The color of your period blood could be your body letting you know something's up. Here's how to read your flow.
What Does Your Period Color Mean?
Our guest blogger Mika Doyle joins us this week to discuss the surfing the crimson wave (as well as the wave of every other colour!)
When you’re born with a uterus, you’re told at some point in your adolescent life you’re going to start getting a period. But what you’re usually not told is that your period might not always be the same color. In fact, it might not always be red. Like, wut? So when you see pink or brown or, cripes, black period blood, it’s hard not to think there’s something totally wrong with you and your uterus is about to fall out and omg what is happening to me…
The truth that puberty class conveniently left out is that period blood comes in a lot of different shades. Health expert and ob-gyn Dr. Sheryl Ross says to think about period blood as “more of a rainbow-type situation.” To help you decipher what your period color means, here’s a break down of the most common period colors and what they might mean about your health:
What Does Black Period Blood Mean?
Let’s start with what’s probably the scariest period blood color if you haven’t seen it before. It can be really unsettling to see black period blood in the middle of your cycle. I mean, let’s be honest, it kind of sounds like something out of a horror movie, right? But black period blood isn’t necessarily anything to get worked up about.
According to Women’s Health, black period blood is just old blood that’s taken a little longer to clear out of your body. Dr. Rachel Peragallo Urrutia, an assistant professor of general obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina, told Women’s Health that sometimes when the uterine lining starts to slough off, the blood doesn’t come out right away, and the longer it takes to come out, the darker it gets. The result? Black period blood.
What Does Gray Period Blood Mean?
If black period blood is nothing to worry about, what about gray period blood? Well, that’s a different story. Dr. Rebecca Brightman, an ob-gyn in New York City, told Cosmopolitan that the most common reason period blood looks gray is infection. That means you could be dealing with bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. If you ever notice any gray period blood or vaginal discharge, make an appointment with your doctor.
What Does Brown Period Blood Mean?
Brown period blood is a lot like black period blood — it might seem weird at first, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Dr. Felice Gersh, board-certified ob-gyn, told Hello Giggles that brown period blood just means the flow of blood is slow enough for the blood to oxidize, which is similar to iron rusting. So basically, you’re menstruating just fast enough for your blood to look rusty instead of black. That’s why, says Gersh, you usually see brown period blood at the beginning and end of your period. It all has to do with the speed of your menstrual flow.
What Does Dark Red Period Blood Mean?
You usually see dark red period blood when you wake up in the morning or after you’ve been lying down for awhile, according to Heathline. That’s because (you guessed it) the blood has been sitting in your uterus for awhile. You might also notice your period tends to look at little darker towards the end of your period because your flow usually slows down, says Healthline. Are you starting to see the pattern here?
What Does Bright Red Period Blood Mean?
Prevention says bright red period blood indicates your reproductive system is working like it should. According to Heathline, when your period blood is bright red, the blood is fresh and flowing quickly. This is good news if you’re seeing this during your regularly scheduled periods, but if it’s happening between periods, says Heathline, make sure to talk to your doctor.
What Does Bright Pink Period Blood Mean?
If you’re seeing bright pink period blood, there could be several culprits causing the lighter color, according to Prevention. You might have low estrogen levels, need to evaluate your nutrition, have polycystic ovarian syndrome, or be entering perimenopause, says Prevention. But Healthline says it could just mean your period blood has just mixed with your cervical fluid, making your period blood appear more pinkish than red. If you’re concerned about your period being brighter pink instead of red, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on.
What Does Orange Period Blood Mean?
Healthline says orange period blood can also mean the same thing as bright pink period blood: the blood has mixed with your cervical fluid. But it could also be implantation spotting, says Healthline, which typically happens 10 to 14 days after conception. If you have spotting that’s not following by a period, you might want to take a pregnancy test.
What Does Whitish Period Blood Mean?
Whitish period blood that’s watery and diluted down is not a good sign, ya’ll. Dr. Alyssa Dweck, assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, told Prevention that this could mean you have a nutritional deficiency. If your period is looking whitish, watery, or diluted, make an appointment with your doctor.
Period blood can say so much about what’s going on with your health. If you’re ever concerned or have any questions about what your period might be saying about your health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor to make sure your body isn’t trying to tell you something important.