Pink Discharge Before Period: Causes of Light Brown Spotting 2, 3, 4 Days Earlier

What does it mean to get a pink discharge before period? Light pink spotting 2, 3, 4 days to one week before your period starts can mean a less serious cause or something more serious such as cancer of the cervix.

In most cases, light pink to pink brown mucus is premenstrual bleeding and should not be a cause for concern. But when it recurs and is accompanied by a foul odor and other unusual symptoms, it could be a sign of a developing disease or infection. You should see a doctor immediately.

What does it mean?Pink discharge before period

When you get a slimy mucus or a pink watery discharge before your period starts, you could be experiencing a normal stage of the menstrual cycle or are having a disease develop in the reproductive system.

  • The pink discharge before period means that your normal discharge has some fresh blood in it.
  • The normal cervical mucus before menstruation should be colorless to a cloudy color without any other color.
  • Pink brown or a dark pink tinge in your vaginal discharge before menstruation is due could mean your period is just starting. If this is so, there’s nothing to worry about.

When you notice a major color change in your normal discharge, it means there is an underlying issue. Most cases would not require the attention of a doctor but if the discharge is accompanied with an odor or other major symptoms such as fever, you need to have it checked.

Causes

[clickToTweet tweet=”the most common causes of a pink discharge before period include ovulation, early period, cancer or even the effect of your birth control pills or shot.” quote=”Some of the most common causes of a pink discharge before period include ovulation, early period, cancer or even the effect of your birth control pills or shot.” theme=”style2″] Let’s look at each of the possible causes in detail below.

1. Ovulation spotting

Ovulation is the process by which the ovaries release mature eggs towards the uterus. This process involves the rupture of the ovary to release the mature egg into the ovarian cavity.

Pink discharge before period starts
Ovulation bleeding.

The process of ovulation is associated with the release of some blood which mixes with the normal discharge to create a pink discharge.

Given that the ovulation process takes place between the periods (mid cycle between days 12 to 16), it will occur about two weeks to the period. Purely hormonal changes will also lead to the same light pink spotting during ovulation. Some women may feel a mild abdominal pain when ovulating accompanied with light blood spots.

2. Menstruation

The pink discharge before period can also be a sign that your period is almost about to begin. While the discharge in a period is heavy and dark brown in color, a light pink discharge is often the first stage of the discharge.

With time, the period will increase in amount and change the color to a dark brown one to symbolize the period is in full swing. If the pink discharge occurs just a few days to your next period, it is simply a sign your period is about to start. Watch out for other PMS symptoms to be sure about it.

3. Early pregnancy sign

Is light pink discharge a sign of pregnancy? Could I be pregnant? It is possible. Spotting a few days before your next menstruation could also be implantation bleeding.

Therefore, it is also likely that the pink spotting before period is due to an early pregnancy. After fertilization of the mature egg, it will move to the walls of the uterus where it will implant itself to grow to a baby.

While the term attaching is used to describe this process, it is more of burrowing than a simple case of attaching to the uterine wall. The burrowing is what leads to a light pink bleeding called implantation bleeding with some pain referred to as implantation cramps.

Not every woman will feel the cramps or see the spotting, however. Implantation spotting occurs about 7 days before the next menstrual period.

Note that you can still get light pink spotting before period and a negative pregnancy test especially if the symptom is caused by something other than implantation.

4. Birth control

In the early stages of using some birth control methods such as Plan B, Minera IUDs and birth control shot and pills, some light spotting is observed. Irregular bleeding and spotting between periods is a common side effect of most birth control methods.

The birth control methods will interrupt the natural cycle of the body hence the bleeding. When you are using IUDs, the body will at first bleed lightly as a response to the foreign body.

In whatever method you will be using to control your natural menstrual cycle, the spotting will be random and will mostly occur in the early stages of the method’s usage.

5. Endometrial inflammation

Also called endometritis, it is a situation in which the endometrium is inflamed due to an infection such as endometriosis. You are likely to feel a lot of pain and occasional bleeding in this case.

Symptoms of endometrial inflammation include abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding that can occur any time of your menstrual cycle, including before your period starts. Other symptoms include abdominal swelling, fever, rectal pain and discomfort when having bowel movements.

6. Cervical cancer

Both endometrial and cervical cancer are likely to cause a light pink discharge before period or such light pink blood spots at any time of your cycle. This discharge will occur mostly in the later stages of the cancer since the early stages have few symptoms.

Cancer is a serious disease affecting a lot of women although the majority of female reproductive system cancer patients are women from the age of 45 upwards. If you think your case could be caused by cervical cancer, see a doctor immediately.

7. Kidney problems

Most kidney problems such as kidney stones are likely to affect most other systems of the body. A pink discharge at any time during the menstrual cycle may be a sign of kidney problems.

It may take a while finding out if it’s a kidney issue as you will need a doctor to add more symptoms of a kidney problem before making this conclusion.

8. Liver diseases

Liver diseases have also been found to cause light spotting in women especially in their advanced stages. Just like in the case of kidney problems, linking a vaginal discharge to a liver disease will require more symptoms being linked to the specific problem at hand rather than making a conclusion basing on a single symptom.

9. Diabetes

Diabetes is when your body is unable to produce and respond to the hormone insulin appropriately. Unknown to many women, the female reproductive system is closely linked to the endocrine system. The important hormones in the female reproductive system such as estrogen and progesterone are resistant to insulin.

Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating the amount of blood sugar you will have. The rise and fall of the estrogen and progesterone hormone levels in the body will thus introduce a conflict in the body. This conflict can be seen in the form of a pink discharge before period starts.

10. Blood clotting problems

The blood clotting disorder is likely to occur if you have a deficiency of vitamin K, have a low count of red blood cells or are on a certain medication that impairs the normal clotting process. Among the most common forms of the blood clotting disorders include von Willebrand’s disease, Factor II, V, VII, X, or XII deficiencies, and hemophilia A and B.

No matter the cause of the blood clotting disorder, a medical doctor needs to be informed of it as soon as possible. Continuous light pink bleeding before menstruation or any time of your cycle can mean your blood has a problem clotting.

11. Fibroids

Fibroids are benign tumors that occur on the walls of the uterus. They also cause pink spotting and can be very painful.

According to UCLA Health, “It is estimated that between 20 to 50 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, although not all are diagnosed.”

Other symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Low back pain
  • Feeling pain during sexual intercourse
  • Unusually frequent urination experiences
  • Abnormal spotting between periods
  • Heavy menses, sometimes prolonged

If your light pink discharge before menstruation is caused by fibroids, your doctor may suggest ignoring them until they shrink on their own. If need be, the growths may be removed through surgical treatment.

12. Cervical erosion

Cervical erosion or cervical ectropion is when cells inside the cervical canal grow out and are found on the outer surface of the cervix.

The erosion of the cervix will lead to a light pink discharge before, between or after the period. Causes of cervical erosion include vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis, STIs, and heavy workouts. There is nothing to worry about when this occurs although the bleeding is not heavy or painful.

In the case of vaginal erosion, you may experience a slight yellow vaginal discharge with pink blood spots caused by pus cells in the cervix.

13. Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg fails to reach the uterus and instead attaches itself on the walls of the fallopian tube. This is a serious medical condition which requires the immediate attention of a doctor.

An ectopic pregnancy will cause a light pink vaginal discharge before period in two ways; one of which is the burrowing of the embryo into the walls of the fallopian tube. Also, given that the fallopian tubes are not structured to hold a pregnancy, bleeding will occur as their walls are stretched out.

Besides the light pink mucus due to an ectopic pregnancy, the walls of the uterus will be shed even when you are pregnant since the body will think the embryo is missing.

14. Medical side effects

When you are taking drugs such as anti-inflammatory (corticosteroids) and antidepressants, you are likely to experience some pink discharge before your menstruation as well. It is a common occurrence which should not worry you.

15. Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances cause so many symptoms in women. When you have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you may experience pink discharge at any time of your menstrual cycle.

Other possible causes of pink mucus before your period starts include the following:

  • Blood-thinning medicine: When you are on a blood thinning dosage with drugs such as Aspirin, Warfarin and Heparin, it is common having a pink discharge at any time.
  • Stress: Having stress can change your body in many significant ways. You may experience pink mucus before period if you are stressed especially for a long time.
  • Light bleeding after pap smear: After a test such as a pap smear, it is not rare to have a pink vaginal spotting afterwards. This is normal.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): This syndrome affects the ovaries and has many different symptoms one of which is abnormal pink discharge at any stage of the menstrual cycle.
  • Perimenopause: As you tend towards menopause, the changes occurring in the body in preparation for the lack of periods often lead to abnormal spotting.
  • Miscarriage: When you experience spotting just before your periods, it may be a case of a miscarriage. If the spotting becomes heavy and is accompanied with abdominal cramps and backache, you need to have it checked by a doctor.

Pink brown discharge before period

Pink brown spotting before period
Pink brown mucus

A pink brown (pinkish brown) before your period is mostly an early sign of the incoming period. Given that the period is of a dark brown color, the pink brown discharge is a sign that the period is about to begin.

When the levels of the hormones in the body change as the period comes close, you may experience some spotting that is pink in color at the beginning. It slowly adopts a brown color as the period takes over.

While the period is the most obvious explanation for the pink brown discharge, you cannot rule out a disease or other such causes.

Light pink spotting

While a pink brown discharge before a period is a sign of an incoming period, a light pink spotting before menstruation can either be a sign of ovulation or implantation.

Light pink discharge before period
Faint pink vaginal mucus before menstruation is due

If the light pink mucus occurs about midway the menstrual cycle (between the 14th and 16th day), it would be ovulation spotting. It simply means that one or both of your ovaries just released an egg(s).

If the light pink blood occurs about a week before the next period (between 20 and 22 days from the previous period), then it would be implantation spotting.

This pink discharge before period starts is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the walls of the uterus where it will develop into a baby for the next 9 months. Both ovulation spotting and implantation spotting may be accompanied with some cramps.

For clarity, here is a timeline of the meaning of a pink discharge from a week to a day before the next period.

A week before menstruation

When discharge occurs a week before the period, then it is highly likely that you are experiencing implantation spotting. This is the exact date for the implantation process takes place as it would be about three weeks (21 days) from the last period and a week (7 days) after the ovulation date.

6 days before period starts

A slight pink discharge before periods that occurs six days before the period is due is also likely to be implantation spotting. It has to be known that no biological process occurs exactly on a specific day.

For this reason, each process is to be allowed at least a day before or after the expected date. In the case of implantation, it is said to occur between the 8th and the 6th day before the next period. Two days on either side of the exact date are also normal.

5 days before

This is the last day you can expect to have implantation cramps and spotting. Given that the process of implantation of the fertilized eggs to the walls of the uterus (or fallopian tube) occurs for about 48 hours, chances of a pregnancy are still high if you observe spotting on the 5th day before the period. Otherwise, it could just be an early sign of the period that is to come.

4 days before menstruation

If the pink discharge occurs four days before your period is due, then you are likely experiencing the early signs of a period.

However, you should observe the exact color of the discharge since it could also be implantation spotting. Some women have reported having implantation spotting and cramps for seven straight days. The problem is that it will be difficult knowing of you are pregnant as even a pregnancy test at this time will not be accurate and may be negative.

3 days earlier

While you cannot rule out a pregnancy, a pink discharge three days before period is more likely a sign of an incoming period. Probably an early period.

1 to 2 days to menses

A pink discharge on the 2nd or last day before the day you are expecting your next period will most likely signify the start of a period.

However, you cannot still rule out a pregnancy given that it can take place from up to 7 days as stated above. The surest way to know is to wait till the period commences

If the vaginal discharge is not replaced by a dark brown flow, then it was a sign of a positive pregnancy. Do not jump into conclusions just yet since -as stated before- the period can still delay for a day or two.

Cramping

When your pink vaginal discharge before periods is accompanied by abdominal cramps, it is a strong sign that you are pregnant as it is the implantation process.

The cramps are referred to as implantation cramps and the pink blood as implantation spotting. Both of these should be mild when compared to the discharge and cramps you experience when on your period.

This should occur from a week to the last day before the period begins to be called implantation. Otherwise, it could be another cause including ovulation (2 weeks before the period), cancer, endometriosis and others.

Am I pregnant?

A pink discharge before your period starts is a strong indication of being pregnant. It is most likely a sign of the implantation process and it may occur for up to seven days before the expected date of the period.

Light pink spotting instead of period

What does light pink period blood mean?

At times, rather than witnessing your normal period, you experience a light pink discharge instead. Putting all other possible causes aside (diseases, stress etc), you are left with a case of a late implantation discharge.

A late implantation discharge will occur when some implantation bleeding is left in the body after the process has already taken place. This could be in the form of slight blood clots just when you expect your monthly period to start.

Since you will be missing your period for being pregnant, you may be confused as to why a light pink discharge has replaced your usually dark brown and heavy discharge. It is a normal occurrence that should not worry you at all.

Treatment and remedies

While it may be a normal discharge, pink vaginal spotting before period may not always be a safe sign and you may need to take a few steps to keep it at bay. Some of the best methods to achieve that include;

  • Eat a balanced diet with all the healthy foods being on the list. If you skip meals or feed on unhealthy foods, you may experience spotting in between periods.
  • Avoid aspirin or any medicines that contain aspirin. This drug component has the effect of thinning the blood thus leading to spotting. If you are already spotting, aspirin can increase the amount of the discharge or lengthen the period of the spotting.
  • Try as much as possible to avoid douching. While most people view it as a natural method to cleanse the vagina, douching can irritate the vagina leading to spotting.
  • Ensure you are fully lubricated before engaging in sexual intercourse. If your natural lubrication is not enough, you can buy water-based lubricants and use them since less than optimal lubrication will often lead to spotting after sex. Besides that, too little lubrication will increase the chances of having infections due to the tears that can be used by microorganisms as entry points into your body.
  • Avoiding stress is also a solution to keeping away spotting unnecessarily. You can find a good gym and sign up for membership since exercises and a healthy lifestyle in general will help you in keeping away most types of spotting.
  • Eat plain yogurt or use it to clean the vagina since it introduces healthy bacteria called lactobacillus. These bacteria ensure no infections grow in the vagina as spotting can also occur due to infections such as yeast.
  • Do not miss prescribed birth control medications or other forms of medication. You can also ask your doctor about changing the birth control method if the spotting occurs too often.
  • Always go for routine gynecological checks such as pap smears as they may find a developing issue before it gets out of hand.
  • Keep a healthy level of weight to allow the body control the natural processes of the body.
  • Have a log of your normal menstrual cycle so that you don’t overlook any problems emerging.

When to see a doctor

If you have a pink discharge before periods, you don’t need to worry. However, here are some cases which may warrant a visit to the doctor when they accompany a pink discharge:

  • If you have been having normal periods but it is the first time you are experiencing such a discharge
  • When the discharge has an unfamiliar odor to it as it could signal an infection.
  • If the color of the discharge is not normal (such as yellow).
  • When the discharge is accompanied by pain and other symptoms such as fever and nausea.
  • When you experience the discharge after menopause. Menopause puts an end to most processes of the menstrual cycle hence no discharges should be expected once it has set in.

Most of the causes of a pink discharge before periods do not have any direct consequences. For example, procedures such as ovulation and implantation are often known through spotting.

References

  1. Spotting – early pregnancy stages or before a period – Huggies
  2. UCLA Health: Fibroids causes, symptoms and treatment options
  3. Brodin, T. Bergh, L. Berglund, N. Hadziosmanovic, and J. Holte, “Menstrual cycle length is an age-independent marker of female fertility: results from 6271 treatment cycles of in vitro fertilization,” Fertility and Sterility, vol. 90, no. 5, pp. 1656–1661, Nov. 2008.

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