Brown discharge following a menstrual period typically consists of older blood naturally flushed out of the body when a female's period ends, explains Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Brown discharge or spotting can also occur during ovulation and in the early stages of pregnancy.
Persistent, odorous vaginal discharge that is brown in color may indicate cervical cancer, according to MedlinePlus. Additional symptoms of cervical cancer include appetite loss, back discomfort, weight loss, pelvic discomfort and tiredness. Tests utilized to aid in the diagnosis of cervical cancer include Pap smears to test for abnormal cells and biopsies. Treatments for early forms of the condition include electrical incision procedures and cryotherapy procedures that work to freeze affected cervical cells.
Vaginal discharge with a thick consistency that is green or yellow in color can indicate trichomoniasis, an infection spread via sexual intercourse, notes Healthline. Persistent vaginal discharge with a fish-like odor is indicative of bacterial vaginosis, an infection common in sexually active females. Thick, white vaginal discharge is a common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection. The discharge may also be accompanied by itching and burning. It is important for females to consult with a physician if they experience unusual vaginal discharge accompanied by abdominal pain, fever or increased urination.