Hue of menstrual blood can tell you if all is well or whether it's time to consult a doctor
What does the colour of your period blood mean, from heavy to low flow, and late to early, they really can have a mind of their own, but a small change can be your body’s way of telling you something
The amount of blood lost during one period cycle should be about 30 to 40 ml, anything beyond this could be dangerous
Different colours of period blood can be seen in different conditions, but some of them could be pointing to something serious
A specific colour change in period blood should not be ignored
From heavy to low flow, and late to early, periods really can have a mind of their own. But a small change can be your body’s way of telling you something.
Archana Nirula, senior medical officer at myUpchar and a gynaecologist with over 20 years of experience, says that different colours of period blood can be seen in different conditions, but some of them could be pointing to something serious. She adds that the amount of blood lost during one period cycle should be about 30 to 40 ml, anything beyond this could be dangerous.
Below, Nirula explains what a specific colour change in period blood might be related to:
Black blood can appear at the beginning or end of a person's period. The colour is typically a sign of old blood or blood that has taken longer to leave the uterus and has had time to oxidise, first turning brown or dark red and eventually becoming black.
Black blood could also be seen in sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. In this case, it may be accompanied with difficulty while urinating, swelling and itching in or around the vagina. One must consult a doctor in this situation.
2. Brown or dark red
Again, brown or dark red blood can be seen at the beginning or end of periods. Dark red or brown bleeding usually occurs after giving birth which is medically called lochia or postpartum bleeding. Lochia is the body's way of expelling excess blood and tissue from the uterus. In some cases, brown blood may also indicate a miscarriage. You should seek medical help in this scenario.
3. Bright red
If you get up in the morning with bright red period blood, then it’s normal as it indicates that the blood is fresh and flowing steadily. Yet, bright red period blood can indicate various other problems like sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia or gonorrhoea), submucosal fibroid (non-cancerous growth in the wall of the uterus), cervical polyp (small growths on the cervix).
Bright red period blood can be a sign of cervical cancer, if accompanied by symptoms like bleeding between regular menstrual periods, after sexual intercourse or post-menopause, pelvic pain unrelated to the menstrual cycle or foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
When a woman is taking hormonal birth control pills, their period flow can become minimal. In those cases, women might notice pink coloured vaginal bleeding or even mid-cycle spotting. Pink-coloured period blood can also be seen in case of a miscarriage. Women must seek medical help in this situation.
Rusty orange-coloured bleeding could be seen 10 to 14 days after a woman has conceived. Clinically, it is known as implantation bleeding. Not every woman experiences implantation bleeding, though.
Other causes of orange-coloured period blood could be a sexually transmitted disease or bacterial vaginosis (infection). Along with orange-coloured bleeding, bacterial vaginosis also causes grey watery vaginal discharge which is foul-smelling. Women presenting with any of these symptoms must visit a doctor soon.
Grey period blood could indicate bacterial vaginosis or a miscarriage. Medical help is required in both cases.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Irregular Periods.
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