Color Change During A Period
Blood can change in color and texture from month to month or even during a single period.
Hormonal changes, as well as a persons diet, lifestyle, age, and environment, can all cause variations in period blood.
Period blood can vary from bright red to dark brown according to changes in flow. Infections, pregnancy, and, in rare cases, cervical cancer, can cause unusual blood color or irregular bleeding.
People who experience unusually long or heavy periods may require an appointment with a doctor.
Healthy period blood can contain visible pieces of the uterine lining. These small pieces of tissue, or clots, in the blood are not a cause for concern.
However, very heavy bleeding or large clots can be a sign of menorrhagia. According to the , menorrhagia is when a person has unusually heavy menstrual bleeding or periods that last for more than 7 days.
The CDC recommend seeing a doctor if a person has one of the following:
- bleeding that requires a person to change a tampon or pad after less than 2 hours
- blood with clots that are the size of a quarter or bigger
The CDC also list the following as causes of menorrhagia:
- growths on the uterus, such as uterine fibroids or polyps
- hormonal imbalances
Some Are Normal But Others Can Be A Sign Of Issues Like Uterine Fibroids
Peter Weiss, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN and expert in women’s health.
For most individuals who menstruate, occasional period blood clots are normal and nothing to be concerned about. That said, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and other conditions can cause blood clots to appear in your period blood too.
One sign of an abnormal blood clot is that it is the size of a quarter or larger.
This article explains what period blood clots are made of, how they form, and signs that they may not be normal and need to be evaluated by a healthcare practitioner.
Why Is My Blood So Dark
However, when the human blood becomes deoxygenated, under specific circumstances, the blood tends to get dark and usually is dark red, blackish red, or maroon in color. This dark blood indicates health problems. At times, human blood can also tend to be brown, green or dark red in color because of some abnormal form of hemoglobin.
Blood flowing in human veins is darker in color since the oxygen carried by blood has already been delivered to the different cells of the body. Thus the veins carry the lowest oxygenated blood. Most of the wounds and cuts in human beings make blood flow from the veins since the veins are near the outer surface of the skin. Since commonly the cuts impact the veins, the blood that we see flowing out is dark red in color. In fact, in case of bight red color blood is seen oozing out of a wound, it should be immediately checked with the doctor since this might indicate a severed artery.
Thus, the most common cause of dark blood is due to the reduction of oxygen levels in the blood. More the oxygenation of blood reduces darker the color of the blood gets. Apart from this, there are certain cases of blood poisons which can cause the blood to get a rust color which might not be as dark as black but certainly not the healthy blood color.
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Why Is My Blood So Dark And Red
Blood is the most important fluid which sustains life within our body by supplying oxygen to all our body parts and the cells of these body parts. It is an important life giving substance which should be taken care of. However, along with being the life saving fluid, it also acts as an indicator of our well being.
That is the reason, in case of any health ailment, a blood test is prescribed since the blood test is one test which can reveal the exact health parameters and the exact causes of any health ailments if any. Following the blood color and taking a clue from the blood color is one of the essential tricks to estimate the health of our body.
Orange Gray Or Green Period Blood Colors
Orange period blood can be a normal outcome of cervical fluid mixing with blood.
Orange spotting not linked to a period may mean you’re pregnant. It can occur when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. This takes place between about 10 and 14 days after conception.
However, orange, gray, or green tinges to your period blood or vaginal discharge are often a sign of infection, such as:
- Some sexually transmitted infections
Other symptoms of an infection include:
- Vaginal itching and discomfort
- Discharge with a bad odor, including a “fishy” smell
- Painful urination
See a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. You may need an antibiotic to clear up the infection.
Why Is My Period Blood Dark Red
Most usually, dark red period blood can occur after you have been laying down or waking up with your period, simply meaning the blood has been sitting in your uterus for some time. Dark red period blood is associated with other things as well, such as the end of your period when it slows down, or lochia, the heavy bleeding after delivery of a baby. Lochia bleeding can appear clotted or dark red before changing to another shade or texture after a few days. Dark red period blood is old blood that has not oxidized enough to turn brown.
Bright Red Menstrual Blood
Bright red menstrual blood may occur at the beginning of your period, signifying that the blood is flowing quickly and is fresh. Your period may darken as your flow slows down, or it may stay bright red throughout the duration of your menstruation. Bright red menstrual blood, although it is often normal, can point to other health conditions that may need to be evaluated by your doctor. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Pink Period Blood
Your blood can look pink at the beginning or end of your period, especially if you are spotting. This light pink shade is due to cervical fluid mixing with your period blood, which dilutes the color. Sometimes, pink period blood can indicate low estrogen concentrations in your body. Because estrogen helps stabilize your uterine lining, without it, you can spot throughout your cycle, including spotting pink.
Orange Period Blood
How The Blood Changes During Your Period/is My Period Blood Supposed To Change Colour
Yes, it is normal for your period blood to change colour throughout your cycle daily, month to month, or even throughout your lifetime.
During a period, the colour can vary in brightness, darkness, and hue, from bright reds to dark browns. This will depend on the flow and how new the period blood is. These often change on different days of your period e.g. on day one or two, your flow will be faster, the blood will be newer and therefore is likely to be bright red. Further into your period as your flow might slow or blood might be older, your period blood is likely to be darker in colour.
However, if you see a colour that isnt usually what youd expect, its always best to check in with your doctor, especially if youre experiencing other symptoms that are out of the ordinary for you.
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Why Is Blood Red In Colour
Human blood is originally red in color. The human blood helps in transporting the most vital substances such as minerals, oxygen, and other essential compounds across different parts of the body. However, under certain serious health conditions, the blood becomes dark and at times almost black. It is important to understand the conditions and the reasons why your blood is so dark?
The healthy human blood color is bright red. This is because the blood of human beings carries oxygen to all the parts of the human body. Well, oxygenated human blood has the healthy blood color of bright red due to the presence of hemoglobin, the respiratory pigment, which is responsible for transporting oxygen to the tissue cells.
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 Should I Call My Doctor
During menstruation, it is normal for the color of your blood to look different or change from start to finish. Many factors affect the hue of your period blood, and some are totally normal! However, some changes in color are not normal, and need to get checked out by your doctor. The general rule of thumb is that if something looks or feels off or you are experiencing other symptoms in addition to that change, call your doctor.
Here are some reasons to make a healthcare appointment:
- Irregularity in your menstrual cycle, meaning the length from one month to the next in which you menstruate.
- Length of your cycles being less than 24 or longer than 38 days.
- Not having a period for three-plus months.
- Experiencing significant pain or additional symptoms that go hand in hand with your period.
- Bleeding or spotting between periods.
- Bleeding after menopause.
It is safest to contact your doctor when you are pregnant if you experience any bleeding whatsoever. It could be nothing, but it may be a miscarriage, so it is always better to run it by a medical professional. Gray or pink watery discharge should always be evaluated for infection, miscarriage, or otherwise. Young women who just began menstruation and perimenopausal women are most likely to expect irregular changes in their period.
Abnormal Period Blood Clots
Menorrhagia refers to heavy menstrual bleeding and menstrual bleeding that lasts more than seven days.
Your flow is considered heavy when you have to change your pad or tampon after less than two hours, or you are passing blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger.
Depending on your age and medical history, there are many conditions that could be increasing the volume of your menstrual flow and/or causing abnormally large clots to form.
Some of these conditions include:
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When Do I Need To Worry About The Color Of My Period Blood
The most important thing is to know whats normal for you. Keep an eye on the color and consistency of your period blood. Use an online app or simply jot down your observations in a notebook. Understanding whats normal for you means you will quickly pick up when something is different.
There are some potential warning signs where its recommended you consult with your health professional. These include the following:
- An unexpected change in the regularity of your periods
- Bleeding for more than seven days or between periods
- Pain or severe cramping during menstruation
- Passing large clots
- Orange or grey-colored period blood, especially if itching or an unpleasant fishy smell.
When To See A Doctor
A healthy period can be a variety of shades and textures, but some period changes should be mentioned to a healthcare professional. For instance, if your period lasts longer than 7 days or is so heavy that youre soaking through a pad or tampon every hour or two, its time to make an appointment.
Other reasons to make an appointment:
- your cycles are irregular, changing dramatically in length from one month to the next
- your cycles are shorter than 24 or longer than 38 days in length
- you havent had a period in three months or longer
- your bleeding is accompanied by other symptoms, like severe pain
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Pink To Light Pink Or White
Low Estrogen Levels / Low Flow
Youll most likely see pink to light pink blood at the beginning or end of your cycle, and this just means a low flow of fresh menstrual blood. If its the only blood you see over multiple periods, its a possible sign that your estrogen levels are low. Another symptom of low estrogen levels is vaginal dryness. If you notice both, we recommend you see your doctor.
Outside of your regular period cycle, pink spotting can be from mid-cycle bleeding, this is quite common and normal for some people.
If you get pink vaginal discharge when youre not on your period or outside of whats typical of your body, it could be a sign of cervical cancer and you should get it checked out by your healthcare provider.
How Is This Treated
Black discharge may be a part of your menstrual cycle and require no special treatment. When the discharge is heavy and accompanied by other symptoms, like fever, pain, or a bad odor, its a good idea to see a doctor.
The treatment for black discharge depends on the cause. For example:
- Infections like PID are managed by antibiotics. Follow all instructions from your doctor and take measures to protect yourself from reinfection, like practicing safe sex.
- Missed miscarriage may eventually resolve on its own. If not, your doctor may suggest a dilation and curettage procedure. In this procedure, your doctor uses medical instruments and medication to dilate your cervix while youre under anesthesia. A surgical instrument called a curette is then used to remove any tissue.
- Retained menses may require surgery to treat any underlying conditions that led to blockage.
- Treatment for cervical cancer may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.
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Is Brown Blood Normal
In most cases, brown blood during your period is normal.
The color and consistency of blood can change throughout your menstrual cycle. It may be thin and watery one day, and thick and clumpy the next. It may be bright red or brown, heavy or light. Its normal for your periods to vary in length, heaviness, and level of discomfort.
Brown blood is usually present toward the end of your cycle. As your body sheds the uterine lining in the first few days of your cycle, the blood is normally red. However, near the end of your cycle, the discharged blood is older and can be discolored.
Sometimes, spotting or brown discharge occurs in the middle of your cycle, during ovulation. This is more common in younger girls who are just starting to have their periods, women starting birth control, or women nearing menopause. When you experience bleeding between periods, you should see a doctor or nurse practitioner to make sure its not a symptom of a problem.
Certain types of birth control can cause brown discharge during your period, or even between periods. These include birth control implants such as Nexplanon, known as the bar. Birth control affects your hormone levels, so in many cases brown discharge is normal, even at the beginning of your period.
Is It Normal For Period Blood To Come Out In Clumps
During my period most of my blood comes out in quarter-sized clumps. My periods are normally heavy, but do these clumps mean that something is wrong? Jessica*
It’s perfectly normal to notice some clumps from time to time during your period. These are blood clots that may contain tissue. As the uterus sheds its lining, this tissue leaves the body as a natural part of the menstrual cycle. So clots of tissue are usually nothing to be concerned about. But if you notice large or frequent clots, talk to your health care provider to make sure your period is normal.
You also mention that your periods are heavy. If your period soaks through more than one pad or tampon every 12 hours, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner. It’s also a good idea for a girl to get checked out if her periods last for longer than a week or if she is having a lot of pain with her periods.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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