The colour of your period or monthly flow can actually tell you if everything is functioning smoothly in your body system or if you’ve got a serious health situation you should focus on.
Through the duration of your period, the blood might change color, ranging from black to orange to pink to deep red. Different colors of period blood have different significance for your health.
Here’s a guide to determine what they could mean for your health.
1. Bright Red Blood
This is usually the colour at the start of your cycle. Your uterine lining is shedding, and fast, and usually comes with the painful cramps. In very rare cases, this could also indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst or miscarriage.
After women deliver a baby, they experience bleeding for four to six weeks, which is called lochia. Lochia bleeding begins with a heavy flow and bright red blood. After around day four, lochia may be pinkish or brownish in color.
However, bright red blood is also associated with an infection, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. These infections can cause bleeding between periods. If you see bright red blood before your period, contact your doctor.
2. Dark Red Blood
This means your blood has been around inside you for longer. This colour blood appears at the end of your cycle due to high estrogen levels, thick lining and a slower shedding rate, all of which are completely normal.
3. Brown or Black Blood
Most common at the very end of your period (light flow or spotting), is when blood has been stored up the longest. Brown discharge of all shades is typically a sign of old blood. Black or brown is usually old blood, which has had time to oxidize, changing the hue.
The blood may also be leftover from your last period.
4. Pink Blood
If right before your period, you notice light red or pink spotting, this could indicate low estrogen levels. Hormonal issues can lead to other issues later in life (infrequent periods and dryness to name a few).
Some causes of low estrogen include being on hormonal birth control that doesn’t contain estrogen or perimenopause.
If you’re pregnant, a gush of clear or pink fluid from the vagina may be a sign of miscarriage. Other signs including cramping, the passage of tissue, and loss of pregnancy symptoms.
The best thing is to quickly see a doctor.
5. Orange Blood
If there is an orange colour in your menstrual blood, check for these signs to see if it’s a problem. A ‘slippery’ texture is normal but anything else – especially a bad smell, could be a sign that your blood has mixed with cervical fluids, which is usually the indicator of an infection or STD. If you notice this, go straight to your doctor to get it sorted as soon as possible.
6. Gray Blood
If you see gray or off-white discharge, call your doctor. Gray blood is associated with infections like bacterial vaginosis. Other signs of infection include fever, pain, itching, or a foul odor. If you’re pregnant, a gray discharge may be a sign of miscarriage.