The flow, consistency, and color of your menstrual blood can change daily during your cycle and is often harmless. However, every girl must be sure of her physical and reproductive health.
We have enlisted and elaborated on different causes that can result in the changed color of menstrual blood and the clots accompanying the blood out of the vagina.
Why does period blood have different colors?
Usually, at the start of your menstrual period, the blood is lighter in color, and the flow remains consistent, which changes to more clots and a darker shade by the end. This specific change in the color of your period blood is because of its interaction with the oxygen in the uterus. The longer the blood stays in the fetal sac, the darker it gets.
Different shades of blood and what they mean?
Period blood ranges from pink and red to dark brown and even black in some cases. All these shades can result from different factors, discussed in detail below.
Black or darkened blood usually is the blood that stays in the vagina for extended periods. Although, it can also be a consequence of bacterial reactions or blockage inside the vagina. It will accompany a foul odor, itching, and other urinary difficulties if it is not normal.
Dark red or brown
Dark red or brown shaded blood can also be old blood. However, this color of blood also symbolizes early pregnancies. Dark red blood also comes out after giving birth, termed postpartum bleeding or Lochia. It is a biological process and is entirely normal, but if you feel heavy bleeding and abnormal pain, you should consult a gynecologist.
Bright red blood symbolized a healthy uterus. A steady, smooth blood flow during menstruation signifies that you are perfectly fertile and healthy. Although, if you experience continuous blood spots or prolonged cycles, you must see a doctor as it might be an early symptom of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. In sporadic cases, it can also be a symbol of cervical cancer.
Pink or Orange
Both pink and orange blood can be caused by the mixing of blood with cervical fluid or discharge. Using multiple different birth-control drugs can also result in hormonal imbalance, causing pinkish blood to come out of your vagina. However, it can be a symptom of bacterial vaginosis if it is accompanied by itching, burning, and bad-smelling discharge.
Gray discharge commonly refers to severe bacterial infections. If your blood looks gray and your vagina smells like a sick fish, do not waste time and visit a medical professional. Gray blood during the later stages of pregnancy indicates miscarriage.
What are clots in the period?
The menstrual period is the uterine lining and blood discharge from a woman's vagina. This uterine lining often comes out in the form of blood clots or tissues and is not unhealthy. However, the period must be more flowy than clotty to be less painful.
Are clots normal?
Clots are typically normal; however, heavy bleeding with large clots that causes severe uterus cramps can indicate menorrhagia. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines menorrhagia as characterized by heavy blood flow and large clots lasting more than seven days. Menorrhagia can lead to severe health issues such as anemia if not treated.
When to consult a medical expert?
During menstruation, if you're feeling persistent foul odor, heavy blood flow, spotting, or large clots, it's time to see a doctor. Apart from these primary symptoms, menorrhagia can also cause irregular cycles. Bleeding after menopause, fever, itching or burning sensation around the vagina, and unusual vaginal discharge, are also signs to see a doctor.
In a nutshell
The color and consistency of menstrual blood tell a lot about your reproductive health. Periods are different for every woman, and so do their physical aspects. However, a doctor can run several tests and ultrasounds if you notice abnormal shades, consistency, spotting, pain, or odor.