I'm 33 years old and my vagina still baffles me.
I mean, I understand why it exists, I know what it's for, and by and large I can usually wrangle it (unless we're talking about a seriously heavy period arriving when I'm asleep).
But it still surprises me.
Like every so often I'll wipe, look down and wonder "why is my vagina discharge brown?"
I write these things on the internet so that you don't have to.
Having brown vaginal discharge is actually a lot more common than you might think.
So if you're wiping and wondering "why is my vagina discharge brown," more times than you've heard Justin Bieber's song "Sorry" in the past month, don't worry!
You aren't alone.
Here are 6 reasons your vaginal discharge may be brown.
1. You just had your period
After your period it is normal to see brown or brownish vaginal discharge.
Your vaginal discharge will appear darker because it is very, very angry that it had to wait so long to come out of your vagina.
It's true that it is dark because it's been waiting to come out.
If your period ends with darker discharge, that's just older tissue from past periods cleaning itself out.
2. You are ovulating
Sometimes when your body releases an egg, there is a tiny bit of blood that comes with it.
When this small amount of blood mixes with your regular discharge it can change the color.
It's not abnormal to see light or dark brown discharge when you ovulate.
If you ever get angry that your body puts you through hell with this whole producing eggs things, try and remember:
Chickens have to pass entire eggs, dude, and usually, we just eat them for breakfast.
3. You are pregnant
If you are pregnant and notice brown discharge don't panic.
Some women experience something called implantation bleeding early in pregnancy when the fertilized egg takes its place in the uterus.
This bleeding is similar to the brown discharge produced during ovulation.
However, sometimes dark brown discharge occurring later in the pregnancy can indicate a problem with your placenta.
Either way, consult your doctor to be sure.
4. You are on birth control
Birth control fucks with your shit.
There's no nice way to say it.
Wait, yes there is, I'm a writer.
Birth control can affect the color of your vaginal discharge because of how it changes your hormonal levels.
Irregular periods are also common on birth control.
Bam, nailed it!
5. You are entering menopause
If television has taught me anything about menopause (and it most certainly has not) your air conditioning bill is about to go through the roof.
Just before menopause your body's hormonal makeup is drastically changing.
It's not abnormal during perimenopause to see vaginal discharge that is brown, pink, or even yellow.
6. You are sick
Your vaginal discharge turning brown can also be a sign that you aren't healthy.
Bacterial vaginosis, STIs, cervical cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease all include brown discharge as one of their symptoms.
When in doubt always see a doctor.
Your body is, as John Mayer once said, a wonderland.
Your vagina is that wonderland's self-cleaning oven.
If you notice something going awry and it's got you worried, don't ever be embarrassed to ask for help.