It’s normal for the colour of period blood to change while you’re menstruating. Change in colour can signify hormonal fluctuations, changes in the amount of blood you’re losing and it depends on how long the blood takes to leave your body. The longer blood stays inside the uterus, the darker it will be (brown, dark red or black) because the longer it stays in the uterus the longer it has to react to oxygen which makes it darker in colour.
Black or brown:
This is perfectly normal, although it can be alarming when you first encounter it. Black or brown blood just means the blood is old, and it’s common at the end or very beginning of your period. At the end of your period the blood turns brown because it takes longer to leave your uterus and has more time to react to oxygen. It’s brown at the beginning because that’s left-over blood from the last period. Brown or black blood could also be a symptom of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy if you were pregnant and experience unusual bleeding.
Just like brown and black period blood, dark red blood has also been sitting in the uterus for a long time. It’s also common to come across at the beginning or end of your period.
If your flow is lighter than it usually is then it may turn pink. It could also be pink if you spot between periods or it could mean you’re ovulating. If you’re very athletic, had significant changes in weight or are extremely stressed for a long time then your period blood may turn pink too. If this occurs for more than one month, you should have it checked out by a doctor.
This is common in the middle of your period, when it really begins to flow from the uterus. Some people experience the bright red blood right from the start of their period, while others only experience it a few days later. Both of these are normal.
Purple or blue:
Purple and blue period blood is actually not as worrying as it sounds. It could mean that you’re experiencing very low estrogen levels or that there’s some blood clotting. Purple period blood is very similar in colour to brown period blood except it’s much older which explains the colour. Clots can also be described as clumps of discharge mixed with blood. This is also normal, and they can be any colour from red to purple. If you experience these more frequently than usual or if they become large you should speak to a doctor.
Orange blood is usually not anything to be concerned about. However, if you do notice any changes to the texture or scent it can be a symptom of an infection or STI. If you’re also experiencing pain or itchiness then you should consult with a doctor.
Grey blood usually signifies an infection. So, if you’re experiencing other symptoms like itchiness, pain or swelling you should book a doctor’s appointment. If you’re sexually active and can get pregnant it could also be a sign of a miscarriage.
All in all, it boils down to how well you know your body and your cycle. Keeping track of any changes to your cycle, whether it’s your period blood colour, the flow or your discharge can really help you understand your body more which allows you to identify when something isn’t right. Remember, it’s always best to consult a doctor especially if you’re not 100% sure about something.