The Complete Guide to Period Blood Colour
No, it's never blue and was never blue or will ever be. Period Blood are always red and shades of red. Tampax and Always have been lying to us all these years. Well! that is one myth busted. In this blog we will talk about #periodblood and what do the different colour at different stages of period means.
During a woman's menstrual cycle the colour of her blood will vary, the colour of the blood represents the stage of her period. Bleeding can also be an indicator of other health-related issues.
It’s important for each woman to understand her own body and what’s normal for her. If anything appears abnormal, it is advised to seek a doctor’s advice.
So, let’s take a look at what different blood colours may indicate.
Light pink blood can indicate the beginning or end of a period.
Lighter bleeding can also be an indicator that implantation bleeding is happening if you are towards the end of your cycle. Implantation bleeding varies in colour, for some women it will be a darker brown or black, for others it will appear pink or red.
It can be difficult to know the difference between implantation bleeding and the beginning of a period. However, the difference is in the time period as implantation bleeding lasts for 24-48 hours and consists of spotting or a very light flow.
It is common during a girls first period to experience light pink blood. Women going through perimenopause may also have light pink blood due to their estrogen levels falling as they approach menopause.
Girls and women who partake in extreme sports or who are underweight may have a lighter coloured period and also infrequent periods.
What Colour Should My Period Be?
Menstrual blood/period blood can come in a variety of colours and textures, and there is no "absolute normal". The colour of the blood can range from pinkish, red, dark red, brown to almost black, and can be thin, mucousy or thicker with clots.
The colour of the blood can be affected by your contraception. For example, progesterone works to thin the lining of the uterus and usually results in lighter, more mucousy blood (the implant, IUS, POP and the contraceptive injection). Whereas an IUD (copper coil) can cause heavier bleeding, and is more likely to be associated with small clots.
As you can see there is a lot of variety when it comes to the colour of your menstrual blood, and there is no one size fits all rule. Having said that, if you have any concerns, there's no harm in running it past your GP/OBGYN.
Red blood is fresh blood being expelled from the uterus and this tends to be during the heaviest days of a period, for most this will be around days 2-4 of the cycle.
Blood is often dark in colour due to the blood being in contact with oxygen as it’s remained inside of the uterus waiting to be expelled such as when asleep through the night.
Menorrhagia is when a woman experiences an extremely heavy flow and may also experience blood clots which are dark red or black in colour and are approximately 2.5cm in size.
Although it can be difficult to define what a heavy flow is as every woman’s period is different, a period is considered heavy if one is changing or doubling up their period protection every 2-3 hours.
Bloody Warning Signs
If bleeding occurs between periods or if blood or discharge appears grey then it may be a sign of an infection such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection.
Persistent bleeding or spotting between periods could be a sign of a foreign body, this could be an item that has been forgotten about and left inside the vagina for too long, for example, a tampon, diaphragms or a contraceptive ring.
Due to the hormonal imbalance that polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS) produces it may be that women experience brown discharge or light and irregular bleeding throughout their menstrual cycle. However, hormonal imbalance can be due to a number of reasons and if experiencing a brown discharge or irregular bleeding it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor.
If pregnant and spotting or bleeding occur regardless of the colour this can be a sign of a miscarriage. However, it is possible to bleed during pregnancy and go onto have a healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby.
Remember that medical staff discuss periods and womens’ health on a regular basis and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. So, if you are worried about the colour of your menstrual blood or of the above health concerns then it’s important to speak to your doctor or nurse.
The Bottom Line
Every woman who menstruates can experience various colours to her blood during her period, ranging from light pink, red to black. What’s normal to some women may be different from others.
Health conditions such as perimenopause, menorrhagia and PCOS can change the colour and flow of blood. Infections can also change the frequency and colour of vaginal discharge and bleeding.
It’s important for every woman to understand her own period and cycle and what is normal for her, and to seek medical advice and help if there are any concerns.
This blog post is written by Rebekah Louise.