Tail-end brown bleeding?

October 23, 2009

File this one under: bodily fluids.

I am here to ask a little about our friend — or shall I say, our enemy — tail-end brown bleeding. I know it exists. And I know it’s generally considered Not A Good Thing. But I don’t know exactly what it is or what it indicates.

Oh ye women wiser than me, help me.

What exactly is tail-end brown bleeding? And what does it mean?

Here’s my situation. I have noticed that I have brown spotting at the end of my period. Is this tail-end brown bleeding? I don’t know. I also know that menstrual blood that starts out looking red can look more brown when it has been, err, sitting around or exposed to oxygen for a while. So I don’t know if the brown spotting I am seeing is just my residual period stuff or the dreaded TEBB. Are there any distinguishing characteristics?

And of what is tail-end-brown-bleeding a symptom? I read endometriosis somewhere on the internet. I have a vague memory of my “Taking Charge” book saying it has something to do with a luteal phase defect — I think she may have said that anything past 2 days post-menstrual brown bleeding indicates a bad luteal phases in the previous cycle. My brown spotting is just for one or two days.

I have not yet had a laproscopy or anything to look for endometriosis, but I may have the endo surgery in the not-too-distant future. My doctor wanted to try other things first, since he said I did not have any of the obvious signs of endo (besides infertility, of course).



  1. Well I used to have it and so I know what it’s like to actually have it and what it’s like to wonder if you have it. Does that make sense? Right now I have what I consider to be “residual” for a day, or even less than a day. I chart VL (very light) for that. I’m not at all concerned that it’s TEBB because it’s only on day four of my cycle. In the past, I’d see two to three days of B (brown spotting) from cd 5-8, so I know there is a difference. That’s just my experience with it, although I don’t know if it will help you!

  2. You’re right in the assumption that brown blood is old blood that’s been “sitting around a while.” So, if there is brown stuff ON your pantyliner when you go to the bathroom, that’s not necessarily a problem. It’s only if the stuff you see WHEN YOU WIPE is brown that it could be a problem.

    Dr Hilgers told me in his letter last year that my pattern of “two or three days of brown bleeding at the ends of your period, and prolonged periods of 8,9, or 10 days” were suspect for low-grade uterine infection.
    In the majority of cases, TEBB indicates either low-grade infection, OR low progesterone from the previous cycle (it’s an irregular sloughing off of the uterine lining attributed to lower than optimal progesterone).

    So… are you experiencing brown when you wipe? Does it last at least 2 days? Then this could be TEBB. But it is treatable.

  3. According to the Creighton Model Fertility Care System, TEBB at the end of your period is the result of an irregular sloughing of the lining of the uterus and is due to low progesterone levels during the previous cycle. Usually this can be fixed by taking oral progesterone on the previous cycle during Peak+ 3 to Peak+ 12. That is what I am doing now.
    Hope this helps.

  4. I’ve been told in the past that it’s due to old blood that gets stuck hanging around … it’s not bad or good, it’s just something that happens.
    One theory for why I have it is the fact I have a retroverted uterus, so it’s tipped and it takes a few days for the blood to get out of that section of the uterus. From what I’ve been told, us endo girls are more likely to have retroverted uteruses (uteri?) for some reason.

  5. I always thought that meant at the end of a CYCLE – like spotting for a few days BEFORE you start your period. That is a sign of low progesterone (I think), which in turn is associated with endometriosis (though not infallibly). But I always get these things wrong, and it sounds like I have misunderstood this term as well. So…I can’t help. Except I bet it’s a hormone imbalance. Everything is a hormone imbalance. Sorry I’m not any use here.

  6. It can definately mean low progesterone or a dysfunction in how progesterone drops off at the end of your cycle. Have you had a total hormonal profile? This testing can give you a wealth of information!

  7. I’m so glad you raised that question- I never knew what that was about either. Good luck with everything!

  8. Yep, I’ve got that…bad. I have my appt to go over my hormone panel in about a month…I’ll let you know what they say then. If I remember!! šŸ™‚

  9. so much good advice! Thank you, thank you.
    I know I had low progesterone last month, so maybe that is what caused it. I will pay more attention next month to whether it is brown on the pantiliner or in wiping. Oh dear, what delightful things we all share. Thanks so much!

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