Find out from a gynecologist if brown discharge from vaginal atrophy is something to worry about.

“Brown discharge caused by atrophy may be from small abrasions or scratches in dry vaginal tissues,” says Christine O’Connor, MD, FACOG, Director Adolescent Gynecology and Well Woman Care, Weinberg Center for Women’s Health, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.

“This can be treated.”

If you have brown or tan vaginal discharge, you can’t tell simply by looking at it if it’s from vaginal abrasions, minute tears or a more concerning source.

More on Vaginal Atrophy

Declining levels of estrogen as a result of menopause cause the vaginal tissue to dry up. This can cause a very small amount of bleeding — very small — not flowing — and intercourse can bring it on.

The discharge of vaginal atrophy is usually some shade of yellow. Ask your gynecologist to extract a sample for viewing under magnification. This will help with the assessment of what may be causing the discharge.

A brown or tan discharge may be that color due to old blood, and this old blood could be from something going on in your uterus or a pathology with the cervix.

Dr. O’Connor states, “Another cause may be infections or abnormal postmenopausal bleeding.  This brown discharge should be evaluated and mentioned to your doctor.”

Any new-onset discharge in postmenopause (or that which cannot be explained by menstruation during the fertile years) should be brought to the attention of your gynecologist.

Don’t just wait it out and see if it goes away on its own. Unfortunately, a time period during which the discharge has ceased does NOT rule out a malignant tumor.

Furthermore, really foul smelling discharge often means an infection.

Finally, vaginal atrophy, in addition to discharge, often causes itchiness, as well as painful intercourse.

Dr. O’Connor is exceptionally skilled in minimally invasive/endoscopic and robotic surgeries.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.