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Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Mar 25, 20227 min read

Causes of pink discharge

The information provided herein does not constitute an expert or medical advice, nor intended to replace such advice.


Vaginal discharge affects most women at different points in their lives, and it can have many different characteristics that vary from day to day. Some of these characteristics are normal, while others could signal that something is wrong with your health, so it’s important to learn how to tell the difference. 

Keep reading to learn more about the causes of pink discharge.

What causes pink discharge?

Can birth control cause pink discharge?

Yes. In some cases, birth control can cause light spotting between periods, which can look like you have pink discharge. This is also known as breakthrough bleeding. According to the Mayo Clinic, breakthrough bleeding can happen when you take any type of birth control pill, but it’s more likely if you’re taking continuous or extended-cycle birth control regimens.

Breakthrough bleeding is more common in the first few months after starting a new type of hormonal contraceptive, and in most cases, it will resolve on its own. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider if the spotting continues after the first six months of use, lasts longer than 7 straight days, or turns into heavy pink discharge or bleeding.

Light pink bleeding between periods 

Not all causes of pink discharge are related to hormonal changes. In some cases, pink spotting or discharge could be related to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Different STIs can lead to inflammation and pink discharge. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, spotting or bleeding between periods can be a symptom of:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • HPV
  • Trichomoniasis

It’s not uncommon for STIs to be accompanied by other signs, such as foul-smelling discharge, lower abdominal pain, and painful urination and intercourse. So if you’re experiencing light pink smelly discharge or other symptoms, you should take an STD test to rule out possible infections. STDs can also cause light pink blood after intercourse. At-home STD tests are an affordable and comfortable option to get tested.

Ovulation pink discharge

Some women notice that they’re spotting pink around the time of ovulation. Ovulation bleeding or spotting is typically caused by changes in your estrogen and progesterone levels during ovulation, but not all women experience this sign. 

As your body gets ready for ovulation, estrogen levels rise continuously. After ovulation, estrogen levels decrease sharply while progesterone levels increase. These changes can cause some light bleeding or spotting around day 14 of your cycle. Ovulation bleeding is typically very mild, and it can look like a bit of watery pink discharge, or simply some light pink blood when you wipe and aren’t pregnant. 

Implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding can be one of the first signs of pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, implantation bleeding is defined as a small amount of bleeding that can happen 10 to 14 days after conception. This bleeding happens when the fertilized egg burrows itself into the endometrium, or lining of the uterus. 

Implantation bleeding can look like bright pink period blood, brown discharge, or it can also be so light that you’ll only notice some light pink blood when you wipe. Other women never notice any implantation bleeding, which is also normal. If you’re sexually active and experience a missed period and pink discharge, it may be a good idea to take a pregnancy test.

Menopause pink discharge

According to the Cleveland Clinic, postmenopausal bleeding is defined as vaginal bleeding or spotting that happens a year or more after your last period. Postmenopausal bleeding can look like light pink discharge when you wipe, spotting, or bleeding.

Postmenopausal bleeding has many possible causes, and you’ll be relieved to know that most of them are benign. Common causes include endometrial polyps, fibroids, and vaginal dryness. However, it’s still important to seek medical attention if you experience light pink discharge after menopause, since it could also be related to certain types of cancer.

Additionally, even when postmenopausal bleeding comes from a benign cause, medical treatment can still help manage these symptoms so you can be more comfortable.

Pregnancy complications

Spotting pink could also be a sign of pregnancy complications. Bleeding during pregnancy can look like bright red blood, but also like light pink blood with small clots or without them. Since this sign is so variable, you should always keep an eye out for unusual bleeding or spotting. 

According to the American Pregnancy Association, spotting during the first trimester is relatively common; however, there shouldn’t be enough blood to fill a panty liner. Spotting or bleeding shouldn’t occur during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. 

If you’re pregnant and experience pink discharge and cramps, bleeding, or contractions, you should seek immediate medical assistance. In many cases, your doctor will determine that there’s nothing to worry about and you just need to get some rest — but on this topic, it’s always better to play it safe.

You can learn more about other types of discharge and more reproductive health topics at STDWatch.com.


Is breakthrough bleeding more common with extended-cycle birth control pills, such as Seasonale and others? - mayoclinic.org

Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis - acog.org

Is implantation bleeding normal in early pregnancy? - mayoclinic.org

Postmenopausal Bleeding - my.clevelandclinic.org

Spotting During Pregnancy - americanpregnancy.org

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