For most women, periods vary in color. For nearly all, menstruation invariably commences between 12 and 13 years of age. One may bleed in a period every 21-35 days. The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates that the color of menstruation can serve as an important health indicator. From the duration of your cycle to the textures and colors, it all tells you something important about health.
Colors of blood change from dark to bright red, brown to orange. Although each of these colors is generally considered healthy, here’s what you need to know about period blood.
PERIOD BLOOD COLOR
|INDICATORS||BLACK||BROWN||DARK RED||BRIGHT RED||PINK||ORANGE||GRAY|
|Polyps or Fibroids||Yes|
|Mid-Cycle “Ovulation” Spotting||Yes||Yes|
7 Things the Blood Color of Menstruation Reveals
1. Black Period Blood
One may be alarmed to see black blood, but there’s no reason to worry if the menstrual(1) flow is dark in color. The period blood color is associated with brown blood or old blood. It resembles grounded coffee. Black blood is generally dark because it takes some time to leave the uterus.
[ Read: Periods Hacks ]
2. Brown Period Blood
Brown discharge in all its different shades is an indication of old blood. This blood has taken time to oxidize, which is why it changes the tone from the usual standard red color. Brown blood is linked to the start or finish of the period.
When the flow is slow, blood takes longer to exit the body. In case the blood stays in the uterus for a long time, it turns into a brown hue. Blood left over from your last period can also exit the body in this color.
For a bleeding woman, from 4-6 weeks post the baby’s birth, lochia may be experienced. It may start heavy, and from day four onwards, it may appear pink or brown. Pregnancy spotting can also be of this shade if active bleeding has stopped. It is essential to call your doctor.
While miscarriage may be associated with red bleeding, some women may have a case of “missed” miscarriage. In this type of pregnancy loss, the fetus starts to develop but does not pass from the uterus for as long as four weeks. Heavy bleeding or clots may not be experienced. However, dark brown spots and bleeding might occur.
[ Read: Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy ]
3. Dark Red Period Blood
Dark red period upon waking or lying down is standard. Dark red blood may be visible because the blood has been in a uterus for some time, yet not oxidized to the point of browning. Dark red blood is linked to the end of the period, too.
This color of menstruation indicates the cessation of flow. Lochia can also be colored red for the first three days after delivering the baby. It changes to different textures and colors. Women with C-section may experience 24 hours of dark red blood bleeding.
[ Reda: How to Stop Periods ]
4. Bright Red Period Blood
The period may start with bright red blood. Bright colored blood is fresh and flows quickly. It may stay that way the whole period or darken as the slow flow results. Some infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea cause in-between bleeding periods.
If blood is observed before your period starts, see your doctor. Bleeding at the time of pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage. But do remember that this is not necessary, and healthy women who birth babies also experience bleeding.
Check with your doctor, in any of these cases. Polyps or fibroids are also common in women undergoing a heavy flow through the menstrual cycle. Large or small, these polyps cause pain and pressure.
5. Pink Period Blood
Blood may seem pink in color, at the start or close of the period, especially when one is spotting. The lighter shades suggest blood is mixed with cervical fluid, diluting the darkness. Pink blood flow is linked to lochia, from day 4. It could also signal low levels of estrogen. Pink blood also indicates your uterine lining is not stabilized.
Without sufficient estrogen, the shedding of the coating can occur across the cycle, leading to pink discharge. The pink discharge may also be released during ovulation(2), as the cervical fluid mixed with the uterus blood. For women who are pregnant, signs like pink or clear fluid and cramping, the passage of tissue are indications of loss of pregnancy.
[ Read: Why Is Your Periods Late ]
6. Orange Period Blood
Orange colored period blood occurs when the cervical fluid mixes with the blood, Orange discharge maybe for the same reason as pink discharge, in this case. Orange blood is linked to implantation spotting, 10-14 days post-conception. Not all women experience implantation spotting. Abnormal or unusual discharge is a sign of STI or bacterial infection.
7. Gray Period Blood
Offwhite or grayish period blood is an indication of infections like bacterial vaginosis, and signs of infection may also include foul odor, itching, pain, and fever. If you are expecting, the gray discharge can signal miscarriage, especially if there is tissue passage.
[ Read: Home Remedies for Irregular Periods]
It is usual for periods to change color from month to month, from start to finish or at different points throughout life. Numerous factors are involved, even if periods are healthy. In most cases, variation from dark to bright red occurs due to blood flow and the time it’s been in the uterus. All color changes are not necessarily healthy. For example, gray discharge, or bleeding during pregnancy is a medical emergency.
Apart from the color, the blood texture also transforms during menstruation. Periods from one month to another have different tastes. Clots are not a problem as the uterus is merely shedding its lining. If lumps are more significant in size than a quarter, you need to see a doctor. The watery period is thin and indicates new blood flowing fast from the uterus.
Heavy flow, with or without clots, may also ensue. Check for anemia, like shortness of breath and fatigue. Blood-tinged discharge can be mixed with cervical mucus, providing an egg white or gelatinous texture. However, you ideally need to see your doctor, if cycles are dramatically irregular, shorter than 24 or longer than 38 days in length, on average.
Additionally, if you lack periods or feel considerable pain, bleeding between periods or menopause, and bleeding again, it’s time to see a doctor. Any blood discharge during pregnancy also signals emergency medical care.
Periods can be vital indicators of how healthy you currently are, and greater hue variety and texture variance may be noted in young women starting their periods. Likewise, women during perimenopause also experience irregular periods. Always check with your doctor regarding the periods, for healthy outcomes.