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What the colour of your period blood is trying to tell you about your health

For decades, there has been so much stigma around talking about periods.

Things are changing for sure…

2017 saw the first ever TV advert showing period blood (rather than that odd-looking blue liquid) and 2020 saw the government making menstrual health a compulsory part of the curriculum for all children, not to mention the introduction of the period emoji! 🩸🩸

But we still have a long way to go… and breaking the taboo around periods has to start with MORE education around periods so young women learn about what is normal and what isn’t, and more importantly, not be afraid to talk about it.

Period blood is not something we’re taught about at school but believe it or not, the COLOUR of your period blood can tell you a LOT about your health.

For example…

Bright red blood - this is what we are aiming for! A bright red (ideally cranberry) period colour indicates a normal, healthy flow.

Dark red blood or even black. Seeing black period blood can be alarming, but usually black or red blood it's just older blood that's lingered in your uterus for too long. You may see these colours of blood during the end of your cycle as your flow slows or in the form of period clots (more on that below).

Dark purple - can be a sign of too much oestrogen relative to progesterone. The consistency of this type of blood may also be quite thick in appearance with dark clots. This is definitely not something you want to deal with long-term as it can lead to more serious health issues.

Brown blood can be common at the very start of your period. This blood is often oxidised blood which is left over from the previous cycle, giving it a brown appearance. 1-2 days of spotting brown blood BEFORE your period can also be normal, though any longer than this can indicate low levels of progesterone.

Light pink blood can indicate low oestrogen, especially if the bleeding lasts less than 3 days. For more info on low oestrogen, check out this post.

Orange blood is often period blood mixed with vaginal discharge. It can possibly suggest infection too so should be ruled out via your GP.

Grey blood can indicate an infection such as bacterial vaginosis or BV. Other symptoms of BV include vaginal discharge that has a strong fishy smell, particularly after sex. The consistency may also be thin and watery. It’s estimated that 50% of women with BV don’t actually have symptoms but if you’re unsure, be sure to book an appointment with your GP for further investigation.

So what does a healthy period really look like?

See below for a few KEY characteristics of a healthy period as well as a few key signs to watch out for when it comes to your period health.

  • LENGTH: a normal period should last 3-7 days long (with, if any, less than 3 days of spotting before your period).

  • FREQUENCY: a period that comes every 23-35 days at roughly the same day each cycle).

  • NO PAIN: You shouldn’t experience any severe cramping with your period, especially if it interferes with daily activities or respond to over the counter pain relief.

  • COLOUR: a healthy period should be a bright, red / cranberry colour.

  • TEXTURE: small clots can be normal but any that are larger than a 10p should be investigated.

  • BLOOD LOSS: Period blood loss of around 30-50ml per cycle. Blood loss of more than 80ml per cycle, bleeding for more than 7 days or having to change menstrual products less than every 2 hours can indicate your periods are too heavy. Bear in mind that each fully saturated regular tampon/pad can hold 5ml of blood, super tampons/pads can hold approx. 12ml of blood.

  • No PMS: Despite symptoms of Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) such as bloating, anxiety, fatigue, cravings, insomnia and breakouts being common, these symptoms aren't normal and not something you should have to put up with. They can also be the sign of a hormone imbalance such as excess oestrogen.

While period problems are really common but despite what many health professionals say, they are NOT normal and it doesn’t mean you should have to put up with them. I work with lots of women with the aim of getting to the ROOT cause of their hormonal imbalances and have better periods. You may not know that I offer a FREE discovery call to find out how I can help you. To book this in, click here.

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