Period Blood Color Meaning
Changes in your period blood color are normal. Different period blood colors can tell you anything from the age of the blood to how far into your period you are. While your overall health generally affects the length of your menstrual cycle and the duration of your period, here are some reasons why period blood may vary in color:
How Do I Know If My Cramps Are Severe
Menstrual cramps feel like a throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen. You may also feel pressure or a continuous dull ache in the area. The pain may radiate to your lower back and inner thighs.
Cramps usually begin a day or two before your period, peaking around 24 hours after your period starts. They typically last for two to three days.
Menstrual cramps can be accompanied by other symptoms, including:
- spotting between periods
How Common Is Period Pain
The medical term for period pain is dysmenorrhoea and it’s a condition that many women are familiar with.
The research on just how many women have painful periods varies but, in a 2012 study from Italy, 84% of young women experienced period pain.
In an Australian study of female high school students, it affected 93%.
Also Check: Why Is My Period So Heavy
Menstrual Cramps Last Too Long
Its normal for the bleeding during menstruation to last anywhere from two to seven days. Its not normal, however, to have bad period cramps that entire time.
Two or three days of menstrual discomfort is considered to be normal.
Cramps may start the day of or day just before the bleeding starts, but they should not continue all the way until the end of your period. They certainly shouldnt still be there after your period ends.
What Are Signs Of An Abnormal Period
What is abnormal menstruation?
- Periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart.
- Missing three or more periods in a row.
- Menstrual flow that is much heavier or lighter than usual.
- Periods that last longer than seven days.
- Periods that are accompanied by pain, cramping, nausea or vomiting.
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Female Bleeding: When Should You See A Doctor
Thankfully, most of the time your period will come and go without causing much fuss. But what about those times when your cycle gets thrown out of whack and you have abnormal bleeding? Should you be concerned?
Every woman is different when it comes to her cycle. However, when period changes happen such as a heavier or lighter flow than usual or timing abnormalities it can be hard to decide if you need to call your doctor or if what youre experiencing is in the range of normal.
Its a good idea to always track your menstrual cycles, including how heavy your flows are, how long they last and how many tampons or pads you use during a single cycle. This information can be useful for your doctor.
We spoke to INTEGRIS Health OB-GYN Dr. Elise Schrop to get her insights on a scary topic. What causes abnormal bleeding, just what is abnormal anyway, and when should you consult your doctor?
“Abnormal bleeding is a very common problem for women,” Dr. Schrop says. “In fact, about a third of office visits to the gynecologist are for abnormal bleeding. It can happen to women of all ages but most commonly occurs in the first several years after a young woman starts having a period and as women start to make the transition to menopause.”
The Different Types Of Period Pain
Doctors divide period pain into two different types. The more common type is called primary dysmenorrhoea. This type of period pain typically starts from your first period, or in the years shortly after.
With this type there is no underlying condition causing the period pain, says Dr Manwaring.
“The levels of pain can vary in primary dysmenorrhoea,” she says. “Typically, the pain has a regular pattern, beginning just before or as the period begins. It usually lasts for 1-3 days, but is most severe during the first or second day of the period.”
The pain is usually located in the lower abdomen , but can also affect the lower back and thighs. It’s often described as a constant ache or a cramping, gripping pain.
Dr Manwaring says the period pain from primary dysmenorrhoea can usually be well controlled with over-the-counter painkillers , the oral contraceptive pill, or through other means for example, a hot water bottle or heat pack, physical activity or relaxation techniques.
“However, if these techniques are not managing the pain, seek advice from a health practitioner,” says Dr Manwaring.
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Causes Of Period Cramps But No Blood
While period cramps are a normal sign of menstruation, there may be times when you dont have blood. These may be signs of other conditions, including:
You may experience a sharp pain or dull cramp when your ovaries release an egg. This is called ovulation and can sometimes be mistaken for period cramps. Because this is earlier in the menstruation cycle, your uterus isnt ready to shed its lining yet, so there is no blood.
Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days after your period and is sometimes called mittelschmerz, which is German for middle pain or pain in the middle of the month.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, or cervix. This is caused by bacteria often introduced into the area through sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea. Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease include:
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Irregular periods like no blood or missed periods
Ruptured ovarian cyst
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on or in one of your ovaries. These cysts can develop for different reasons and can rupture. Some women may experience mild symptoms including pain in the belly or lower abdomen if they have an ovarian cyst.
You may experience period cramps a day or two before your period starts. It is common to experience period symptoms but no blood yet. This may be a sign your period is starting in a few days.
Are Severe Menstrual Cramps Normal
All women experience periods, and everyone fares with their period differently. But there is one particular symptom that almost every woman can relate tomenstrual cramps and ask are severe menstrual cramps normal? Menstrual cramps are a common symptom associated with having a period and may range from being a mild bother to unbearable pelvic pain. These cramps are caused by the uterus contracting in order to shed its lining. In most cases, menstrual cramps start a day or two before your period starts and will last through the second day of your period.
For some women, the severity of their cramps can vary from month to month a woman may go three months with light cramps and in the fourth month have cramps so painful that they keep her up at night. In instances like these, you may wonder: are severe menstrual cramps normal? And if they are, when should you worry? Keep reading to find out more about what is considered normal for period pain.
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How Long Period Pain Lasts
Period pain usually starts when your bleeding begins, although some women have pain several days before the start of their period.
The pain usually lasts 48 to 72 hours, although it can last longer. It’s usually at its worst when your bleeding is heaviest.
Young girls often have period pain when they begin getting periods. Read more about starting periods.
Period pain that does not have an underlying cause tends to improve as a woman gets older. Many women also notice an improvement after they’ve had children.
How Do You Know Which Type You Have
Primary dysmenorrhoea is much more common than secondary dysmenorrhoea. However, because the period pain of secondary dysmenorrhoea can be severe and linked with serious health conditions, it’s important to be aware of what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not when it comes to period pain.
It’s also important to know when it’s okay to manage the pain on your own, and when it’s better to reach out for extra help.
Also Check: Ways To Keep Your Period From Starting
Severe Pain Could Be Endometriosis
If you have severe cramping and pain during your period every month, it could be due to a condition known as endometriosis. This is often mistaken for PMS.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue which should be inside the uterus called endometrium grows outside of the uterus or near other organs. This not only causes severe pain and bleeding during your menstrual cycle, but it also can lead to painful intercourse. In addition, it may cause nausea and painful cramps prior to your period.
Referral To A Specialist
If your period pain has not been controlled after 3 months of treatment with painkillers or a suitable hormonal contraceptive, your GP may refer you to a specialist, which will usually be a gynaecologist.
The specialist will carry out further tests to help confirm or rule out an underlying medical condition. Tests you may have include:
- a urine or blood test
- pelvic ultrasound where high-frequency sound waves are used to produce an image of the inside of your body it’s painless and will show any abnormalities in your reproductive organs
- laparoscopy under general anaesthetic, a small cut is made in your abdomen through which a fibro-optic telescope is inserted it can be used to look at your internal organs as well as take samples of tissue
- hysteroscopy allows the inside of the womb to be examined using a fibro-optic telescope it’s passed through your vagina and into the womb to check for abnormalities
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What Are Period Cramps
About every month, the ovaries release an egg into the uterus. The endometrial lining thickens as it prepares the body for pregnancy. When the egg isnt fertilized, the uterus sheds its lining and starts the process over again.
To shed the lining and move the blood out of the body, the uterus must contract. This contraction causes pain which many female bodies experience as cramping. Some women have period cramps but no blood, which can be a sign of different health conditions.
On The Lookout For Changes
Even though there are a wide array of experiences of period pain, it’s also important to learn what’s normal for you, so you can be on the lookout for any changes.
If you experience a sudden increase in your ‘usual’ levels of period pain, or if you start to get period pain when previously you had none, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor to rule out anything serious.
For more information on pelvic pain including pain that occurs at times outside of your period read our recent article, Pelvic pain: know the different causes and when to seek help.
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Pregnant 1 Day After My Period
Period Pain And Fertility
Period pain that’s part of your normal menstrual cycle will not affect your fertility. However, if the cause is a medical condition, this may affect your fertility.
For example, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause scarring and a build-up of tissue in your fallopian tubes, making it harder for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg.
Causes Of Period Cramps
- Scarring due to sexually-transmitted infections
- Congenital causes
Closely related to endometriosis is a condition called adenomyosis. In women with adenomyosis, the inner lining of the womb grows into the muscular wall of the organ. This causes enlargement of the uterus, heavy menstrual bleeding, and often incapacitating cramps. While endometriosis is common in young women, adenomyosis usually occurs in women in their 30s and 40s, after childbearing.
often cause period cramps, sometimes occurring with . Many women are unaware that they have fibroidseven huge fibroidsuntil they are properly evaluated by a gynecologist. Likewise, polyps in the uterus can cause menstrual cramps in association with heavy flow, and require professional evaluation to detect.
Certain sexually-transmitted infections can cause pelvic pain and period cramps. In particular, chlamydia is notorious for causing pelvic adhesions which can lead to chronic pelvic pain.
Sometimes, period cramps are caused by congenital abnormalitiesproblems in the structure of the female genital organs which are present at birth. In some young women, for example, the flow of menstrual blood to the outside world may be obstructed they may have no period flow at all or only a light flow every month, together with disabling menstrual cramps. Because flow through the vagina is obstructed, blood and tissue from the uterine lining tend to flow backwards through the tubes, and can cause endometriosis.
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Bright Red To Dark Red Or Dark Brown
A healthy blood color ranges from bright red to dark red or brown, depending on how new the blood shed from the uterus is. Some people might describe their old period blood as black, but this can be a sign for something else .
Egg Implantation Spotting
Less likely, brown period blood could also be spotting from egg implantation light bleeding that can occur in the very early stages of pregnancy.
Ovarian Cysts and Lochia
Lochia is natural bleeding that occurs after having a baby. It is mild-to-heavy and lasts around 6-8 weeks after birth, but youll know if youve given birth recently. This colour of period blood may also be a sign of ovarian cysts. Cysts on your ovaries can often go unnoticed, but if youre worried or experiencing other symptoms, like pain during and after sex, or bloating of your abdomen, you should book in to see your doctor.
The Most Common Causes Of Menstruation Cramps Before Period
Besides basic PMS cramping, there are all sorts of reasons you might end up feeling stomach cramps before periods. These conditions can range from reproductive problems to pregnancy. Some of them are quick and easy to treat while others may require more extensive care.
In some cases, the pain in your abdomen might be unrelated to your menstrual cycle. If you have a urinary tract infection or bladder infection, you may be feeling cramp-like pain in your lower abdomen. With UTIs, you tend to also have a fever and pain when urinating. Cramping sensations can also be caused by constipation, stomach flu, and food poisoning. In these cases, your cramping is usually accompanied by strange bowel movements and possibly vomiting.
Another potential cause of stomach cramps before periods is an ovarian cyst. Ovaries grow cyst-like structures every month when releasing an egg. However, the cyst sometimes sticks around after ovulation. It can grow larger and eventually cause pelvic pain and abdominal bloating. Growths can also develop on the uterine wall. Called fibroids, these are associated with cramping, heavy bleeding, and pelvic pain.
You may be able to identify these other conditions just by learning about their symptoms. However, many types of reproductive disorders have very subtle symptoms. You will typically need help from a female or male gynecologist South Florida to get a diagnosis.
Also Check: How To Tell When Your Period Is Over