Orange blood to grey discharge – colour of your period and when to see your doc
When your period shows up it usually brings a whole host of not-so-fun things with it, including cramps, bloating, fatigue and cravings.
But there is a silver lining to what is often the worst time of the month; your period can actually provide you with some very important insights into your health.
For example, irregular periods can be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, hormone imbalances or thyroid problems, while no period at all might have you reaching for a pregnancy test.
Another part of your period that can tell you about your overall health is the colour of your blood.
It’s normal for menstrual blood to change from day to day throughout your period, but it’s still important to keep an eye out for any unusual changes.
Here’s everything you need to know about what the colour of your period blood says about your health.
Bright red period blood
While bright red blood can be scary to see, there is nothing to be alarmed about.
Bright red blood is just fresh blood that indicates a steady flow.
You’ll usually get bright red blood at the start of your period during the days when you have your heaviest flow, as this is when the blood is new.
Brown blood is quite common to see during your period and is usually just a sign of old blood that has lost its red colour because it has oxidised.
Brown blood can come at the start of your period because there may be blood left over from your last period. It also commonly occurs towards the end of your period.
Women who have an IUD are more likely to experience brown blood during their period because they’re shedding a smaller amount of the uterus lining each month, so it takes a lot longer.
Brown blood can also be an early sign of pregnancy, so if you are experiencing any other signs of pregnancy then you may want to take a test or see your doctor.
Black period blood
You might be alarmed to see black blood during your period, but there’s no need to panic.
Black blood, like brown blood, is just old blood that has taken some extra time to leave the uterus.
Sometimes, black blood can be a sign of a vaginal blockage. Other symptoms of this include:
- Difficulty peeing
- Itching or swelling around the vagina
- Foul-smelling discharge
You should speak to your doctor if you think that you may have a vaginal blockage.
Pink blood may occur at the beginning or end of your period when you may have a lighter flow.
The lighter shade of blood usually happens because your blood has mixed with your cervical fluid.
Pink blood is normal to experience, but if you are experiencing it at different points in your cycle then this may be an indication of low estrogen levels.
Other signs of low estrogen include:
- Hot flashes
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
If you think you may be suffering from low estrogen levels then you should see your doctor.
Orange period blood
Like pink blood, orange blood may occur during your period as a result of the blood mixing with your cervical fluid.
However, orange blood can also be a sign of infection such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.
If you have orange blood then you should check for other signs of these infections.
Orange blood doesn’t always mean that you have an infection, but it might be a good idea to check with your doctor just in case.
Grey discharge can often be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, which is a condition that occurs because of an imbalance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in your vagina.
Another symptom of bacterial vaginosis is discharge that smells fishy.
Bacterial vaginosis is usually treated with antibiotics, if you have symptoms then you should see your doctor or gynaecologist.
Blood clots can be a normal part of your period and are usually nothing to worry about.
Blood clots are usually just small parts of the uterine lining and are a normal part of your cycle.
However, large blood clots could be an indicator that something is wrong.
If you experience clots that are more than an inch in diameter then you should consult a doctor.
Women who have very heavy periods could get large clots and these can be a sign of hypothyroidism, uterine fibroids, symptomatic anaemia, or menorrhagia.
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