Occasionally experiencing a light brown mucus discharge usually signifies no cause for alarm, but if it appears regularly then it would be wise to make an appointment with your doctor. A normal discharge will usually look white or clear. Unusual discharge colors include yellow, green or gray. When unusual discharge has a foul odor it could be an indication of an infection. Brown mucus discharge could be from the following:
- Following Periods: This is probably old blood leaving your vagina. This is nature's way of cleaning up remnants of tissue and blood left over from menstruation.
- Ovulation: Ovulation occurs more or less two weeks after a period. At this time vaginal discharge will be clear. Sometimes, mild bleeding or spotting could occur. Speak to your doctor about this.
- Following Sex: Sexual intercourse sometimes causes mild irritation within the vagina. Brownish blood that follows sex could indicate bleeding that occurred in the vagina that dried before coming out the vagina. Any significant pain or bleeding following intercourse should be checked out by a medical professional in case there is an infection.
- Infection: Several infections could cause a brown mucus discharge, odor or even pain. This includes sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts and pelvic inflammatory diseases. A routine pelvic exam will help in identifying any infection before it gets out of hand and causes more severe complications.
- Other Spotting: Bleeding following childbirth is normal and could appear brown. If the bleeding is prolonged or has a foul odor a medical professional must treat it. Spotting could occur in-between a menstrual period as a side effect from certain contraceptives.
- Cervical Cancer: In extreme cases, symptoms of cervical cancer could include prolonged and unusual discharge that could appear bloody, pink, watery, pale or brown. Always speak to your doctor to set your mind at ease.