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Decoding the Colors of Period Blood: What Your Menstrual Blood Can Tell You About Your Health

Decoding the Colors of Period Blood: What Your Menstrual Blood Can Tell You About Your Health

Your menstrual blood should be anything from crimson to dark red in color. Old blood can even be a darker shade of brown or almost black. Brown period blood, or blood of any other unusual color, often doesn't cause concern. A vaginal infection, bacterial infections, hormonal imbalances, or other medical disorders that need to be evaluated can occasionally be indicated by an odd period blood color.


What occurs during your period?

During the course of your menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus, also known as your womb, thickens and accumulates. If you were to get pregnant, a fertilized egg would embed here. When you menstruate each month if you are not pregnant, your uterine lining sheds and makes its way out of your body. This results in monthly bleeding and frequently brings on those familiar period symptoms.

Your uterus' endometrium, also known as the lining, is filled with many spiral-shaped arteries. These arteries provide blood, nutrients, and oxygen to fertilized eggs. These arteries narrow just before your period (when you are not pregnant). Once this takes place, your endometrium begins to separate from the uterus wall, which leads to bleeding in the arteries. The amount of blood lost when this occurs is minimal because the arteries are already narrowed. Your uterine lining separates in small pieces over time. These bits of blood and lost uterine lining gently pass through your cervix and exit into your vagina.Although it actually isn't solely blood that comes out, we refer to this mixture of blood and tissue as menstrual blood.

Different Types of Blood

It's typical for your period blood to change color over the course of your menstrual cycle. The interaction of the blood with oxygen usually results in the variations in color. As this blood interacts with the oxygen, it oxidizes. Contrast oxidized blood with oxygenated blood, which turns redder when it binds with oxygen to transport it to your body's cells.

Deep red, brown, or black blood

The longer your endometrium is exposed to oxygen and cut off from its blood supply, the darker it gets. It gets darker the longer it takes to leave your body. At the start and conclusion of your period, the blood and tissue take longer to exit your body. This typically results in a darker-colored discharge during these times.

It will get darker the longer it stays in your body. It could go from a dark red to a brown and then to a black color. Although brown and dark red period blood are normal, black period blood may be an indication of a blockage inside your vagina. If this is the case, you will also have other symptoms like a fever, trouble urinating, itching or swelling in or around your vagina, as well as the dark fluid. A discharge with a strange odor could also exist.

Bright crimson

Your period blood flow will often increase and turn bright red during the second or third day. Blood and uterine tissue leave your body more quickly during this time than they do at the start and end of your period. This new blood will have a more vivid, nearly scarlet color because it is exposed to oxygen for a shorter period of time. Some women see no variations in the color of their period blood and have bright red blood the entire time.

Along with the bright red blood, it is also typical to experience darker blood clots at this time. These clots are typically a combination of recently discharged fluids and slightly aging blood or tissue.


If your period blood is combined with cervical fluid, it may appear pink or light red. This may be brought on by low estrogen levels. Your uterine lining is stabilized by estrogen. Pink spotting may occur if you have low estrogen levels because you may lose some of your uterine lining throughout your cycle rather than just during your period. Perimenopause or using hormonal birth control without estrogen can both result in low estrogen levels.

Pink blood may also result from minor sex-related rips in the vagina or cervix. The pink discharge is the result of the blood from these microscopic tears combining with your cervical mucus and vaginal fluids. Usually, these tiny rips go away on their own, but if sex hurts you, you might want to see a doctor.

During the phase of your menstrual cycle when an egg is released, your body may slightly bleed. This is known as ovulation bleeding, and because it mixes with your vaginal mucous, it frequently has a pink appearance.

On the other hand, if you have a pink discharge that is watery and irregular (i.e., unrelated to your cycle), it should be examined because it may be an indication of cervical cancer.


You most likely have bacterial vaginosis if you have a gray vaginal discharge. When there is an imbalance of harmful and beneficial bacteria in your vagina, you have bacterial vaginosis. The gray blood in this instance will also have an unpleasant odor, cause burning and painful urination, and itch in and around your vagina.


If your cervical fluid is mixed with your period blood, it could also appear orange. Even though this might be normal, it could also be a sign of a bacterial infection, especially if orange blood is also present along with vaginal itching discomfort and (again) an odd-smelling discharge.

There are other types of vaginal bleeding that can happen naturally, and this shouldn't always cause alarm. Light bleeding or spotting called "implantation bleeding" occurs when an embryo adheres to the uterine wall. Compared to your regular period, implantation spotting is typically lighter and shorter in duration. It can mimic your regular menstruation and appear between 10 and 14 days (or up to 8 weeks) following pregnancy.

Always talk to your doctor with any concerns as the color can mean a variety of different things. Bleeding is natural and normal and is not usually something to worry about.

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