Period Blood Colour: What It Means and Is It Normal?
Blog | DAME
Whether you use tampons, pads or period pants, you’ve probably noticed an array of different shades of blood that comes from your vagina each month. While period blood is usually known for being red, it’s super normal to experience some variation in colour during your cycle.
Period blood can be an indicator of your reproductive and general health and it’s always beneficial to know the signs of changes in your menstrual cycle. We’ve compiled our complete guide to period blood changes and what they mean.
What causes changes in menstrual blood colour?
There are plenty of factors that may affect the colour of your period blood. The most common causes include hormonal activity, regularity (or irregularity) of your periods and vaginal or uterine infection.
The colours of period blood and what they mean
At the beginning of your cycle, the colour of your period blood will generally be bright red. This is often the heaviest part of your period and your flow is generally consistent. This is because your uterus is actively removing its lining so your blood hasn’t been sitting for a long time.
You usually won’t see bright red blood towards the end of your period because your flow begins to slow down, allowing more time for your blood to oxygenate and turn darker.
If the flow of bright red period blood is unusually heavy, or towards the end of your period it could be a sign of pregnancy or miscarriage. Make sure you seek advice from your GP if you notice any irregularity in bright red blood flow.
Pink menstrual blood is also a sign of the beginning of your period. Often, it may go unnoticed because your period products absorb it. In the run-up to your period, you may produce white-coloured discharge, a very common premenstrual symptom.
Pink blood is simply a mix of your menstrual flow with other cervical fluids that dilute the red colour of your blood and turn it pink.
Pink period blood can also be a sign of low oestrogen levels, perhaps due to hormonal birth control. If you experience pink period blood accompanied by burning, pain or itching you may have an infection and should speak with your GP.
Towards the end of your period, you may notice orange-coloured period blood. This simply means that your menstrual blood has had time to oxygenate and results in a burnt orange blood colour.
In some cases, orange menstrual blood could indicate pregnancy. If you think you may be pregnant and are experiencing orange-coloured spotting, it may be worth doing a pregnancy test.
Brown period blood, often with a purple, red or rust-coloured tint, can be an indicator that you’re coming to the end of your period. It may be thicker than your usual flow, and you may find a pad or interlabial pad to be the best product to catch any leaks.
You will usually get brown period blood when your flow is at its lightest, like the beginning or the end of your period.
If you’ve just had a baby, brown vaginal bleeding (or Lochia) is the discharge you experience up to six weeks after giving birth. The first few days of bleeding may be bright red but can become brown after a few days.
Dark red or black
Dark red blood, sometimes even appearing black, can look alarming. But don’t worry, it usually just signals that the blood has been in your uterus for a little longer. When your flow slows down, your blood can take longer to make its way through your vagina.
As a general rule, it’s worth remembering that the slower the flow, the darker the period blood will be.
You may also experience very dark-coloured period blood right after getting up in the morning. Lying down all night creates a pool of blood that will oxygenate and result in your morning flow being darker in colour.
Purple period blood is the rarest colour of period blood you will experience during your cycle. Typically, it indicates that your body is making too much oestrogen. You can try to increase your fibre intake, which may help to regulate your oestrogen levels.
If you seem to have purple period blood every cycle or experience symptoms like irritation or discomfort alongside purple blood, you should contact your doctor.
Differences in period blood colour are nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s completely normal and to be expected. Changes in colour are usually just your body indicating which phase of your cycle you’re in and can actually help you to track menstruation.
If you’re experiencing any other symptoms alongside a change in period blood colour, or think you might be pregnant, we always advise getting in touch with a healthcare professional.
Make sure you stay informed about menstrual health and period topics so you can feel confident and comfortable at any stage of your cycle!
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