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Brown Spotting (Discharge) Before Period

Updated on January 22, 2012

I've received a number of emails asking me to write an article on the brown spotting some women experience just before their period starts. Since I happen to be someone who also experiences this, I reckon I might as well address the issue. Before I begin, please note that this is not a means to diagnose yourself and any vaginal issues you might currently be having. Brown spotting can indicate several issues, and this article is mainly going to focus on the most benign cause. To learn more, keep reading on!

Personally, I have been experiencing this since the days when I first started menstruating. A light brown colored spot of blood before your period begins may simply be old blood from your last cycle, which is finally making it's way out. Brown blood could indicate other things, of course, so you really should have yourself checked out if this is a sudden or new experience for you. In my case, it's always been like this for me, and I've always had normal PAP results, so clearly brown blood before the start of period can be perfectly normal and benign.



Spotting doesn't mean menstruating. If you have nothing but brown blood during your menstrual cycle, this is probably not just old blood and you should see your doctor right away. Spotting can be anything from a a few spots to a bit more, but shouldn't resemble your period. And once your period starts the color should be obviously red and the brown ought to be gone within a day or so. Also, this sort of spotting shouldn't take place every day between cycles. Mine usually starts 2-3 days before, and in my case, I don't spot at all at the end of my cycle, but some women do. Some women spot in between cycles as well, but you should not spot every day, as I've said.


Brown blood is old blood, which you've probably noticed at some point in your life if you've ever had a cut. This brown should be somewhere between light and medium colored -- though I have noticed it can appear darker if you're using certain types of maxi pads that have organic cotton, as it absorbs differently.


Most of the time, in my experience, it's a light, watery texture. But when I use the pads I mentioned above, it can seem to be more thick -- again, I am sure it has something to do with the absorption properties, as when I switched back to the other pads, everything else went back to being the same as well.


There shouldn't be an unusual odor with this type of spotting. If you're experiencing a foul odor or any physical discomfort, see your doctor right away.


Some women get hysterical at the sight of brown spotting because they think it means they are pregnant and are seeing implantation bleeding. And yeah, it could be that. But it could also just be regular spotting!


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