Black Vaginal Discharge: 13 Top Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What does black discharge mean?

A black vagina discharge means that your vaginal secretion or cervical mucus is mixed with old blood that has turned black. This discharge could be stringy, clumpy, watery, thick, gooey with strong smell or without smell. 

A blackish discharge could occur before period, after period, during period and even between periods.

A normal vaginal discharge ranges from clear to yellowish creamy color.  The color, consistency, texture of your cervical mucus changes with response to your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels through out your menstrual cycle.

The purpose of a normal and healthy cervical discharge is to:

  • Helps to keep the vaginal healthy
  • Provide lubrication during intercourse
  • Protects from irritation and infection

A discharge that is itchy, smelly or green in color is a sign of an infection.

Causes of Black Vaginal Discharge

A black brown discharge is caused by a variety of reasons. It is nothing to worry about when it is a retained blood from previous menstrual cycle that is mixed with cervical fluid.

But most times a dark vaginal discharge is a sign that you should see the doctor for a further investigation.

Here are the reasons why your clear or white discharge can turn to black.

1. Implantation

Implantation occurs around 6 to 12 days after ovulation when the released egg has been fertilised by a sperm.

Implantation bleeding or spotting is one of the very first signs of pregnancy.  

After fertilisation occurs in the fallopian tube​.  The egg divides into multiple cells called blastocyst while travelling down the fallopian into the uterus(womb).

It takes the blastocyst 6-7 days to arrive in the uterus. The blastocyst is  tasked with the responsibility of attaching itself to the lining of the walls of the uterus(the endometrium).

It does this by digging or burrowing through the uterus lining to bury itself.

This process is known as implantation and it is usually accompanied by light spotting and cramping.

Implantation bleeding color is usually pinkish or bright red to indicate its freshness.

But there are times this blood turns dark red or blackish brown when delayed in the uterus ​before passing through the vagina.

Take a pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy after a missed period. If you have a negative pregnancy test see your doctor to investigate further.

Other early pregnancy symptoms are: implantation cramping, frequent urination, food craving and aversion, breast tenderness and soreness.

2. A Foreign object in the Vagina

Another reason why your discharge may turn black is an introduction of a foreign object into the vagina, cervix or uterus.

Foreign objects such as condom and tampons are mostly culprits.​

When a forgotten tampon is left in the vagina it causes a dark stinky discharge.

Leaving a tampon for too long in the vagina can cause an infection and toxic shock syndrome(TSS).

It is also possible for a condom to slip and get stuck in the vagina during intercourse. If left in the vagina for a long time, it results in a discharge with a foul smell.

3. Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer also known as the cancer of the cervix is a possible cause of a black or dark vaginal discharge.

It arises when cells grow abnormal in the cervix. The cervix is the entrance of the womb that connects the vagina to the uterus(womb).

Other symptoms of cervical cancer are: abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex, bleeding during menopause and pelvic pain.

4. Birth Controls

Women use birth controls to prevent pregnancy. There are various types of birth controls such as IUD, pills, implants, patches, shot, tubal litigation e.t.c.

Some women see black blood or blackish vaginal discharge while on birth control in the middle of their cycle.

Black or brown discharge is a common side effect of birth control pills, implants nexaplanon, IUD such as mirena.

Many women using mirena have black gooey discharge after mirena IUD insertion.

Here is an example of a worried woman:

I wiped today and I had dark dark gooey discharge. This is so random cause my period isn't due for a while. And my spotting has stopped already. It's so gross. I have the mirena.

See a gynaecologist immediately if this happens.

5. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is also known as chocolate cyst.

It is a condition that happens when the tissues that line the uterus are found outside the uterus in other places such as the fallopian tube, ovaries, pelvis.

Normally during menstruation, the uterus contracts to expel blood and tissues that line the uterus.

The tissues that have spread outside the uterus to other reproductive organs are unable to be expelled.

They form thick black blood in the reproductive organ which causes constant pelvic and lower abdominal pain.

The stuck old black blood can sometimes be mixed with cervical discharge forming a black grainy discharge.

Other symptoms of endometriosis are: prolong period, painful period(dysmenorrhea), excessive bleeding and heavy periods.

6. Ovarian Cyst

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on the ovary.

Ovarian cysts are common and they do not usually cause any symptoms.​

An ovarian cyst rupture can lead to a thicker black reddish discharge. This is due to the left over blood from the rupture.

See your doctor immediately if this happens 

7. End of Period

A black blood or discharge is common during the end of your menstrual period.

When this happens, it means your uterus is not expelling its blood as fast as possible.

The longer a blood stays in the uterus before been expelled, the darker it becomes. The blood becomes oxidised turning it to a darker color.

A bright red blood means the uterus is expelling its discharge at a normal or faster rate. Hence the blood is fresh and still bright in color.

Black mucus discharge can also be noticed several days after period has ended.

8. Retained Blood from previous cycle

Black discharge is also possible just before your period starts. This is the uterus expelling retained old blood from the last cycle that didn't get expelled out.

Retained blood can be caused by uterine incapacity. Uterine incapacity is the inability of the uterus to expel all its blood and tissue during a menstrual period duration.

The left over blood can sometimes be expelled with cervical mucus days or weeks after period or days or weeks before period.

9. Miscarriage

A miscarriage is a loss of pregnancy during the first 24 weeks.

Many women who have early miscarriages in the first trimester are unaware they are pregnant until the have an abnormal vaginal bleeding with white or grey tissues.

A black blood or chunky discharge with grey tissues is a sign of miscarriage. It is usually accompanied with lower back pain and abdominal cramping. 

10. PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)

A pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the upper part of the female genital tract such as the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Symptoms of PID are: thick black discharge, black green or yellow discharge, pain in lower abdomen, heavy and painful periods.

Women with IUD are at a higher risk of having PID​.

11. STD (Sexually transmitted disease)

Sexually transmitted infection(STI) is also large responsible for abnormal vaginal discharge that is itchy with odor or no odor.

The color of abnormal discharge can be yellow, green, brown, pink, purple and black.

Common causes of abnormal discharge are: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, bacteria vaginosis, trichomoniasis and herpes. 

Yeast infection is caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina. ​ Yeast infection is a fungal infection, but it can also be transmitted sexually.

12. Stress

Stress not only disrupts the female menstrual cycle, it can also cause a brown to almost black discharge.

When stressed, your body produces cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released into the blood stream to help you cope with stress.

This affects the production of estrogen and progesterone hormone.​

Light or dark spotting or discharge can be caused by experiencing a stressful situation or events.

13. Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraceptions such as morning after pill(Plan B) can also lead to black brown discharge during period or in between periods

How to get rid of Black thick Discharge (home remedies)

Here are some natural home remedies to get rid of a thick, sticky or black watery discharge.

1. Eat a diet

Consuming a lot of processed foods can mess up with your hormones and menstrual cycle.

The color of your cervical mucus and ​period can help tell how healthy you are.

Eating a balanced diet with foods rich in magnesium and calcium can help with your over all health.

Add the following fruits and nuts to your diet:

  • Banana​
  • Ginger
  • Avocado
  • coconut
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Okra

2. Relieve stress

Try to cut down on stressful situations in your life. If possible take a break or a vacation.

Stress can affect ones overall health including ability to get pregnant, ovulate and menstruate.

3. Have Orgasm regularly

Orgasm causes healthy hormones and the uterus to contract.

The more you have orgasm, the more your uterus contracts after sex to help expel trapped old blood.​

Black Brown Discharge between periods

​Blackish or brownish discharge between periods is caused many female gynaecological diseases and conditions.

Women in the perimenopause phase or using birth controls commonly experience light or dark spotting between their periods.

See the doctor if this happens.​

Learn More About blackish discharge

Black bloody Discharge before period

Black blood discharge before period can be old blood leaving the uterus.

If the blood last for just a few hours and it is light, it can be a sign of early pregnancy caused by bleeding during implantation.

Black Jelly Discharge instead of period

A black jelly discharge instead of your period can be a sign of miscarriage or blood clots being expelled from your uterus.

See your health care provider immediately.​

Black Stringy discharge in early pregnancy 

A light dark discharge instead of period may mean you are pregnant.

Nevertheless​, see a doctor if the flow to find out why your implantation bleeding is black.

Is dark discharge a sign of cervical cancer?

Yes! cervical cancer can be accompanied by an abnormal discharge and vaginal bleeding.

Does Birth control make your discharge black?

Yes women on birth control have complained about black period blood. 

See a doctor if you are using an hormonal birth control and you experience an abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge​

In conclusion a black discharge can happen after D&C abortion, after having a baby, before first period, in early pregnancy, in late pregnancy, two weeks after period, two weeks before period and in between periods

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