharge before a Period
1. Pink Discharge Due to Ovulation
This can happen in mid of the menstrual cycle (between 12 – 16 days). Ovulation is a process where ovaries release mature eggs. During this process, rupture of the ovary (caused while releasing the ovary) can lead to a little bleeding which gets flushed out with cervical mucus.
Some women may feel a mild abdominal pain when ovulating with pink or brown discharge. This process is called as ovulatory syndrome.
However, if the pink discharge is accompanied with severe pain and strong discomfort then medical intervention is required. As it can be an indication of serious complications like heavy bleeding after follicle rupture or hemorrhage in the ovaries.
2. Pink Discharge Few Days before a Period
Dark ping tinge or light pink just few days before your menstruation due date is very normal. This just means that your period is about to start. Due to hormonal changes, a light blood mixed cervical mucus can exit your vagina. If this is your case, then there is nothing to worry about.
3. Pink Discharge Can be a Sign of Pregnancy
If you are sexually active or trying to get pregnant, then pink discharge can be a sign of implantation. During an implantation, the fertilized egg moves to uterine cavity and embeds into endometrium. Due to increased hormonal activity, the endometrium (inner layers of uterine) will have adequate blood supply. Just when the egg gets attached, a slight bleeding may occur.
The bleeding may get mixed with cervical mucus and gets out from the vagina. Implantation bleeding or spotting can be either pink or brown depending on how fresh the blood is. Sometimes, the pink discharge can be accompanied with slight abdominal cramping.
Usually, implantation bleeding occurs for 1 to 5 days, but if the discharge is heavy or more than 5 days
4. Pink Discharge Due to Contraception
Contraceptives like pills, vaginal ring, patch, intradermal implant or intrauterine device can also be reason behind the pink discharge. Because they can affect the hormonal changes that can suppress the ovulation process. Spotting and irregular bleeding can be a common side effect of birth control methods.
a. Oral Contraceptives
If oral contraceptives are taken without the consent of a gynecologist then she may experience improper vaginal discharge. This usually happens in the first 3 months of contraceptive intake. It can occur at any day of the menstrual cycle. It happens as the body is trying to adapt with new hormone levels.
The discharge is usually is very little and doesn’t last more than 2 – 3 days. If the pink discharge prolongs and occurs more than 3 months in a row then the contraceptive is not appropriate for you. In this case, it is better to speak with your gynecologist.
b. Intrauterine Devices
An intrauterine device can be either non-hormonal or hormonal. But its presence should not cause any discomfort inside your uterus. But a pink discharge can indicate wrong fixation of intrauterine device, hormonal balance or undesirable pregnancy (most commonly ectopic). A pelvic ultrasound and gynecological consultation is necessary.
5. Pink Discharge Due to Gynecological Issues
In certain cases, pink discharge can also be an indication of underlying gynecological issues. Below, we have listed them with other symptoms you may experience apart from pink discharge. If you are experiencing any of them then talk your gynecologist as soon as possible.
a. Ectopic Pregnancy
In some cases, the fertilized egg will not reach the uterus and gets attached to the fallopian tube. This type of pregnancy is called as Ectopic pregnancy. It is a serious medical condition as the fallopian tubes are not designed to uphold a pregnancy.
When the walls of fallopian tubes get stretched, bleeding occurs which gets mixed with cervical mucus and appears as pink spotting. Apart from pink discharge, you may experience
- Severe pain in abdomen, pelvis or side part of the body.
- Absence of periods.
- Weakness or dizziness
- Gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, nausea.
Fibroids are begin growths which occur on the uterus walls. As per UCLA health, “an estimate of 20 – 50% of women in reproductive age have fibroids however not all are diagnosed.” They can lead to pink spotting and symptoms….
- Low back pain.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Unusually painful experience.
- Abnormal pink or brown spotting before periods.
- Heavy bleeding, and sometimes for a prolonged time.
If the pink discharge is caused due to fibroids then your gynecologist may suggest to ignore them until they shrink. In some cases, a surgical treatment can be suggested to remove them.
c. Endometrial Inflammation
Endometrial inflammation (also known as endometritis) happens when the endometrium gets swollen up due to infection. In this case, you may feel a lot of pain and abnormal vaginal discharge at any time of your menstrual cycle. Apart from that, you may also experience fever, rectal pain, abdominal swelling and discomfort while passing the stools.
d. Cervical Cancer
Cervical or endometrial cancer can cause pink discharge before periods or pink spotting at any time of your menstrual cycle. Discharge usually happens in later stages as the symptoms of cervical cancer or very few. Mostly it can be caused in women aged above 45 (pre-menopause and menopause stages). Therefore, regular gynecological visits are recommended.
e. Cervical Erosion
Cervical ectropian or erosion is caused when the cells in the cervical canal grow on the outer surface of the cervix. The erosion can lead to pink discharge at any day of the menstrual cycle. Pink spotting can also be observed after sex or any physical activity. Factors that can lead to cervical erosion include heavy workouts, STI’s and bacterial vaginosis. A colposcopy examination is recommended to confirm the cervical erosion.
6. Pink discharge Due to Gynecological Infections
Vaginal infections like yeast, bacteria or parasites can also cause pink discharge. Trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis are the common causes of pink discharge caused due to an infection in the vagina. Apart from abnormal vaginal discharge, you may experience other symptoms like itching, pain and burning sensation in the vagina or vulva. Sexually transmitted diseases or infections can also cause pink discharge, so it is better to consult a doctor to confirm the reason of the abnormal discharge.
7. Pink Discharge due to Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances are pretty common in women and they can have a direct impact on the vaginal discharge. Below are some of the causes of hormonal imbalance that can lead to pink spotting before periods…
- Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can lead to pink discharge at any time of the menstrual cycle.
- Blood thinning medications like aspirin, warfarin and heparin can also lead to pink discharge.
- Women having PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can experience spotting before a period as a result of bleeding when the ovaries are releasing the mature egg.
- Stress can have a significant impact on your hormone levels to abnormal discharge.
- Perimenopause can lead to abnormal pink spotting as your body is in the preparation for lack of periods.
- After undergoing a pap smear test, you may experience a slight spotting which considered pretty normal.
- If you are sexually active and planning a baby, then spotting just before periods can be an indication of miscarriage. In this case, it will be accompanied with backache and abdominal cramps. So, consult your gynecologist as soon as possible.
8. Pink Discharge Due to Other Internal Issues
Other internal issues apart which are not related to reproductive system can also lead to vaginal pink discharge. Let’s have a look at them…
a. Blood Clotting
Blood clotting disorder can be caused due to vitamin K deficiency or low red blood cells count or certain medication that disrupts normal clotting process. Some of the common blood clotting disorders include Factor II, V, VII, X or XII, hempphilla A and B. Whatever might be the reason, a pink discharge means that you are having a problem in blood clotting. So, a medical doctor should be informed quickly to know the treatment for it.
People with diabetes cannot produce or respond to insulin hormone which is responsible for regulating the blood sugar levels in your body. The two important hormones: estrogen and progesterone can get imbalanced due to improper sugar levels in the body leading gynecological issues and pink discharge.
C. Liver or Kidney Disease
In advance stages, liver or kidney (like gall stones) can also cause abnormal vaginal discharge. But before getting into a conclusion, it is better to observe other symptoms like pain, fever, weakness and others. A medical examination and doctor consultation can be helpful to draw a conclusion.
Other diseases that can lead to pink discharge include vesicovaginal or rectovaginal fistula, hematopoietic and other pathologies.
9. Pink Discharge Due to Medical Side Effects
Drugs like anti-depressants and corticosteroids can lead to pink discharge few days before your menstruation starts. It a very common occurrence which you don’t have to worry about. If you are concerned then talk about the side effect with your doctor.
Tips to Reduce Pink Discharge Occurrence
Though pink discharge (in some cases) is normal, you can take certain precautions to reduce its occurrence. Some of them include…
- Avoid douching. Though it considered a normal process by most of the women, douching can irritate the vagina walls and lead to pink discharge.
- Avoid taking stress to keep pink discharge at bay. Try to hit the gym, speak to loved one or enroll for meditation classes to control the stress.
- Consume a healthy diet with nutritious foods. Avoid skipping meals as it can lead to pink spotting before or between the periods.
- Eat yogurt or use it clean the vagina. It introduces lactobacillus (good bacteria) into vagina which keeps yeast or fungus infection growth at bay.
- Make sure you are fully lubricated before having an intercourse. Little or no lubrication can lead to tiny tears in the vagina and the yeast can access these places to grow into an infection. If you are not lubricating enough, then use lubricants as intercourse can rupture the blood vessels in the vaginal walls leading to bloody discharge.
- Avoid using aspirin or any other medication that contain aspirin as it can lead to blood thinning. If you are already spotting then it can increase the amount of the discharge or lengthen the period.
- Never miss the prescribed birth control medications. If you are spotting then talk to your gynecologist.
- Go for regular gynecological checkups as it can help in finding any issues in earlier stages.
- Maintain a healthy weight which allows your body to have natural control over the body processes.
- Maintain a menstrual cycle log to understand how your body behaves and never overlook any problems emerging.
When to see a doctor
If you are having pink spotting right before your periods then there is nothing to worry. However, in some cases, it is better to consult a doctor for medical help. Below are some of the cases…
- If you are having normal menstrual cycle but experiencing pink discharge for the first time.
- If the discharge has unfamiliar odor.
- If the discharge is accompanied with pain, fever, rashes, nausea and other discomforts.
- If you are experiencing discharge after menopause.
Certain cases like ovulation or implantation are considered normal to spot pink or brown discharge. So, don’t worry. However if you have any other discomforts along with it or in doubt of another internal cause then consult a doctor who would be helpful in guiding you the right way.
If you have any other queries then write to us in the comment section below. We love to hear your experiences and answering to your concerns.