A pink vaginal discharge is typically caused when your natural discharge contains a small amount of blood. In most cases this is a sign that a woman is about to start her period, but in some cases this can be a sign that something else is going on. It can be a sign that a woman is pregnant or ovulating among other conditions. Considering your other symptoms will help you evaluate why you are experiencing this discharge and what you should do, if anything, to address it.
What Causes Pink Discharge?
A number of conditions can cause blood to mix with the vagina's natural discharge. In most cases this is normal, but you should evaluate your other symptoms to help ensure that you do not require medical attention.
- Ovulation-Around two weeks after the last menstrual period a woman will experience ovulation. This is the point where the ovarian follicle ruptures and an egg is released. The egg will create a small hole which can cause some blood to leak into the vagina. This bleeding is typically very minor and only lasts a few hours. As the body's hormone levels increase during ovulation it can also cause spotting. This is typically a sign that a woman is very fertile and nothing to be concerned about.
- Pregnancy-If an egg becomes fertilized it will imbed itself in the lining of the uterine lining around 1-2 weeks later. This will cause some of the blood that makes up this lining to break loose and fall into the vagina. As this blood makes its way through the cervix it can mix with the vagina's natural discharge, causing it to turn a pinkish color. This spotting may also appear dark brown depending on the age of the blood.
- Menstruation-If a woman does not become pregnant during her ovulation cycle, the body will release the unfertilized egg along with the unused uterine lining. As menstruation begins the blood may be released lightly. Many women will mistake ovulation for this spotting before their period starts. You can differentiate a pink discharge associated with menstruation because this will slowly build to a heavier flow.
- Infections-In rare cases infections of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries can cause pink or red discharge to appear. Some sexually transmitted diseases can cause discoloration of the vaginal discharge. If a woman determines that she is not pregnant, menstruating or ovulating she should visit her doctor to determine if she has an STD.
- Afterbirth Bleeding-Those that have just given birth can frequently experience discharge afterward. As the baby is pushed out of the vagina it can push a great deal of tissue as well. A woman will frequently experience bleeding or discharge as her body heals. This can last for several days with the discharge gradually lightening in color. If you continue to experience heavy bleeding or you experience severe pain after giving birth you may have an issue that requires medical attention.
- Contraceptives-As a woman begins using contraceptives such as implants or birth control pills it can cause the body to experience spotting. The hormones in the contraceptives can interrupt your natural cycle as the body becomes used to the medication, causing spotting between periods. Implants can also cause spotting as the body becomes used to having an artificial object in the reproduction area. This spotting should be largely random. If the bleeding is also heavy or excessively frequent your doctor may prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms.
When is Pink Discharge Not Normal?
When you see an abnormal discharge coming from the vagina it can be easy to panic. It is easy to worry but most of the time the discharge is perfectly normal.
The body typically discharges around 2-3 grams of mucus every day. If the body is also experiencing vaginal bleeding this can cause the mucus to turn pink. The chances of this increases if you are sexually excited as the body naturally increases its mucus levels to provide lubrication.
When to Worry
If you experience pinky discharge for a long period of time it can be a sign that a more serious condition. This may be a sign that the vulva or vagina is inflamed, typically due to a sexually transmitted disease. If the color of the discharge begins to turn progressively darker it can be a sign that you may have a cancerous tumor or vaginitis.
You should also consult your doctor if you started experiencing this abnormal discharge after having unprotected sex. If the discharge contains a great deal of blood but you are not on your period this can also be a concern, especially if these side effects are accompanied by abdominal pain.
You should also let your doctor know if you experience a discharge that is very thick and white or green. If your discharge is itchy or foul smelling, often taking on a fishy odor, this can be a sign that you have a serious infection. Also keep an eye out for sores on the genitals that can be a sign that you are experiencing an infection.