Okay So Why Does My Period Blood Look Black
Take a deep breath because this is no cause for concern. Black period blood is just blood thats older, thats started to clot a little bit, says Rachel Peragallo Urrutia, M.D., an assistant professor of general obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina.
When the lining of your uterus starts sloughing off once a month, the blood doesnt always come out right away and the longer the blood sits in the uterus, the darker it gets, says Urrutia.
While very heavy bleeding could be a sign of something more serious like endometriosis or an infection like pelvic inflammatory disease , Urrutia says youll usually have symptoms other than just black or dark bloodlike severe cramping, pain during sex, or difficulty getting pregnantin which case you should definitely holler at your doctor.
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.
How Does Blood Color Vary During A Period
The color of your period blood can vary throughout your period, and thats normal. When blood comes into contact with air, it goes through a natural process called oxidation. Hemoglobin is a blood compound that transports oxygen and contains iron. When this iron is exposed to air and oxygen, it becomes iron oxide , which has a darker brown color. This explains why your period blood is dark brown sometimes, and it can even look black in some cases.
Youre more likely to see this brown period blood on the first day and last days of your period, when the flow is lighter, but its also normal for it to be bright red at the beginning. Blood tends to be a brighter shade of red during the middle of your period, since the flow is faster, giving the blood less time to oxidize before leaving your uterus. However, you could still see some dark blood clots during heavier flow days.
Seeing a range of red and brown shades during your period is perfectly normal, and unless you experience other troubling period-related symptoms, you probably dont have anything to worry about.
Here are some warning signs that you may need to visit your doctor:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Intense lower abdominal pain during your period or otherwise
- Periods that are too short or too long
- Periods that are too heavy
- Periods that are too close together or too far apart
- Bleeding or spotting outside of your menstrual cycle or after intercourse
- Severe PMS symptoms
- Very irregular and unpredictable cycles
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When To Consult Your Doctor
âIt’s normal to see period blood in pink, red, and brown colors. Consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about color changes in your period blood or if you experience unusual changes in your cycle.
Also, consult your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- âPeriods that last longer than seven days or if you need to change pads and tampons every one to two hours.
- Severe cramping during your menstrual cycle.
- âYou experience dizziness or you feel lightheaded, weak, or tired.
- âYou have chest pain or trouble breathing during or after your period.
- âYour menstrual blood contains clots larger than the size of quarters.
- You have spotting or bleeding anytime in the menstrual cycle other than during your period.
- Your period cycles are shorter than 24 days or longer than 38 days.
- âYou havenât had a period in three months and youâre not pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Your normal cycles have changed and they’re now irregular.
- âYou havenât had your first period by age 15.
- âYou’re still bleeding after menopause, which is when your menstrual cycle comes to an end. Menopause usually takes place in your 40s or 50s.
- âYour vaginal discharge looks abnormal or smells unusually bad.
- You experience high fevers with your periods.
- âYou experience nausea or vomiting with your periods.
Bleeding During Pregnancy Signs Of Early Miscarriage
In the first trimester of pregnancy light bleeding is quite common. However, here are some signs that you dont want to miss out if youre pregnant:
brown discharge especially if it looks like coffee grounds. As mentioned above, this might be just old blood that remained in your vaginal canal for too long, but if in doubt, consult with your doctor
bright red bleeding or clots might raise suspicion, especially in the advanced stage of pregnancy
the usual pregnancy symptoms fading away .
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, dont wait, and contact your gynaecologist.
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Beginning Or End Of Your Period
Your menstrual flow may be slower at the beginning and end of your period. As a result, theblood in your uterus may take longer to exit your body and change from the standard red to a dark brown or black. If you see black spotting before your period, it may also be blood left over from your last period.
In these cases, your vagina is simply cleaning itself out.
End Of Period Blood Is Darker
The most common reason for black period blood is that it occurs at the end of your period. Depending on your blood flow, some small bits of blood may stay in the vagina and turn brown. For example, some women experience light menstrual flow resulting in some blood not being expelled as quickly as usual.
Doctors from WebMD explain that darker menstrual blood can be part of a womans cycle and can appear towards the end of your period. They explain that the period blood that looks dark brown or almost black is just older blood that gets expelled at the end of menstruation.5
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Possible Causes Of Black Blood
The main cause of black blood in the body is due to low blood oxygen levels. This occurs especially when there are few or inadequate red blood cells in the body that can carry oxygen to several organs and tissues in the body. There is also a situation where fluid buildup in the lung sacs. It is important to note that as fluid continues to accumulate, the amount of oxygen reaching the blood becomes less. This will lead to black blood if an injury occurs during this situation.
Another possible cause of black blood can be traced to Emphysema damage of the air sacs in the lungs. It is important to note that this can be done when they break down their inner walls and then have them fused into a large mass. When this happens, the surface area of each of the lungs will be reduced and the implication of this is that the amount of oxygen getting into the blood will be greatly reduced. Deoxygenated blood tends to become black at some point and this is as a result in color difference between the oxyhaemoglobin and deoxyhaemoglobin.
Bright Red Period Blood: Normal
Bright red period blood was produced by the body recently. During a period, that just means whats being shed was recently released into your uterus. You may see more bright red blood if you have a lighter flow or frequent periods. Bright red period blood is also common at the beginning of a cycle. If you see bright red blood outside of your period, that may be a sign of light spotting from hormonal imbalance/flux as a result of ovulation or implantation .
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What To Do About Black Period Blood
Lucky for you, you dont need to take any special measures to deal with black period blood. Simply notice your bodys ability to take care of itself, even on days when your flow is slowing down.
Black period blood isnt dirty and doesnt mean you have an infection. Its a normal, healthy part of your cycle.
You can get long-lasting protection during your cycle from Rael. We create products that help you honor your body every day of the month. Using Raels Reusable Menstrual Cup can give you up to 12 hours of protection with zero leaks. The best part: Its reusable every month for up to 10 years with proper cleaning and storage.
Theres A Possibility Of Cervical Cancer
In very rare cases, black period blood, especially when combined with irregular bleeding after sex or between periods, may be a warning sign of cervical cancer.
Early-stage cervical cancer generally doesnt have signs or symptoms. In more advanced stages of cervical cancer, there may be symptoms such as heavy, watery, bloody vaginal discharge with a foul odor and vaginal bleeding that can eventually turn into dark brown or black period blood. Other telltale signs in the advanced stages of cervical cancer include:
- Bleeding during or after sex
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the legs
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Dark Red Period Blood
In total, your menstrual cycle lasts about four weeks from the first day of bleeding to the start of the next period. Over the course of this cycle, your hormones rise and fall during different phases, resulting in some of the signs and symptoms that you notice each month.
When your period first starts the blood is bright red in appearance, but later in the cycle the color shifts to a dark red. This change in color is completely normal and accompanies rising estrogen levels in your blood. Dark blood is not as fresh its been in your body longer, for instance as the result of a thicker uterine lining or a reduced rate of shedding.
Why Is Period Blood Sometimes Black 8 Reasons For Black Period Blood
Most people start their period around age 12 or 13, assuming there arent any underlying health issues. Menstruation is the monthly discharge of tissue and blood from the inner uterine lining through the vagina. Its color, texture, and duration can sometimes indicate reproductive well-being.
The colors of menstrual blood can range from bright red to orange, brown, or even black. Its important to note that black period blood isnt literally black it’s just so dark that it looks black. While these variations are generally normal, sometimes the appearance of black period blood indicates a problem that could need medical attention.
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Black Period Blood Symptoms
Youve experienced it: Youre using the restroom or changing your period protection when you see what looks like deep, dark, coffee-grind colored blood. Even though you might think your insides are dying, it can all be part of a healthy period.
Black period blood is usually experienced on lighter days, toward the beginning or end of your period, and it can sometimes be accompanied by clots. The color may range from deep red or purple to dark brownish-black.
Brown Or Black Period Blood: Normal
Black or brown period blood is also older blood. Most women notice these colors at the tail end of their period or during light spotting at the beginning. It usually isnt that heavy but can be in those with infrequent periods. Brown blood is also sometimes seen when bleeding is very light and takes some time to make its way out, so to speak. Period blood clots frequently appear darker as well, but well get to that in a moment. You can read more about brown discharge, rather than actual bleeding, here.
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Dark Period Blood : Normal
Dark blood may appear red, or even close to purple, and is typically older blood. It could have been part of the uterine lining and so had more time to break down, begun to coagulate in the vaginal canal, or been exposed to air. Many women notice darker red blood when they first wake up in the morning. This blood may also be clotted.
How Menstrual Clots Form
Your menstrual period starts when hormones trigger your body to shed the lining of the uterus . As the lining sheds, small blood vessels bleed.
To prevent too much blood from being lost, your body forms blood clots using a combination of plasma and platelets .
Mixed into the menstrual blood are also bits of tissue from the uterine lining. Thus, what appears to be a blood clot may actually be a clump of endometrial cells. Or, it can be a mixture of both endometrial cells and blood clots.
Dark red or blackish clots may appear during the first few days of your period when the flow is heaviest. Your period may start or end with bright red blood clots, too. This means the blood is flowing quickly and doesn’t have time to darken.
When your menstrual flow is heavier, blood clots tend to be bigger because there’s a larger amount of blood sitting in the uterus.
In order to pass larger blood clots, the cervix has to dilate a bit, causing pain that can be quite intense. This partially explains why, if you have a heavy flow, you’re more likely to have cramping.
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Endometriosis And Other Conditions
Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. This type of problem and other conditions such as adenomyosis can cause severe pain in the pelvic region and dark blemishes, similar to the color of coffee grounds, that can occur both during and between menstruation.
In these cases, the period, besides being dark, can also last up to 7 days. In case of suspicion, you should go to the gynecologist for an examination, analyses and recommendations for antibiotics, or another form of treatment, such as surgery.
Diagnosis Of Period Problems
âYour doctor will review your medical history and medications and conduct a physical examination to identify the causes of abnormal periods. The physical examination may include a pelvic exam as well as a pap test. Other tests your doctor may order include:
- âBlood tests to check if you have anemia or other medical conditions
- Vaginal cultures to check for possible infections
- âA pelvic ultrasound to check for fibroids , polyps , or cysts .
- âAn endometrial biopsy where a small sample of tissue is taken from the lining of the uterus and is examined under a microscope to check for cancer or other cell abnormalities.
âYour doctor will recommend the right course of treatment based on the cause of your abnormal periods.
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