What Are the Common Causes of Black Vaginal Discharge?

While uncommon, black vaginal discharge is usually no cause for alarm.
Black vaginal discharge may be indicative of cervical cancer.
Black vaginal discharge can be caused by foreign objects that get stuck in the vagina.
Implantation of an embryo can occasionally be the cause of black vaginal discharge, which a pregnancy test can confirm.
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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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While black vaginal discharge is not typical for most women, its occasional appearance is rarely cause for alarm. In most cases, it is old blood left over from menstruation or implantation of an embryo. It may also signal a foreign object in the vagina, such as an old tampon or condom, a problem that is usually quickly remedied by a doctor removing the item. In some cases, though, black vaginal discharge is a sign of cervical cancer, which is why any abnormal vaginal discharge should be reported to a doctor unless the cause is immediately obvious.

One of the most common reasons for black vaginal discharge is that old blood was stuck in the cervix. In general, the darker the blood is, the longer it has been in the cervix, and it is normal for some blood from menstruation to take days or even weeks to make its way out of the vagina. If the menstrual period is late and the black vaginal discharge is present instead, it could be implantation bleeding. This occurs once an egg is fertilized, creating an embryo that implants in the uterine lining; this can draw blood that may be pink, brown or black, depending on how old it is. Once implantation has occurred, a home pregnancy test should be accurate.

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Some women may have a foreign object in their vagina that they do not notice until they see black vaginal discharge. The item that is most commonly stuck in the vagina is a forgotten tampon, though condoms may also slip off and become hidden inside. When this is the case, the discharge is often accompanied by an unpleasant odor. Patients can try to remove the object on their own, but a doctor can also do the job. In most cases, there are no lasting consequences once the foreign object is removed, and the discharge should stop soon after removal.

Cervical cancer is a possible, though rare, cause of black vaginal discharge. This is because one of the main symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which describes bleeding after menopause and between menstrual periods in women of childbearing age. In many cases, the bleeding is accompanied by a foul odor, especially if the blood has been in the cervix for a while, which would be the reason it has turned black. Women should be aware that cervical cancer often has few — if any — symptoms, so while it is unlikely that this is the cause of black vaginal discharge, the issue should be checked out by a doctor.

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Discuss this Article

xylegenezide
Post 17

I have had a brownish black slimy vaginal discharge every day for two months now. Sometimes it is accompanied by a little fresh blood. My menstruation is regular and I am 33 years old.

I have not had sex in four months. I didn't feel anything was wrong with my body, but this discharge alarms me. I need advice. Please help!

anon947218
Post 16

I have a brownish black slimy discharge everyday sometimes accompanied by so little fresh blood, but no foul odor,for two months now..I didn't feel anything wrong so far..My menstruation is regular and i am 33 years old...Should it be alarming??? Please help!

--xyle--

anon934051
Post 15

I'm 23, and I've had this on and off for a few years with it becoming more progressively routine of almost always having a very dark brown or black discharge that smells worse is but still gross like menstrual blood.

I'm going to a doctor in a few weeks and I know there are no objects in my vagina from self-checking. Do I need to be seriously concerned?

anon351375
Post 14

I am 21 years old. I have been having brown vaginal discharge (very little every day) for more than 10 days now. I had sex for the first time in the middle of last month. I was supposed to get my period a few days later. However I did not get it then, but I might have been a little stressed out at that point of time. But since early this month, there has been some brown discharge and it is not at all like my normal period. It is very different in color and the amount is very very less. Also, I have taken two pregnancy tests, and both were negative. Should I be worried?

anon349723
Post 13

I had unprotected sex when I just ended my period close to one and a half months back. Then recently, I have been having dark brown (close to black) discharge. It has been going on for close to three weeks now. For the first two weeks it was brown (not dark or light brown, just brown) and so I had a pregnancy test done and result was negative. Then one week ago it became darker in color. I haven't had any cramps or pain anywhere, just the discharge. My period has always been quite irregular as well. Does anyone have any idea what this could be?

anon340487
Post 11

I'm 21 and have had dark brownish red discharge for over a month at this point. The past few days it's been even darker, almost black. I haven't had sex in four months so I highly doubt that I'm pregnant. My last period was at the end of April since I'm on seasonique. The discharge doesn't have an odor but I do have to wear a panty liner. I don't have any other symptoms like pain or itching but I'm starting to get concerned.

anon331846
Post 10

@anon327970: Is probably hormonal imbalance, which can be caused by stress or even something like PCOS. You should visit the doctor. It doesn't mean you are not a virgin or that you did something wrong.

Hormonal imbalance is a very common cause of this discharge, so you should check that out.

anon327970
Post 9

I am 17 and I am a virgin. For about a week now some brown discharge has been coming out and I really don't know why, my period isn't for another week. I am scared to ask my mom questions because I don't want her to start freaking out or completely blow it off as nothing. Can someone please help me?

anon325124
Post 8

I am trying to get pregnant and now my period is five days late. Today I have had vaginal discharge. It looks white at the top and the bottom is red. The inside of it is dark red. Is this a sign of pregnancy or a period sign. I haven't had bleeding today.

Elven
Post 7

This said something like a tampon or a condom might be stuck inside or something, with an egg being fertilized. This makes no sense to me because I am 16, I am a virgin and I never use tampons.

I've had this weird black gooey stuff coming out of my vagina for about two days now and got my period about three weeks ago. Should I tell my mom if this keeps happening so I can go see a doctor?

amypollick
Post 5

@anon301987: Get a home pregnancy test.

anon301987
Post 4

About four or five months ago, I started on the pill. Recently, within the past month and a half, I haven't been taking them and my boyfriend and I have had unprotected sex a few different times. However, a week ago tomorrow I was supposed to start my period. I thought I started it because some brown fluid came out. However, once I changed my tampon four hours later it was like black tar and not very much. This went on for three days. Tonight, I had this clump of gooey brownish-clearish discharge about the size of a quarter and my breasts and nipples hurt, but no blood yet.

anon295159
Post 3

I'm 17, I could really use advice if anyone is out there to offer it.

I (not using my best judgment) had a lot of unprotected sex in which he did not pull out, and I'm not on the pill. We were doing this before my period and after my period, which ended about seven to nine days ago from this day. My period isn't expected for about another three to nine days (it comes early sometimes) but two days ago I was trying to do a pregnancy test (before I read the instructions that said I needed to wait for it to be accurate) and black discharge came out -- not brown or red, but pure black. Today I have a lot of pain in my ovaries and there is a light amount of reddish-brownish-pinkish discharge. Any idea what's going on? Help, please.

MissDaphne
Post 2

@ElizaBennett - I had some almost black vaginal discharge while I was pregnant and it was quite scary! Usually when you call your OB to say that you have such-and-such a symptom, they tell you it's normal. But for that, they brought me in to the office to make sure that it wasn't something serious.

Fortunately, it turned out to be just old blood from the cervix. Evidently during pregnancy, your cervix has more blood supply than usual so it's more susceptible to bruising. Sex, exercise, etc. can cause it to bleed. But it is more common for this spotting to be pink or brown in color, which is why they wanted to make sure.

ElizaBennett
Post 1

Just to be clear, implantation bleeding can occur either before or after you expect your period. In fact, if you know exactly when you ovulated, it will probably occur before your period would begin as implantation usually takes place 6-12 days after fertilization (which happens with 24 hours of ovulation), and most women get their periods 14 days after ovulation.

Implantation bleeding can pretty much any color except bright red. It's usually going to be somewhere in the pink or brown spectrum, though. Don't assume that an unusually dark vaginal discharge is caused by implantation bleeding -- even if you've had a positive pregnancy test. Call your doctor ASAP!

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