Understand What the Colour of Your Period Blood Means
Have you ever panicked about your period blood? All of a sudden, you’re starting to notice that the blood is anything but red. Throughout your menstrual cycle, it changes colour so often that it scares you—from bright red to light pink to brown.
Does that happen to other women, or is it time to finally visit your doctor?
The good news is that period blood isn’t always red, and different colours of blood shouldn’t raise any alarm. However, in some cases, the blood colour is a telltale sign that something is wrong with your health.
During your cycle, you must know what’s normal and what’s not. And remember, what’s usual for you may not be the same for someone else. Periods are individual as you are. Luckily, we’re here to break it down for you!
Why Does Period Blood Change in Colour?
The colour of your period blood depends on how long the blood stays in your body. The blood gets darker when it stays longer in your uterus and vagina because it oxidises or reacts with oxygen.
Other factors also include health conditions and hormonal changes, among other things.
Period blood typically appears in these shades of colour:
Since the lining of your uterus sheds at a faster pace during the start of your period, expect blood will appear bright red. You’re also likely to experience menstrual cramps, which you can easily treat with over-the-counter painkillers or a heating pad.
Bright red is considered normal, but if you’re already bleeding through several pads, tampons or period underwear within just a few hours, then you should be alarmed. Other things that bright red period blood can be a sign of include:
If you notice that you’re spotting or bleeding during your pregnancy, consult your doctor immediately. It can be a sign of miscarriage, causing clots and bright red bleeding. You may also experience nausea, abdominal pain and cramping.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or gonorrhoea are known for causing unusual spotting or bleeding between periods. It gives a burning sensation when you pee and has a foul-smelling discharge.
If you think you have one, see a healthcare professional for testing.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that may be large or small. They can cause heavy menstrual flow and other symptoms like pelvic pain, constipation and frequent urination.
Before your menstrual cycle starts, you might notice that your underwear has light pink spotting. At this pace, you can consider to start light absorbency period underwear. This discharge happens when a small amount of blood is diluted by cervical fluid, indicating a low flow of fresh menstrual blood.
Pink blood may also be caused by the following signs:
In some cases, light pink menstrual blood shows that your body has low estrogen levels. Since estrogen stabilises the uterus lining, its absence will shed the lining and cause spots in different shades, including pink.
Some of the causes of low estrogen include:
- Eating disorders
- Estrogen-free hormonal birth control pills
- Genetic conditions
- Excessive exercise
Some women experience ovulatory bleeding around mid-cycle. Ovulation can also lead to a buildup of cervical fluid, which can mix with blood and make it light pink.
Just like pink discharge, orange period blood can happen when blood mixes with cervical mucus.
However, when this happens outside your menstrual cycle, it can mean you’re pregnant; the egg implants on the uterine wall, which normally occurs between 10 to 14 days after conception. Use light or medium absorbency period underwear to keep yourself comfortable.
Even though the colour isn’t always a sign that there’s something wrong, orange discharge often takes place when you have a bacterial infection or STI.
Do you typically feel discomfort and vaginal itching along with a reeking discharge? If so, visit your gynaecologist for an evaluation.
Keep in mind that your period blood should never look grey or off-white. If it happens, arrange an appointment with your doctor immediately. Here’s why:
Having a grey discharge is a sign of bacterial vaginosis—a vaginal infection caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, creating a bacterial imbalance. Other signs include pain, fever, burning sensation when peeing and a strong fish-like odour.
This can only be treated with antibiotics, so speak to a professional to prevent severe health problems from occurring.
Grey blood that contains clots or tissues during the later stages of pregnancy might mean you’re having a miscarriage. It’s best to consult your obstetrician to be on the safe side, especially when you experience pain in your lower tummy.
It may seem alarming at first, but a black discharge is just older blood. This can take place at the beginning or end of your menstrual cycle when blood is taking longer than usual to leave your body.
Check out these possible causes of black period blood:
Stuck Foreign Object
On rare occasions, a black discharge happens when a foreign object has been stuck inside your vagina for too long. You may have forgotten about your tampon, menstrual cups or contraceptives, which can possibly irritate the lining of your vagina. You can minimise this risk by using period underwear instead of tampon or menstrual cups.
Rashes on your vulva, itching, fever and a foul odour may also be present. Make sure that you visit a healthcare professional before the symptoms worsen!
Black spotting can be a symptom of missed miscarriage. It happens when the fetus has died, but the body hasn’t recognised the pregnancy loss yet for about four weeks or more.
Talk to your doctor and let them choose the best treatment for you, such as surgery and medicine. However, if you miscarry at an early stage, the doctor might suggest expectant management where you let the miscarriage happen naturally without treatment.
It will take about three days before you start bleeding and continue for up to three weeks, which is often accompanied by cramps. To minimise infection risk, use heavy absorbency period underwear in this condition.
Brown or Dark Red
Just like black period blood, brown or dark red typically indicates the presence of old blood. It had enough time to oxidise, which is why it might appear in different hues.
Oftentimes, brown spotting is an early sign of pregnancy that doctors refer to as implantation bleeding. It occurs between 10 to 14 days after impregnation and comes with other symptoms like nausea, swollen breasts and cramps.
After giving birth, lochia (postpartum bleeding) may appear a dark red colour for the first four to six weeks. It’s practically the same with your menstrual flow—appearing bright red at its heaviest and becoming darker when the flow is nearing its end.
During perimenopause, the lining of your uterus may be affected when your estrogen levels fluctuate. This can trigger unusual changes in your period’s texture, frequency and colour.
Other Things to Look Out For in Your Period Blood
Aside from changes in period blood colour, there are other things you need to be concerned with - this includes your blood’s consistency and contents that you don’t normally encounter on a regular period cycle.
Period Blood Consistency and Texture
The consistency of your period blood may vary from time to time. There are months when it’s thick and sticky with a brown discharge, while sometimes it’s thin and watery that comes in a pinker shade.
Fortunately, it’s not something to worry about. These consistency changes happen when your cycle is about to end since most of your endometrial tissue has been passed.
Moreover, the thickness of your period blood will further change when your body starts menopause. During this stage, the build-up of the uterine lining tends to lessen. This can also take place when your hormones are affected due to excessive exercise and stress.
Clots in Period Blood
Don’t freak out if you see those gel-like blobs on your period blood! Clots appear when your period is at its heaviest, normally on the first day of your menstrual cycle. The endometrium separates from the uterine wall, tearing small blood vessels that lead to clots.
When the lining builds up again, clots may also appear at the end of your period.
You should also pay attention to their sizes. If they are small, then that’s not a cause for concern. However, talk to a healthcare professional if they are bigger than one inch in diameter and accompanied by a heavy period. You may be diagnosed with menorrhagia or menstrual periods with abnormally prolonged bleeding.
Red Alert: When to See a Doctor
It’s highly recommended that you see a doctor if you notice unusual period blood colour or anything that can be a telltale sign of a health problem. When something isn’t right, it doesn’t hurt to trust your gut.
If you’re experiencing these prolonged changes and signs during your period, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away:
- You experience severe pain during your period that can’t be described as typical menstrual cramps.
- You’re bleeding so much that you have to change pads or tampons more than once in just an hour. This is especially alarming when you have a family history of anaemia or bleeding disorders.
- Your menstrual cycles tend to be irregular. They drastically change in length and flow from one month to the next.
- You don’t bleed for more than three months even if you’ve confirmed you’re not pregnant.
- You bleed even if your body has gone through menopause.
- Your periods are accompanied by high fevers.
A healthcare professional will conduct a physical test and review your medical history to determine the causes of abnormal periods. They may order a blood test, vaginal cultures or a pelvic ultrasound to check for cysts, polyps and fibroids.
When you’re a woman, being in tune with the changes in your body is vital, especially during your cycles. Paying attention to the colour and consistency of your period blood can tell you so much about your physical health.
Things may change unexpectedly from cycle to cycle in different stages of your life, like when you’re approaching menopause or just starting to menstruate.
However, always take note of the changes. If it’s something out of the norm for you, a visit to the obstetrician should be in order.
Most importantly, make sure to take care of your hygiene and comforts during period. Mooncheeks Period Underwear has varying levels of absorbency. Get the convenience of selecting the best one for you and regaining your comforts, whether it is for light or heavy period flows.