Most women are used to seeing only red period blood but there are other colors that could tell you if something is wrong with your body.
Periods are somewhat of a taboo topic. Period blood - even more so. But the importance of it is so great that understanding it can potentially save you from severe health issues. While blood might make a few people squeamish, it's the color of the blood that truly matters as well as how much blood you lose. It could tell you if there's something wrong with your body before it gets worse.
Medical News Today states that hormonal changes and health conditions can affect the color and the texture of your period blood. The blood that remains in the uterus for long periods of time will react with oxygen which will cause it to appear darker. So understanding what the color of your blood means can indicate certain health conditions you may be suffering from.
There are six main colors to watch out for:
1. Bright red
If your period blood is this color, you don't have much to worry about, especially if is a steady flow. This color means that your blood is fresh and towards the end of the period, it starts to darken. Some people might notice that their blood remains bright red throughout their period.
However, if you notice that there is spotting when you're not on your period, it could be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia or gonorrhea. Even fibroids in the uterine lining can cause heavier than usual bleeding.
A more serious condition that your bright red blood might indicate is cervical cancer, though it is rare. If you experience the following symptoms, it's essential that you visit your doctor immediately:
- heavier than normal periods
- longer duration of the cycle
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- bleeding after engaging in sexual intercourse
- pain in your lower back, legs or pelvis
- a drop in appetite
- sudden and unexplained weight loss
This color usually appears when there is old blood coming out. It turns black because of how much time the blood has taken to leave the uterus and it has had the time to oxidize. If your period blood is black, then it could be a sign that there is blockage inside your vagina. It can be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- itching or swelling in your genitals
- pain while urinating
A visit to the doctor might be required.
3. Dark red/brown
Similar to finding black blood, brown or dark red blood can also be an indication of vaginal blockage. It can come at the start or end of your periods.
When dark red or brown vaginal discharge is seen after you've given birth, it is termed lochia or postpartum bleeding. It's just your body's way of expelling excess blood and tissue from your uterus. It normally starts with a bright red color but lightens as the flow decreases over time. The amount of time that it lasts depends from person to person but it usually ends after the first few months post-delivery. Not all women will experience it though.
This color can come when your period blood is mixed with the cervical fluid. Even the use of hormonal supplements can lower your estrogen levels which results in the pinkish hue of the blood during periods. If during sexual intercourse, your vagina has small tears, the blood can mix with your discharge and make it pink.
Some of the other health conditions that pink blood can indicate are:
- unhealthy diets
- pregnancy (if it occurs during and you experience cramps alongside, it could be a sign of a miscarriage)
- significant weight loss
Sometimes, the blood that is mixed with cervical fluid can become a shade of orange. In a more serious state, it can be a sign of infections like bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. If you also experience vaginal itching, discomfort, and foul-smelling discharge, then a visit to your doctor or gynecologist is required.
If you see gray discharge during your periods, it could be a sign that you might be suffering from bacterial vaginosis. It's a condition that happens when there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in your vagina. This is a serious condition that will require immediate treatment.
Another cause for gray discharge might be a miscarriage. For women who see gray chunks in their discharge, it is necessary that they visit a doctor urgently.