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The Many Colours of Menstruation

You may be used to seeing your period every month, but it can still surprise you when it shows up and it’s a different colour.  Bright red, dark red, brown, orange or even black… are these normal?  And what do they mean?? 

Let’s go through the different colours in the period rainbow, and help you understand what they mean.

Bright Red Period Blood

Typically found during the first days of your period, or on heavy days, bright red blood indicates that the blood is fresh and flowing quickly.  It may be free of clots or have some clotting depending on how heavy the flow is. 

Dark Red Period Blood

Dark red blood is blood that has been stagnant in the uterus for a little while.  Often the result of lying down and sleeping overnight, the blood has been partially oxidized resulting in a darker colour.  For many women this darker blood is also found during the last days of their period when blood flow is slower, allowing for more time for the blood to oxidize and darken. 

Brown Period Blood

Brown blood is a continuation of the oxidation process that leads to dark red period blood.  It has just been sitting stagnant for longer.  Often associated with very light flow, brown spotting often occurs at the very start of the period, before flow really gets going, or at the very end when flow is slowing down to just a few drops. 

Black Period Blood

This one freaks women out, but it’s just a step further than brown blood.  Often having an almost coffee ground like appearance, black blood is more fully oxidized than brown blood.  It’s nothing to be worried about, unless it happens all the time, in which case you should look at having an ultrasound done. 

Pink Period Blood

Pink period blood usually occurs at the beginning or the end of your period, when the flow is light or spotting.  Pink blood results from the menstrual blood mixing with cervical fluid and vaginal secretions, diluting the colour.  This pink colour is often also seen during ovulation spotting, when cervical fluid production is at its peak. 

Orange Period Blood

A variation on pink period blood, orange period blood also occurs when menstrual blood mixes with cervical fluid or vaginal secretions.  It can occur during ovulation, implantation and when period flow is light. 

Grey Period Blood

Any shade of grey is a reason to see your doctor.  Grey blood, or discharge could be associated with bacterial vaginosis, especially when there is an unpleasant odour associated with the discharge.  So get this one checked out!

Disclaimer

The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.

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