Period Blood Colour: What It Says About Your Health
- 4 Mins Read
- Health Conditions
- Written by: Dr. Jatin Bhide
- Though all women go through periods, period blood color can vary.
- Period blood color has the potential to tell us what is wrong with our bodies.
- Period blood can vary in color – from period to period, or even during your cycle.
- What color of period blood should be cause for worry.
As a ‘Period Warrior’ who bleeds every single month for a big chunk of her lifetime, a woman is aware of the bloody truth of her flow. Heavy, light, prolonged, short, dark, muddy, fresh, bright…the flow comes in all hues.
There’s no ‘normal’ version of the period. All bodies are different, so period experiences and the shade and texture of the flow are also different, and yet the colours do have the potential to help us know if something is wrong with our body. Here’s a colour-coded guide to period blood:
What is period blood and what colour should it be?
Period blood is a mix of blood, cervical fluid and tissue from the lining of your uterus that sheds around once a month and is expelled via the vagina.
The colour of your period blood can be a good indicator of your health. It’s normal for the colour to be different at the beginning and end of the period. You may have different colours from month to month, too.
- It’s normal for period blood to be a colour that isn’t red. For example, it can be dark red or brown, pink, grey, orange, or even black.
- A lot of women worry when they see their period blood in black. But it isn’t automatically a problem. When you spot black period blood, it generally suggests that your periods have just begun or ended. It will take a longer time to leave the body and turn black in the process.
- However, if black period blood is accompanied by unusual vaginal discharge, foul smell and itching, you need to consult a doctor.
What can affect the colour of your period flow?
Many factors affect period blood colour that including:
- hormonal changes
- your overall health
- any underlying health conditions
- the length of time the blood has been in the uterus – the longer it is there, the darker it will appear.
Know your flow
Your period blood varies in colour – from period to period, or even during your cycle. Here are a couple of colours you could see:
Pink: This colour would show just before the onset, or towards the end. It is generally a mix of period blood and vaginal mucus discharge but it might also be caused by anaemia. If you’re on the contraceptive pill, a pink period would mean lowered estrogen levels.
Bright red: This means it hasn’t been sitting in the uterus for long. It also indicates a steady flow. When your uterus contracts actively, it sheds blood quickly which remains a vibrant red.
Dark red or muddy brown: If you have a moderate to scanty flow, it takes longer for the uterus to shed the lining. As the blood remains in the uterus, it gets darker. Dark red blood is also associated with the end of your period.
Black: This might show at the very start or very end of your period, or, it could indicate a vaginal blockage. If latter, it would be accompanied by smelly discharge, itching, or even difficulty peeing. If you’re not experiencing these symptoms, it’s likely just older menstrual blood.
When should you worry about the colour?
Grey: This is usually a sign of bacterial vaginosis, which happens when there’s an imbalance in the bacteria in your vagina.
Orange: This usually indicates period blood mixed with cervical fluid, but also may indicate that there’s a possible infection. See a doctor.
Purple: You could be dealing with a condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis., or ovarian cysts. It’s generally accompanied by heavy bleeding. See a doctor.
It is said that through knowledge we gain power over our lives. With options, we have the possibility. With acceptance, we find new freedom.
Menstrual blood, often surrounded by disgust, horror, myths, taboos and more, isn’t the ‘Crimson Curse’. It’s just a normal process of the human body that connects women with their reproductive anatomy.
So, period blood or period discharge need not be a nasty secret. These blood-stained days tell us the stories of our health, month after month, either assuring us that everything is okay or cautioning us that we might need medical help. For us to be strong, they need to be told.