When it comes to periods, sometimes women can feel shame or embarrassment, even though it’s a wonderful, natural process that half of the population goes through at some point! If anything, we should be proud and celebrate our body.
After all, we consider it completely normal to examine our skin for signs of hormonal imbalances and other internal issues, so we should have a similar attitude towards our period blood, as it can say a lot about our body. During your period, the colour and consistency of your menstrual blood will likely change several times over the course of your cycle.
We’ve listed a few common types of period blood and what they signify below to help you get a better idea of what’s going on down there.
Since pads and tampons absorb your period, switching to a menstrual cup instead might be more helpful, as they collect your blood and you’ll be better able to examine it.
Saalt Menstrual Cups (£25, FeelUnique) are perfect for first time users.
Saalt user Jemimah (26, Bristol) comments, “The very first time I sat there, holding a cup full of my blood, I was just staring at it like “woah”. It makes me feel so powerful! I feel like I know myself much better, and I’m much more in touch with how my body works.
I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome so understanding my cycle is super important to me, and unlike with pads and tampons, I can tell by the colour and consistency of the blood which of my hormones might be out of balance.”
Finally, it’s important to remember that these are general guidelines and everyone’s period is different. If you see a shade that seems different to your normal cycles, it might be good to check with your GP.
In the meantime, happy menstruating!
Brown or Dark Red
Though maybe not the most appealing, brownish or dark red blood is completely normal. Red blood turns brown once it has had time to oxidise, so brown blood means it’s been sitting in your uterus for a longer period of time. Thus, brown blood usually comes at the beginning or end of your period, as it’s been in your uterus from your last period, or since the beginning of your current cycle. Menstrual blood might also appear dark red if you have been lying down for a long time.
Bright red blood is considered a sign that your period is going well and you’re healthy! It’s normally this colour at the start of your period, as the blood is fresh and flowing.
Light pink period blood can indicate that your levels of oestrogen are low, which may be the case for serious athletes. This colour may also come at the beginning and end of your period as your blood mixes with cervical fluid, lightening the red to pink.
Thick, with clots
Clots are usually completely normal and occur as a result of your uterus shedding its lining. If clots are larger than normal and frequent, it could signify a hormonal imbalance.
Grey or Orange
Either grey or orange period blood can be a warning sign of infections like STI’s or bacterial vaginosis. If you experience this colour along with other symptoms like pain, itchiness or a foul odor, it’s best to consult a doctor.
Saalt Cups are £25 and available from Saaltco.uk, Feelunique, and Amazon UK