The colour of your period: what does it mean?
Is the colour of your period ‘normal’? What your menstrual blood colour says about your health
Your menstrual blood colour can often vary. Have you ever wondered why? Or what is considered normal? Well, wonder no more, our Mooncup Advisor, Cathy, gets to the bottom of it.
What you may not know is that the consistency and colour of your period blood can be a good indicator of your overall health.
There may now be a Pantone colour for periods, but in reality menstrual blood comes in a plethora of colours, ranging from yellow to pale pink, right through to dark brown, grey or black. Yes, you read that correctly, the colour of your period may sometimes be black!
The changes in the colour of your period
Menstrual blood colour and texture can vary throughout your period. This is perfectly normal. It won’t be all crimson red for a week – where is the fun in that? I love to see a good ol’ colour scale when I’m menstruating!
? Menstrual fluid is naturally at its darkest at the beginning and end of your period.
? Your blood is brightest red when the flow is at its heaviest, which is usually in the first couple of days.
? It can get lighter in colour and consistency as your period progresses.
So, what’s a normal menstrual blood colour? Well, the rule is, that there are many normals. What’s important is to know what’s normal for you (we are all slightly different, but that’s what makes us unique…right?). However, if you’re experiencing any prolonged out-of-the-ordinary changes for you, it’s always best to reach out to a healthcare professional – more on this a bit later on.
What does the colour of your period mean?
Why is the colour of my period blood black or grey?
If you find black blood in your pants, don’t panic! Healthy period blood can be quite dark.
Darker blood is common at the beginning and end of your period when the flow is slower and takes longer to leave the uterus. When blood stays in your body for longer it becomes oxidised (meaning it has reacted with oxygen) and darkens in colour.
However, if the colour of your period blood is black and you are having extreme pain and excessive clotting, or you’re experiencing black spotting during your cycle, I would recommend checking this out with a healthcare professional.
Grey menstrual fluid can be a sign of infection. If you notice grey blood or any other signs of infection like irritation, pain, fever or unpleasant odour then it is advised to get it checked out.
Is a dark brown or dark red menstrual blood colour normal?
Dark brown or dark red menstrual blood is perfectly normal and usually appears at the beginning and end of your period. As mentioned above, your blood can be this colour if it has stayed longer in the body and has become oxidised.
Bright red period blood
Bright red menstrual blood is fresh blood passing quickly from the body. It’s often brighter in colour as it hasn’t had time to oxidise before it leaves the body. This is most common during the heaviest part of your period.
Why is the colour of my period blood pink?
Pink menstrual blood usually occurs when the blood mixes with cervical fluid.
This can be linked to hormonal changes, which can be due to birth control methods, like the pill or intrauterine devices (IUD copper coil/IUS Mirena coil).
Pink blood can also be a sign of perimenopause. There’s no need to panic about the menopause just yet though, as pink spotting can also happen midcycle when the ovaries release an egg (though you should always discuss any unusual mid-cycle bleeding with your doctor to rule out other causes).
However, light pink or watery menstrual fluid can also be a sign of anaemia, ie. lacking in iron. If your last three periods were light pink in colour, you may want to speak to a healthcare professional.
Why is the colour of my period blood orange or yellow?
Orange or yellow menstrual fluid can also be a sign that your menstrual blood is mixing with cervical fluid and lightening the colour. However, it can also be a sign of infection so if you are concerned and feel this is out of the norm for you then please speak to a healthcare professional.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what colour your period is. And not all of us have the time to sit there with a magnifying glass and colour chart trying to match the shades! However, it is good to have a quick glance every now and again to make sure that what you’re experiencing is normal for you.
When to seek advice?
You know your body better than anyone else. If you feel that something isn’t right for you, it’s always best to chat to a healthcare professional.
It’s also important to note that heavy painful periods aren’t normal despite what you may have been told in the past. Whilst passing small clots may be normal for some people, larger blood clots should be investigated.
If you are experiencing any prolonged changes in your cycle or have any of the following signs, then please reach out to a healthcare professional:
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Significantly irregular cycles, varying in length.
- No period for over three months
- Your period lasts more than 7 days
- If you’ve experienced menopause and are bleeding again.
- Unusual pain during your period
- Experiencing very heavy bleeding and large blood clots (smaller clots can be normal for some people).
- An unpleasant smell to your menstrual fluid
- Bleeding after sex
Menstrual blood will vary throughout your cycle and this is completely normal! Minor changes don’t necessarily suggest a health problem. The most important thing is to pay attention to your body and the patterns and variations in your cycle, so you know what’s normal for you. Happy menstrual flow colour matching peeps!
The Mooncup® can help to monitor the consistency and colour of your period blood
The Mooncup menstrual cup works by collecting your period blood rather than absorbing it, like a tampon would. This makes it easier to monitor the consistency and colour of your blood. The millilitre markings on the side of the cup can be used to track your flow too.
This is helpful information to share with your doctor if you’re concerned about your periods.
Did you know that we offer a unique Advice Service run by medical health professionals, like Cathy, who can be contacted with any Mooncup usage queries? Here to help you make the switch.
Get to #knowyournormal. Find out more about the Mooncup and get yours here.