Why is my period blood brown? Your period colour questions answered
The colour of your period blood varies depending on the length and flow, so you may see pink, brown or even black period blood – not always bright crimson like you may expect. Let’s break down the different shades of period blood that you may experience during your cycle and find out what it all means.
Image source: Daye
During your period, your uterus sheds its old lining, which is called the endometrium. The longer it takes for this lining to leave your body, the darker it becomes because blood oxidises. In other words, the blood reacts to oxygen, giving it a darker colour.
This isn’t only for period blood. Think about how a cut on your hand first bleeds red and then darkens as the blood dries and is exposed outside of your skin. Brown period blood is common at the start and end of your cycle. It’s either leftover menses from your last cycle, or the final menses of your current period.
If you have brown discharge that continues for weeks after your period, happens after sex, smells bad or is accompanied by cramping or vaginal itching, then chat to your doctor to find out what else could be happening down there.
Again, this colour of period blood can ring alarms, but it’s actually quite normal. Like brown period blood, black blood is just menses that has been sitting in your body for too long. You might see black blood if your period is late. Nothing to worry about!
You may see a bit of pink spotting right before your period when menses mixes with your cervical mucus. If you do see pink discharge, it probably means that your regular flow is about to come.
However, if you notice pink watery discharge in between periods, this is different and could be a sign of something to chat to your doctor about. More on this towards the end of this blog!
Dark red period blood is just blood that has been in your body long enough to oxidise – like brown and black blood. You could have a thick endometrium or a slower rate of shedding. Either way, you’re all good!
Bright red is a sign of fresh blood and a steady flow. You’ll usually see bright red blood on day one or two of your period. If you have a heavy flow, you’ll be used to seeing bright red blood quite quickly in your cycle as the volume pushes the blood out faster so it doesn’t have a chance to oxidise.
So, now that we’ve established that some of the colours you may have been worried about are totally normal, when should you be concerned about the colour of your discharge?
Image source: Medical News Today
Grey or even greenish discharge could be a sign of a vaginal infection like trichomoniasis. Chat to your doctor for treatment.
While light yellow discharge is nothing to worry about, a darker yellow could be a sign of infection. Some people see neon yellow discharge or pee after trying new foods or an intake of high-dose vitamins, so keep an eye on the colour and frequency to decide whether it’s worth bringing up to your doctor.
Pink discharge between periods
Pink or orange coloured discharge is often just blood mixed with cervical fluid seen at the start of your period or after sex, but if you notice pink discharge at other times then it could be a sign of something more serious or an infection. Please speak to your doctor if you notice this between periods!
Large blood clots
It’s normal to see blood clots in your pad or toilet bowl during your period, especially during a heavy flow. If you notice clots larger than 2.5 cm (roughly the size of a 10 cent coin), then chat to your doctor as it may be a sign of fibroids or endometriosis.
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