What your period blood color really means
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Love her, hate her, or celebrate her - a visit from aunty Flo each month shows you that everything is happy and healthy with your lady bits. During your period, you might notice slight changes in the and might be asking yourself: 'Wait... is that normal?!'
It is normal for the of your to range from crimson to . can even be darker, - or almost black in color. Usually, (or any other odd color) isn't anything to be worried about. However, sometimes seeing an unusual could indicate a vaginal infection, bacterial infections, hormonal imbalances, or other medical conditions that need to be checked out.
What Happens During Your Period?
The lining of your uterus, or womb, builds up and becomes thicker throughout your . This is where a fertilized egg would embed if you were to become pregnant. However, if you're not pregnant, this menstrual and is often accompanied by those characteristic period pains. sheds and works its way out of your womb every month when you have your . This causes
This lining of your uterus, called your endometrium, contains numerous spiral-shaped arteries. These arteries supply fertilized eggs with , nutrients, and oxygen. Before you get your period (when you're not pregnant), these arteries constrict. Once this happens, your endometrium starts to break away from your uterus wall, causing the arteries to bleed. Because the arteries are already constricted, the amount of that is lost when this happens is limited. The lining of your uterus breaks away a little bit at a time. These pieces of shed and slowly work their way through your cervix and out through your vagina.
This mixture of and tissue is what we refer to as , even though it technically isn't only that comes out.
The Different Colors of You Can Get During Your Period.
It's normal for your to differ in color throughout your period. The differences in color are usually caused by the coming into contact with oxygen. This becomes oxidized as it interacts with the oxygen. Oxidized should not be confused with oxygenated that becomes redder as it binds with oxygen to carry it to your body cells.
Dark red, brown, or .
Your endometrium becomes darker the longer it's been separated from its supply and has been exposed to oxygen. The longer it takes to leave your body, the darker it becomes. The and tissue take longer to leave your body at the beginning and end of your period. This usually makes the discharge you see at these times darker in color.
The longer it stays in your body, the darker it will become. It could turn from dark red to brown and eventually to black. Although and , can be expected, could indicate a blockage inside your vagina. In this case, the dark fluid will be accompanied by other symptoms like having a fever, having difficulty urinating, and itching or swelling in or around your vagina. There might also be a funky smelling discharge.
Around the second or third day, your flow will usually increase and turn bright red. During this time, and uterine tissue leave your body quicker than at the beginning and the end of the period. Because this spends less time being exposed to oxygen, it will appear as a brighter, almost crimson color. Some people have throughout their period and see no changes in their .
It is also common to experience darker in color mixed with the during this time. These are usually slightly or tissue working its way out along with the newly released fluids.
Your levels can be caused by perimenopause or being on hormonal birth control that does not contain estrogen. could look pink or light red if it's mixed with . A could cause this. Estrogen helps to stabilize your . If you have a , you could shed parts of your throughout your cycle - not just during your period - and this could show up as .
could also be caused by small tears in your vagina or cervix from sex. The from these tiny tears then mixes with your vaginal fluids and , and it comes out as a pink discharge. Usually, these small tears heal on their own, but you might want to speak to a medical professional if sex is painful for you.
Your body might cause a small amount of during the time in your when it releases an egg. This is referred to as ovulation and is often pink in color as it mixes with your vaginal mucus.
On the other hand, if you experience a pink discharge that is watery and irregular (read: not related to your cycle), it could be a sign of cervical cancer and needs to be checked out.
A gray usually means you have . is where there is an imbalance of the good and harmful bacteria in your vagina. In this case, the gray will be accompanied by a foul odor, burning, painful urination, and itching in and around your vagina.
Your a , especially if is accompanied by discomfort and (again) a strange smelling discharge. might also appear orange if it's mixed with your . Although this could be normal, it might also indicate
that isn't part of your regular cycle.
is light or spotting that happens when an embryo attaches to your uterine wall. Implantation spotting is usually lighter and shorter in length than your normal period. It could show up between 10 to 14 days (or up to 8 weeks) after conception and can be mistaken for your regular period. isn't the only that could occur naturally - and that shouldn't necessarily raise concern.
Abnormally and at irregular times during your cycle - not when you are supposed to have your period - could indicate that your bits aren't healthy. In these cases, it is always recommended that you have it checked out.
is a natural part of your body's natural monthly . For the most part, seeing different colors of is normal and healthy.
The color of your are strong indicators to look at when deciding whether something might not be quite right down there., , and
While a , bright red, pink, orange, and even could all be seen during a healthy period, if it is accompanied by any symptoms that raise concerns, you need to visit a medical professional.