Contrary to old school sanitary towel commercials, period blood comes in a spectrum of colors - and pale blue doesn't feature! In this blog, we break down the different colors of your period and what they can mean.
Period Color Overview
During menstruation, what you see on your pad, tampon or tissue paper generally reflects different points of your period.
Rather than expecting a continuous flow of bright red blood, period blood can range in color from pink to black.
While most colors you see aren’t a cause for concern, they can sometimes indicate something more serious.
Why Are There Different Colors of Period Blood?
What’s with the changing palette, you ask? As above, the color of your flow throughout menstruation generally reflects each stage of your period.
However, certain other factors can impact the color of your period blood, too.
If you're in your 40s, and sometimes even your 30s, you might have encountered the perimenopause. This happens before the menopause, when periods stop for 12 consecutive months.
Common symptoms include changes in the regularity, flow and color of your period, including brown spotting or discharge.
Hormones play a major role when it comes to periods. Over the course of the menstrual cycle, hormone levels rise and fall, which affects the color of the blood you shed.
When your period first starts, for example, you’ll likely see bright red, fresh blood. As it progresses, your period blood will shift to a darker red, which reflects your rising estrogen levels.
Dark blood generally means it’s been in your body longer, which is a result of your uterine lining thickening and your body shedding less blood.
Bright red, dark red, brown or black are all normal shades of period blood, but more unusual colors can indicate an infection or a nutritional problem.
Orange, gray or green period blood can indicate an STD or bacterial vaginosis (BV), while pink blood can be a sign of a nutritional issue. In both cases, it’s best to seek advice from your health provider.
Decoding The Different Colors of Period Blood
Bright Red Period Blood
This color of period blood is totally normal, and usually happens at the start of your period.
This is because it is fresh blood, and has passed through your vagina fairly soon after entering your uterus.
Pink Period Blood
Period blood that’s on the lighter end of the color spectrum usually reflects a lighter flow, too. It's a result of blood mixing with cervical mucus, and you may see this at the start or end of your period.
However, pink period blood can also indicate a nutritional issue or anemia, so if you notice it throughout your period it’s best to speak to your healthcare provider.
Orange Period Blood
Like pink period blood, orange blood can occur when cervical fluid mixes with blood, and can be a normal sign that your period is beginning or ending.
However, orange spotting outside of menstruation may mean you're pregnant or have an infection. If this happens, please speak to your healthcare provider for further advice.
Brown or Dark Red Period Blood
In contrast to the bright red blood you may see at the start of your period, the blood tends to get darker over the course of your cycle.
Dark red period blood usually suggests a slower flow as your bleeding begins to wind down.
Blood changes color as it gets older. Because dark red or brown blood comes from deeper parts of the uterine lining, it has been in your body for longer, giving it a darker color.
Black Period Blood
While it may sound dramatic, black period blood is similar to brown or dark red blood. It’s simply older blood and comes alongside a slower flow as your period progresses.
In rare cases, black period blood can be a symptom of a vaginal blockage - for example a condom, a contraceptive device or a tampon.
If you experience black blood at irregular times, this can also indicate cervical cancer or an STI, so always seek medical advice to check what's normal for you.
Purple Period Blood
Purple probably isn’t a color you’d typically expect to see on your period, but don’t panic yet! This shade of period blood can occur for a few hours over the course of your period, and is usually just a sign of older blood that’s had time to oxidize and change color.
However, purple blood throughout your period can indicate high levels of estrogen in your system, and can be accompanied by symptoms like “brain fog”, headaches, weight gain and a change in menstrual flow. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you think you might have excess estrogen, and they can advise you on the best course of action.
How to Use OVY RELIEF To Relieve Vaginal Pain During Your Period
OVY RELIEF suppositories are easy to use and fast-acting. Simply insert one into the vagina, where it will quickly dissolve.
CBD vaginal suppositories are an effective form of pain and stress relief, and also work to reduce inflammation. Find out more about how OVY RELIEF works in this blog post.
What are unhealthy period blood colors?
The color spectrum is pretty wide when it comes to periods, and most of them aren't a cause for concern. However, consistently purple, orange, pink or black period blood can be a sign of a more serious issue, so it’s a good idea to speak to your healthcare provider to put your mind at ease.
What are the stages of period blood color?
Typically, you can expect the blood you shed during your period to get darker in color over the course of your cycle. Fresh blood will be bright red, before changing to darker red, brown or black.
Which color is best for a period?
Try to remember that period blood doesn’t have a ‘one color fits all’ policy! Everyone who menstruates will experience different shades according to their specific hormonal balance. If you notice something unusual for you, it’s always best to seek advice from your doctor or healthcare provider.
Period Color Charts In A Nutshell
Period blood doesn’t come in any 'uniform' color, and the shades you see during menstruation may differ from someone else's.
The color of your period blood will also change during the course of your cycle, starting with pink or bright red before steadily getting darker.
Most colors aren’t a major cause for concern, but if you notice unusual symptoms or a different shade of period blood to what’s normal for you, it’s always best to visit your healthcare provider for further clarity.