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Period Blood: Color Coded

Period blood does a lot beyond just ruining a pair of your cutest underwear. Bleeding right during menstruation is a vital health sign.

Fun fact: anything that your period indicates, from the color of your blood to the length of your cycle, says something important about your health. The color of your period blood can range from dark red to orange, depending on how healthy or normal it is.

Here’s a color-coded guide to what your period blood says about you:

1. Black:

Black blood does not always necessarily mean a reason to be alarmed. It is usually blood that’s taking some extra time to leave the uterus. If not a normal period, it can indicate:

· Old blood

· Slow flow

· Sometimes, a miscarriage

2. Brown:

All shades of brown also typically indicate old blood, which has had time to oxidize over time, thus changing from the standard red. If not a normal period, it can indicate:

· Slow flow- in case of this, blood may take some time to drain out completely. It may also be leftover from your last period

· Implantation spotting

· Lochia – this is the bleeding experienced four to six weeks after delivering a baby, which is quite heavy. From day four, it can get pinkish too

· Pregnancy- this is a sign that active bleeding has stopped

· Missed miscarriage- Most of the time, a miscarriage is associated with bright red blood. Here, the fetus stops developing but doesn’t pass from the uterus for at least four weeks

3. Dark red:

This indicates blood sitting in the uterus for some time, which you might usually notice upon waking up. If not a normal period, it can indicate:

· The end of your menstrual cycle

· Lochia- It may contain clots and changes colors and textures. Caesarian deliveries may experience this in the first 24 hours of birth

· Implantation spotting

· Infection

4. Bright red:

Your period may start with a bright red, flush, and flowing color. It is also associated with:

· Infection- STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea may cause bright red bleeding in between cycles

· Pregnancy- This doesn’t always mean miscarriage. It is also a sign of pre-delivery. Each case is unique, so it’s best to consult your doctor

· Polyps or fibroids- These are small or large, non-cancerous, and cause heavy flow, pain, and pressure throughout your menstrual cycle

5. Yellow:

Period blood is hardly ever yellow. But just in case, this could mean:

· Blood deficiency

· Anemia

· Kidney deficiency

6. Pink:

Your blood may appear pink at the start or end of your period, especially if you experience spotting. It can be associated with:

· Lochia- day 4 onward

· Low estrogen- Estrogen stabilizes the lining of your uterus. In case you’re low on it, the lining sheds and can cause spotting of various colors including pink

(low estrogen needs to get checked, as it could be due to hormonal birth control or perimenopause)

· Mid-cycle spotting- around the time of ovulation

· Miscarriage- other signs being cramping and passing tissues

7. Orange:

This happens when blood mixes with cervical fluid, which is normal. Other than that, it can mean:

· Implantation spotting- this is during implantation or 10-14 days after conception

(if your spotting doesn’t turn into periods, taking a pregnancy test would be a good idea)

· Infection- bacterial or STI

8. Gray:

If you see a gray or off-white discharge, it’s time to see a doctor. It can mean:

· Infection- like bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms include fever, itching, pain, and foul odor

· Miscarriage

Your period can change colors depending on the beginning, middle, or end of your cycle. It can also change from one month to the next. Besides color, the texture may also change. Whether it’s healthy, clotty, watery, or blood-tinged, consulting a health expert can never go wrong.

Depending on your ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ range of colors, take these as vital signs for your health. Pay attention to changes you notice on the blood in your cup, pads, or tampons. Knowing what your period blood should look like can be a lifesaver.

Get in tune with yourself, and know your flow!

Written by Nibha Patil

Cover by Khyati Patkar

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