Our periods are a great way to check in with how our bodies are doing. The colour, texture, smell, and more gives us great insight into how our bodies are operating, allowing us to get more attuned and in touch with ourselves.
Keep reading to discover what your period says about your health and become your own period whisperer. This information will be helpful for your next OBGYN appointment, so no matter what your blood is like, it’s always a good idea to use a to log this information. It can also help you notice if there are any weird patterns or anomalies – or discover what is normal for you.
Period blood colour meaning
Changes in your period blood colour are normal. Different period blood colours can tell you anything from the age of the blood to how far into your period you are. In some cases, it can also. While your overall health generally affects the length of your menstrual cycle and the duration of your period, here are some reasons why period blood may vary in colour:
Bright red to dark red or dark brown
A healthy blood colour 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 also be a sign for something else (keep on reading!).
Less likely, brown period blood could also be egg implantation spotting – light bleeding that can occur in the very early stages of pregnancy, ovarian cysts and lochia – mild-to-heavy bleeding that occurs 6-8 weeks after having a baby, but you’ll know if you’ve given birth recently.
Pink to light pink or white
You’ll 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 it’s the only blood you see over multiple periods, it’s a possible sign that your estrogen levels are low.
Outside of your regular period cycle, pink spotting can be from mid-cycle (ovulatory) bleeding, this is quite common and normal for some people. If you get pink vaginal discharge when you’re not on your period or outside of what’s typical of your body, it could be a sign of cervical cancer and you should get it checked out by your healthcare provider.
Grey to black
You may find yourself asking: Why is my period blood black? Similar to dark red or brown period blood, it usually means your period blood has reacted with oxygen and the majority of water in the blood has evaporated; i.e. it’s slightly older period blood that took a little longer to leave your uterus.
Grey, however, can also be a sign of an infection. If it’s accompanied by heavy bleeding and grey tissue, it could be a sign of a miscarriage. In either situation, it’s best to see your healthcare provider as soon as you can.
Unusual period colours: green, purple, orange
If you have an unusual period colour, it could be a vaginal infection symptom. However, if it happens as a consistent part of your menstrual cycle, it could be normal. If it happens often, but seemingly inconsistently, and has an unpleasant , it is worth taking the time to talk to your doctor.
Period blood consistency and texture meaning
The texture and consistency of your period blood can be a sign of the health of your uterus lining. Period blood is also made up of endometrial tissue, so the texture varies as a result of this. Whether it’s thick or clumpy, or smooth and light – different flow viscosity (i.e. the thickness of menstrual blood) is normal throughout your period and no cause for alarm.
‘Normal’ period blood will differ from person to person, but you can typically expect a thicker consistency at the start of your period. Every menstrual cycle you experience will differ slightly. Some may experience bleeding to be more like a runny liquid at the beginning.
In most cases, a thinner, watery texture is a sign of light menstrual flow. If accompanied with a light pink period blood colour, this could be a sign of stress or pre-menopause.
However, you should talk to your healthcare provider if you get it with a greyish discharge colour, as it can be a sign of an infection or something more serious. If it feels out of the ordinary for your body, it’s always worth taking the time to talk to your doctor.
Clots/thick and clumpy
Clots and thick clumps in period blood are completely normal – especially on the heaviest days of a period. It’s particularly common with darker period blood colour because it’s had time to build up, in comparison to quicker flows of fresh bright red blood.
When the period blood clots are a similar size to a golf ball or consistently around the size of a 5 pence coin, it’s time to talk to your doctor. It may be an indication of a miscarriage or a uterine fibroid – a small, non-cancerous growth inside the uterus.
Menstrual blood that is slippery and has a jelly-like texture is mixed with high levels of cervical mucus, which is totally normal.
Stringy period blood, usually dark red to dark brown in colour, means older blood. It’s simply another type of bloody clot and is totally normal! But, if the stringy blood at the end of your flow happens to be heavier too, then it may need to be seen by a doctor, so book in an appointment.
Period blood colours and textures vary throughout your cycle – this is completely normal! The most important thing is to pay attention to your body and the patterns of variations in your period. Minor changes in period color and texture don’t necessarily suggest a health problem, and you know what’s normal for your body.
It’s important to know what is normal for your period so you can tell when something feels out of the ordinary and just not right. If you experience any prolonged changes in your menstrual cycle, it’s always better to reach out to your doctor.