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Vaginal discharge is a common occurrence among women. Brown discharge may not be normal, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. Slight changes in the color and consistency of vaginal discharge are normal at different points in the menstrual cycle, but when accompanied by unusual symptoms such as abdominal or pelvic pain, odor or abnormal bleeding, medical attention is advised.
Causes of brown discharge range from mild to severe and can include the following:
Since abnormal, brown discharge can indicate an STD, it’s important to have STD testing performed, especially for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Left untreated, these two STDs can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancies. If your STD tests return negative, a doctor can determine other causes of brown discharge.
When caused by an STD, antibiotics can cure the infection and alleviate symptoms. Remember—STD testing must be performed to determine the proper treatment, since all STDs require different treatment. If abnormal discharge is caused by a condition other than STDs, a doctor can recommend treatment.