What It Means If You Have Black Vaginal Discharge

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black vaginal discharge

Black. It's the fashion world's favorite color. Every woman knows that having a little black dress in her closet is basically mandatory. Feeling gothic? Apply a nice matte black lipstick and you'll have eyes fixed to your pucker all day long.

Black is powerful; it is the absence of all light, it goes with everything, and it hides a myriad of sins. But there's one place you never want to see the color black: when you pull down your underwear. 

Most cis-women are used to finding surprising things happening between their legs. From different types of vaginal discharge to menstruation, sometimes it can feel like the vagina is a treasure trove of oddities just waiting around to see how much you can take. Seeing red once a month is all well and good, but what about seeing black vaginal discharge painting your drawers the next time you head for the bathroom?


RELATED: 9 Things Your Vaginal Secretions Can Tell You About Your Body And Your Health


Before you starting writing your will, take a big deep breath. Why? Well, because, believe it or not, having black vaginal discharge isn't unusual and it isn't a death sentence. There are many different reasons for your body to start producing black vaginal discharge, and here are the most common.

Remember, if you feel like something isn't right in your body, see your doctor! Regular visits to your OB/GYN aren't just great for preventative medicine, they can give you an opportunity to open up about all sorts of concerns with your doctor. Trust us, she's heard it all! 

1. Implantation bleeding 

In 30 percent of all pregnancies, women notice light pink blood that was caused when their fertilized egg implanted itself into the walls of the uterus. In some cases, the blood can be light enough that it takes a long time to work its way out of your body.

When that happens — presto! — black vaginal discharge. Welcome to the gnarly and wonderful world of being pregnant. 

2. A random object 

Believe it or not, this happens all the time. Condoms, tampons, and all sorts of things can get "forgotten" inside of a woman's vagina

If something stays inside there long enough, it can lead to an infection which can lead to black vaginal discharge. If you suspect that you've got something stuck and it's caused an infection, you should go to the doctor to have it removed as you may also need a course of antibiotics. 

3. End of period 

At the end of your period, it's totally normal for your blood to turn into a darker color. That's because the lining and mucus being expelled from your body has reached the tail end and has had time to mix with your other discharge, creating a brown or black mess in your shorts. 

4. Menses 

Okay, the real term for this is "retained menses," and like other items on this list of reasons for black vaginal discharge, it's exactly what it sounds like.  Sometimes (for a variety of reasons), a woman's body will hold on to menses.

This results in the body slowly expelling the older stuff over time, hence its very dark color and usually powerful aroma. 

5. Stress

Is there anything stress CAN'T do to wreck your body? Jeez! When you're stressed out it can wallop your menstrual cycle. How? Well, when you're stressed your body produces cortisol, and cortisol, in turn, affects the production levels of other humans that play a pivotal role in menstruation: progesterone and estrogen. 

What does that lead to? Dark brown or even black vaginal discharge. 

6. Cervical Stenosis 

This is a fancy way of saying that as women age their cervical opening narrows or eventually becomes too narrow for menstrual blood to make its way out of the body, which can lead to black discharge (old blood) and a very bad smell in the old drawers. 

Luckily, if this is your issue, it is treatable. However, there are some women born with this condition and that can sometimes be more difficult to treat. 


RELATED: 5 Causes Of Vaginal Discharge (And What To Do About Each)


7. PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of the upper reproductive parts of a woman's body including the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Unfortunately, women with IUDs are far more susceptible to this disease than others.

The symptoms include pain during sex, pain during urination, sometimes fever, nausea, and yup, you guessed it, black vaginal discharge. 

8. Ovarian cysts 

Believe it or not, ovarian cysts (exactly what they sound like: cysts in or on your ovaries) are very common, and for most women, they are totally harmless. However, in certain cases, the cysts rupture, and when that happens, you can expect to see dark black vaginal discharge.

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To protect yourself and rule out secondary causes, make sure you visit your doctor if you suspect you have had an ovarian cyst rupture. 

9. STI 

No fun, but true, a common reason for black vaginal discharge can be a sexually transmitted infection. 

Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea, Herpes, and Bacterial Vaginosis (gotta love 'em) can all change the color of your discharge. This is because the infections mess with your body and bacteria changes the color of your discharge. When in doubt, get yourself to the doctor! 

10. Miscarriage 

Many times, a woman can have a miscarriage and not even know it, usually because the bleeding happens to be around when their period was due, or the miscarriage happened early enough in the pregnancy that the bleeding was so light you didn't even notice it. 

Sometimes, a miscarriage can also present as black vaginal discharge. It is also accompanied by a foul aroma. 

11. Cervical cancer 

I'll be real with you: this one is far down on the list for a reason, and that's because it's a bummer. If your black vaginal discharge is due to cervical cancer, it's the most dangerous reason around.

The precancerous symptoms of this disease are a bad smell coming from down below, and bloody discharge. If you have cervical cancer and black discharge is your first symptom, it may have already spread to your other organs. This is why annual gynecological visits are so, so, so important! 


RELATED: What It Really Means If You Have Brown Vaginal Discharge


Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.