Image credit: @wearehappyperiod on Instagram
Your menstrual cycle can give some great insights into your overall health, particularly when looking at the duration of your period, irregular or painful periods and how heavy your menstrual flow is. But what about the colour of our menstrual blood?
When switching to a menstrual cup, many of us can become more aware of the colour and texture of our period blood. The colour of your menstrual blood is likely to vary throughout your period, so most colour changes are not a cause for concern. However, if you notice a sudden significant difference in the colour of your period from one month to the next, or notice some of the colours mentioned below, it’s a good idea to see your doctor and get checked out.
What does bright red period blood mean?
Bright red period blood usually means that the blood is fresh or ‘new’. This is the colour you may notice during the first couple of days of your period when it is at its heaviest.
What does dark red period blood mean?
It is common for your menstrual blood to become darker towards the middle or end of your period. If you pass clots during your period, these can also be dark red or almost black in colour, making your period blood look much darker. Passing some clots during your period is usually normal, however, if you are continuously passing large clots, see your doctor.
What does pink period blood mean?
You may notice pink blood if you are spotting, at the beginning or end of your period or if your period is particularly light. Very light periods that look pink may be a sign of low oestrogen levels, so chat to your doctor if you are concerned.
What does brown period blood mean?
As blood is exposed to air or becomes ‘older’, it can turn to a light or dark brown colour. Brown period blood towards the beginning or end of your period is usually normal, as this is when your flow is slower and the blood is taking longer to exit the body.
What does black period blood mean?
Noticing black menstrual blood may seem alarming, but it’s usually not a cause for concern. As with brown blood, black period blood is usually just older blood that has taken more time to exit the body.
When to be concerned…
If you notice that your period blood has grey or whitish discharge mixed in, or your period blood is orange, this is likely to be a sign of infection. See your doctor as soon as possible to investigate and receive the right treatment.
If you are frequently passing large clots or are experiencing very heavy (having to change your vaginal cup, pad or tampon every hour) or long periods, this can be a sign of miscarriage or conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis. It’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor to uncover the cause.
All of us experience a different “normal” when it comes to menstruation, and this includes the colour of our period blood. If you notice a sudden change or are concerned with your period, it is always a good idea to discuss it with your doctor.