Good news – ESSENCE’s “Ask An OB-GYN” series is back to bring you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, renowned Obstetrics and Gynecology physician Dr. Tosha Rogers wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. If you have a sexual health concern or question you want to swing her way, we’ve got you covered. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask An OB-GYN” in the subject line and ask away!
Dr. Tosha Rogers
Q: I’ve been noticing brown spotting between periods. Is this normal, or should I be concerned?
A: Brown spotting between periods is always abnormal. The color is indicative of old blood that could be coming from the vagina, the cervix (tip of the uterus) or even the uterus itself. No matter what the cause, it has to be determined by your gynecologist. The most common cause of this is vaginitis (also know as BV or vaginosis). The blood is from irritation of the cervix from the infection.
The next question that usually follows is, “why does this keep happening to me?” Well, the common cause is irritation caused by personal hygeine products that altar the vaginal PH. I tell my patients to NEVER use following things in their vaginal area: bubble baths, liquid soaps like body wash, perfumed soaps, deodorant soap, feminine wash, baby wipes, etc. I recommending sticking to Dove white bar soap only (be careful to never clean the inside of your vagina with the soap). Also, don’t ever shampoo your hair in the shower.
Other causes for infection could be the following:
– Semen/vaginal fluids from a partner with poor dietary habits
– Untreated medical problems
– Side effects of medications, supplements, etc.
– Lubricants/spermicide used during sex (I usually recommend non-lubricated condoms. If vaginal dryness is an issue, use a silicon-based lubricant.)
– Yeast and any other vaginal or cervical infection
The good news is this is not sexually transmitted. So take a deep breath, chill and stop side-eyeing him (disclaimer: he could be cheating, but this is not the way to find out!). Bottom line: go get checked out!