Why Do I Have Brown Clumpy Discharge After Using Metronidazole Gel

Brown Clumpy Discharge After Using Metronidazole Gel

Brown clumpy discharge after the use of metronidazole gel can be an alarming experience for many women. Metronidazole is a medication used to treat bacterial vaginosis. It works by changing the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, which can affect vaginal discharge.

Sometimes, patients may experience certain symptoms as a normal part of their recovery or as a sign of another problem. It’s important for patients to recognize and understand these symptoms.

In this article, we will discuss why you may experience brown clumpy discharge after using metronidazole gel. We’ll explain the difference between common side effects and signs that may indicate a more serious condition.

What is Metronidazole Gel and Its Purpose?

Metronidazole belongs to a group of medicines known as nitroimidazole antimicrobials.

This gel is an antibiotic medication prescribed to treat bacterial vaginosis (BV) — a condition resulting from too much of different types of harmful bacteria in the vagina.

This imbalance can cause an overgrowth of certain types of bacteria, often resulting in symptoms such as unusual discharge, odor, itching, and irritation.

Metronidazole is also used to treat infections in different parts of the body such as the reproductive system, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, heart, bone, joints, lungs, blood, nervous system, and others.

The gel is used inside the vagina. It works by damaging the DNA of the bacteria cells, which kills them. This allows the good bacteria to come back and make the vagina healthy again.

By directly targeting the site of infection, metronidazole gel minimizes the impact on the rest of the body, often making it a preferred treatment for bacterial vaginosis due to its localized effect and reduced side effects compared to oral antibiotics.

Possible Side Effects

Like many medications, metronidazole gel can cause side effects, though not everyone will experience them. The most common side effects of this treatment include:

  • Local irritation
  • Mild burning or stinging immediately after application
  • Redness or thin, watery discharge
  • Headache
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • stomach cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • dry mouth

Some side effects can be serious. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

  • Seizures
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Peeling or blistering skin
  • Flushing
  • Fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, or other signs of infection.
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness, pain, or tingling in your hands or feet

Sometimes, patients may experience a brownish or slightly bloody discharge. This can happen when there are changes in the vaginal ecosystem and the shedding of the lining or clearing of old blood. It’s usually not something to worry about and should get better as the balance of bacteria is restored.

However, if the brown clumpy discharge is accompanied by other symptoms like a foul smell, abdominal pain, fever, or if the discharge persists beyond a few days post-treatment, it’s important to contact a doctor.

What does clumpy Brown discharge mean?

Clumpy brown discharge may worry you, but it is usually a sign of the body getting rid of old tissue and bacteria. This kind of discharge can happen when the balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted.

The brown color usually indicates the presence of old blood, which is not uncommon following treatment for conditions like bacterial vaginosis. As the vaginal environment heals and rebalances, this discharge may occur as old cells and remnants of bacteria are expelled.

However, It’s important to differentiate between normal post-treatment symptoms and potential complications. If you experience thick, clumpy discharge that lasts, especially with a bad odor or other symptoms like itching or irritation, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider.

Such symptoms could suggest an incomplete treatment of the infection or the presence of another condition altogether.

During this time, patients should closely monitor their symptoms and practice good vaginal hygiene.

Metronidazole Gel and Brown Clumpy Discharge in Women

Metronidazole Gel and Brown Clumpy Discharge in Women

Metronidazole gel is usually well-tolerated, but it can cause unusual discharge because it disrupts the natural balance of vaginal flora during the treatment of bacterial vaginosis.

Brown clumpy discharge may occur as a result of the dying off of harmful bacteria and the body’s process of eliminating these cells. This discharge might also contain old blood, as the vaginal tissue regenerates and heals.

It’s important to differentiate between the normal and temporary side effects of treatment and symptoms that might be signs of more serious problem or another underlying condition.

Also Read: Why can’t you Eat Bananas with Metronidazole

Is It normal to experience brown clumpy discharge after using metronidazole gel?

Yes, it is totally normal to have some brown clumpy discharge after using metronidazole gel. It’s just part of the healing process, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how your body responds after treatment.

The discoloration usually has dead bacteria and old endometrial tissues that are naturally shed from the vaginal lining. This is just your body’s way of effectively clearing out the infection.

Antibiotic treatments can sometimes be too aggressive when fighting against Gardnerella vaginalis (the bacteria causing BV), unintentionally eliminating the “good” bacteria that help maintain a healthy vaginal environment.

For 10% of women who have taken metronidazole, this imbalance can result in a yeast infection.

If you notice thick brown discharge from your vagina along with itching and a burning sensation during sex or urination, you may need antifungal treatment.

It’s really important to be open with your doctor while using metronidazole gel, and even after. If you experience any worrisome symptoms, make sure to let them know right away.

In a review about this gel on Drugs, one lady said, “So, the first day of using the gel, it actually cleared the smell. And you know what? The next few days have been pretty good too. I finished my treatment back in September 2020, but ladies, listen up! You might experience some clumpy discharge during and after the treatment, but don’t worry, it’s not a yeast infection. It’s just the gel doing its thing and your vagina getting rid of the infection. Overall, it definitely gets the job done.”

Causes of Brown Clumpy Discharge After Using Metronidazole Gel

Here are a few things that could cause this clumpy discharge:

  • Bacterial Die-Off: The brown clumpy discharge may represent the debris of bacteria that have been killed by the metronidazole treatment. The gel disrupts the structure of bacterial cells, causing them to die and be discharged from the body.
  • Endometrial Shedding: Sometimes the discharge may contain old endometrial tissues that the body is naturally shedding. This could be due to hormonal changes or as a direct effect of the medication on the vaginal flora.
  • Old Blood: Sometimes, leftover menstrual blood from previous periods can mix with vaginal discharge which causes it to look brown and clumpy.
  • Tissue Regeneration: As the metronidazole gel helps in treating the infection, the vaginal tissue may start to regenerate, sometimes leading to clumpy discharge that includes dead cells.
  • Changes in pH Levels: The medication can cause changes in the pH balance of the vagina, which can result in the discharge of brown, clumpy matter as the body adjusts and returns to its normal state.

Is Brown clumpy discharge a yeast infection?

Brown clumpy discharge is not always a sign of a yeast infection. Instead, it can happen due to metronidazole treatment for bacterial vaginosis.

A yeast infection, on the other hand, usually presents a white cottage cheese-like discharge and is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans.

In contrast, the brown discharge after metronidazole use is more likely linked with the body’s process of healing and discharge—it’s a sign of the body expelling damaged bacteria and old tissues, not a fungal overgrowth.

It’s important to keep an eye on the symptoms and talk to a healthcare provider if the discharge comes with any other worrying signs or lasts longer than expected after treatment.

Also Read: Can Acyclovir Cause a Yeast Infection?

What should you expect after using metronidazole gel?

After completing a course of metronidazole gel, you should expect a gradual improvement in the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis.

After finishing a few days to a week, any unusual discharge should go away, and any discomfort, smell, or irritation should noticeably get better. As your body’s natural flora is restored, the vaginal environment should return to its usual balance and promote a healthy state.

It’s important to finish the entire course of medication to make sure the infection is fully treated, even if you start feeling better before completing the treatment.

Remember that while metronidazole gel is effective in treating bacterial vaginosis, it doesn’t stop it from coming back and doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Prevention and Management

To prevent and manage bacterial vaginosis and maintain vaginal health, try these trusted and effective strategies:

  • Maintain Healthy Hygiene: Regular bathing and wearing breathable, cotton underwear can reduce moisture and deter the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotics like Lactobacillus strains found in yogurt or supplements and prebiotic foods that promote healthy bacteria growth.
  • Avoid Irritants: Limit the use of scented soaps, gels, or douches that can disrupt the vaginal pH balance.
  • Safe Sexual Practices: Using condoms can prevent the transmission of infections that can change vaginal flora.
  • Regular Check-ups: Routine gynecological exams help in early detection and management of any vaginal discomfort or infections.
  • Avoid Smoking: Smoking has been linked with a higher chance of bacterial vaginosis, so quitting can boost your overall vaginal health.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out toxins from the body and maintain healthy mucous membranes.


Metronidazole gel is a good choice for treating bacterial vaginosis. It does its job effectively, although a harmless side effect is the appearance of brown clumpy discharge which is just part of the healing process. While this symptom can be concerning, it is often merely the body’s way of expelling dead bacteria or old tissues.

It’s important to monitor your body’s response after treatment and maintain open communication with your healthcare provider to ensure a safe and complete recovery. And remember to take preventive steps to maintain your vaginal health in check and prevent any future issues.


How Do I Know If Metronidazole Gel Is Working?

The signs that metronidazole gel is working can include:

  • A reduction in unusual vaginal odor.
  • Decrease in abnormal discharge.
  • Relief from vaginal irritation and discomfort.
  • Normalization of pH levels in your vagina.
  • Improvement or resolution of bacterial vaginosis symptoms (itching, burning, etc.).

If your symptoms don’t get better after a few days of treatment, or if they get worse contact your doctor quickly.

Is It Normal To Experience Burning Sensation When Using Metronidazole Gel?

It’s normal to feel a slight burning or stinging when using metronidazole gel on sensitive vaginal tissues. But if the burning is severe or lasts a long time, you should seek medical help right away.

Can Metronidazole Gel Affect Menstrual Cycles?

Metronidazole gel doesn’t directly affect your period. But, infections like bacterial vaginosis can change your vaginal discharge, which might look like menstrual blood. If you see any big changes in your period while using metronidazole gel, talk to your healthcare provider for advice.

How Long Should I Wait to Have Sex After Using Metronidazole Gel?

You should wait until you’re finished the entire course of treatment with metronidazole gel before having sex. This gives the medication time to completely treat the infection and reduces the chance of passing it to your partner. As a general rule, it’s best to wait at least 48 hours after the last application before engaging in any sexual activity.

Can I Use Metronidazole Gel During My Period?

Yes, you can use metronidazole gel during your period unless your doctor advises otherwise. However, using it during menstruation may be messier and might make it more difficult to maintain the medication in the vagina.

What Happens If Bacterial Vaginosis Goes Untreated?

If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can sometimes cause more serious health issues, including increased risk of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy complications, and pelvic inflammatory disease. It’s crucial to get treated and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Can Metronidazole Gel Cause Yeast Infections?

Yes, it can sometimes cause a yeast infection as a side effect. This happens because the treatment can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. If you experience symptoms of a yeast infection, like itching, swelling, or a white clumpy discharge after using metronidazole gel, you should consult with your healthcare provider.

How Can I Tell The Difference Between Side Effects Of Metronidazole Gel And Symptoms Of A Worsening Infection?

Differentiating between the side effects of metronidazole gel and symptoms of a worsening infection can be a bit complex. Usually, side effects are mild and temporary. But if you notice things like more irritation, swelling, intense pain, or a major change in discharge after starting treatment, those could be signs of a worsening infection. In that case, it’s best to reach out to your healthcare provider right away.



The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Don’t ignore professional medical advice or put off seeking it just because of something you read here. Although we aim to offer precise and current information, we do not guarantee its completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability for any purpose. Using the information in this document is at your own risk. We are not responsible for any losses or damages caused by our content.

Sharing is Caring

Leave a Comment

Related Articles