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Experiencing brown discharge. What is causing this?

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Practicing since : 2008
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Hi, I've been experiencing brown discharge and I am a little worried. I am currently in the process of finding a new doctor and setting up an appointment. Just a little history-I've never really had a regular period. Sometimes I'll get it ever month and other times I'll go up to four months without one. My last period was in July.
Posted Wed, 14 Nov 2012 in Menstruation and Miscarriage
Answered by Dr. Asra Ishtiaq Ahmed 46 minutes later
Hello there.

Thanks for writing.

The irregular periods you have mentioned can be due to many reasons.
The main problem you have is delayed periods. I wanted to know if they are heavy also.

The most common cause considering your age is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This is a condition where multiple cysts appear in the ovary with hormonal disturbances. Obesity, pimples and excess hair over face and body are also seen. In case you have any of these, the probability of your delayed periods due to PCOS is more.

The other possibility can be a thyroid disorder particularly hypothyroidism.
Symptoms like irregular periods with fatigue, depression, constipation, dryness of skin are also seen.

Other factors like anxiety, stress and excessive weight gain or weight loss also have affect on periods.

Also wanted to know if you have any breast discharge from nipples as this occurs in raised levels of hormone prolactin.

Since you are having brownish discharge and if it is foul smelling with itching, the probability of genital infections can be kept.

You should fix an appointment for a proper and complete physical examination.
According to your examination , you can get certain hormonal tests along with ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment depends on what is your final diagnosis but one good way of regularizing periods in all conditions is by use of birth control pills.
But definite treatment is also required with these pills. For example, in PCOS metformin is used. In hypothyroidism the treatment is levothyroxine alone which normalizes the thyroid levels and periods.

I hope I have answered your query.
Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Experiencing brown discharge. What is causing this? 8 hours later
I just wanted to follow up.
I am in fact considered obese and I have been getting more pimples recently than I have been before.
I also been feeling depressed but I have also been having these crazy mood swings where I would go from incredibly depressed to really happy in a matter of half an hour or so. I also have very dry skin. I was tested for a thyroid disease in 2011 but they said that my levels were fine.
As for my breast, I get these little bumps that have white stuff inside. I'm not really sure if this is considered discharge or not.
The brownish discharge smells like menstruation and it is not itchy at all. What could cause an infection if I have one?
Thank you for answering my question and thanks in advance for your response.
Answered by Dr. Asra Ishtiaq Ahmed 5 hours later
Hello there.

Thanks for writing back.

Irregular delayed periods are due to ovulation dysfunction which can occur in all the above conditions I mentioned like PCOS, hypothyroidism, prolactin disorders , stress and anxiety. When ovulation (egg release) does not occur, periods do not occur Or sometimes there is just mild spotting or heavy bleed which is due to ovulation abnormality.
In ovulation dysfunction , cycles get prolonged with no menses or spotting which can be like the brown discharge you are having.
Since you have no other problems , I consider it to be your menses which is generally light and in the form of brown spotting.
Infection is unlikely if there is no itching or foul smell.

You have said that you are obese with pimples and mood disorders, which could be all due to Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Depression can be seen due to these problems and also with hypothyroidism. Even if your thyroid was normal last year, but you need to get it re-tested as you are having problems like delayed menses and depression withd dry skin. Also hypothyroidism can co exist with PCOS.

Coming to breast discharge, I meant if you have it from the nipples on squeezing. If not then you need not worry.

I hope you would soon seek a doctor personally and get yourself evaluated and treated for the above conditions.

You are welcome for further queries.

Take care.

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