Here’s what THE COLOR OF YOUR PERIOD BLOOD can tell you about your health

Color and consistency change throughout the blood cycle. It is not surprising that the color can be different for everyone. Here’s what it means for your health.

Menstrual bleeding can change from day to day during menstruation. From the bright red color that many people look forward to on the first day of bleeding, to the deeper shades that accompany periods of blood clots, menstruation shows a different color wheel, each of which is unique to the individual. As described by Excellent Health, what’s reflected on your pad, tampon, or period panty is “a mixture of blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus, so its color and thickness are not the same as the blood flowing through your veins.”

Menstruation can be inherently unique, but it’s important to observe how your period looks and be aware of any unusual changes or problems that are out of the norm. A better understanding of your period can have a significant impact on your health and empower you to take a proactive approach to your health. It’s common for menstrual blood to stick to different colors on the color wheel, but some colors are based on body changes and other factors.

There’s little evidence that blood color can tell you how well your hormones are working, but doctors note that there are things to look out for when you’re on your period. Bleeding between periods or periods that seem irregular or odorless should be discussed with a doctor or medical professional. Menstruation larger than an inch is always a cause for concern. Abnormal menstrual bleeding can include regular bleeding that soaks through clothing or bedding and requires you to avoid daily activities or take time off work; need more than one pad at a time to control menstrual flow; bleeding lasting more than a week; or bleeding that penetrates through one or more tampons or pads every hour for several hours.

So, what colors can you expect when you’re on your period, and what exactly do they mean to your body? Here’s a look at menstrual blood and what it means for you.

Bright red
Bright red blood is often seen in the first days of bleeding. This blood is fresh, meaning it has just left your vagina, so it is common at the beginning of your period. Bright red blood is common in people with abdominal pain. Cramps occur when the uterus contracts, which makes blood flow more difficult.

Deep red
Dark red, brown or black menstrual blood is old blood. Dark red blood is usually slow because it darkens during the blood cycle. Bleeding also slows down as old blood flows from deep within the lining of the uterus.

People experience blood clots during menstruation. During menstruation, the lining of the uterus is torn, causing small blood vessels to tear. Hormonal changes at the end of the menstrual cycle cause this lining to begin to build up, and clotting factors become part of this cycle. Blood clots are not normal and therefore not a cause for concern, but if you see a clot larger than 1 inch in diameter, it may indicate heavy menstrual bleeding and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Pink blood is often mixed with vaginal discharge (which is white) with light bleeding and turns pink. Very mild periods may also appear pink. It’s common for people on birth control pills to have lighter periods, making pink periods more common.

In some cases, a gray discharge may appear from the vagina, which is usually a sign of a bacterial vaginal infection, commonly known as bacterial vaginosis, and requires immediate treatment.

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