It is common for women, who are menstruating, to have period blood of different colors. For some, the color may be bright red while for others the shade may be deep red or even have a brownish tinge. Although bright red period blood is perfectly normal and should not be a cause of alarm, many women are startled and troubled by it, especially if they experience it for the very first time.
Is It Normal for the Period to Be Bright Red?
Although many women perceive bright red period blood as indicative of a serious underlying medical condition, this is actually not the case. In fact, the shade of period blood is a measure of how fresh the blood is, brighter the color, fresher the blood. (The term ‘fresh’ here suggests that the blood has been recently shed and released from the body.) As the hue of the blood changes from bright red, to deep red and then finally to a browner shade, it means that, the blood, which was originally fresh, is becoming older and therefore darker in appearance.
Blood usually tends to be brighter shades of red on the first few days of menstruation. The color gradually becomes darker in shade as periods are about to end as the blood which is shed from the endometrium lining of the uterus, becomes less fresh.
Furthermore, a balanced diet and a healthy uterus may also be responsible for the bright red color of period blood. If the body has sufficient iron stores, menstruation blood is more likely to have a brighter hue.
When Bright Red Period Blood Is Not Normal
However, a bright red shade may not always be normal. If a woman, who normally has a darker colored blood during her period, suddenly experiences bright red blood, the probable causes as to why this happened need to be investigated, as the color may signal a variety of problems.
- Hormonal imbalance due to stress, lifestyle changes and improper diet and presence of cysts in the ovaries could be possible explanations for the sudden change in color of period blood and require immediate medical attention.
- In some cases, bright red period blood may also indicate miscarriage especially if accompanied by severe cramps. If the blood flow lasts for more than two days and the severity cramps do not subside, it becomes imperative to visit the doctor otherwise grave complications during the miscarriage may arise, which may jeopardize the health of the woman.
Other Period Colors and What They Mean
It must be noted, however, that not all women experience bright red period blood. In fact, menstruation blood can be of numerous shades, including dark red, brown or black, orange and pale red or pink. Every shade has its own causes and some may be quite normal to experience whilst others may need medical treatment.
1. Brown or Black Period Blood
Sometimes a woman may also experience blood, which is brown or even black in appearance. Extremely dark blood suggests that the latter is quite old and was shed a considerable time before. Women are more likely to observe these particular colors at the tail end of their menstruation or right at the onset of their period. Usually, this is blood that was lodged in the folds of the uterine lining and was released from the body later. This color is also common for women who experience infrequent or irregular menses. This colored blood is often associated with light bleeding.
2. Dark Period Blood
In contrast to bright red period blood, blood that is darker in appearance tends to be older. This could be because it has stayed in the uterus for a longer duration and thus has had more time to decompose or simply coagulate in the vaginal canal. In some cases, if the blood is exposed to oxygen, it loses its bright red shade and changes to a darker tone on account of oxidation. Mostly, women notice darker shades of period blood when they wake up in the morning .Dark red blood is usually normal and it should not raise any red flags regarding a woman’s health.
3. Orange Period Blood
Although not very common, orange period blood is also a possibility that should not be ruled out. Period blood usually has an orange tinge if it is exposed to cervical fluid. Sometimes, however, orange period blood may be indicative of an infection especially if accompanied with a foul odor. If such is the case, it is recommended to see the doctor at once.
4. Pale Red/Pink Period Blood
Anemia or low iron stores may be the cause if your period blood is watery or pale pink in color. Besides that, pink period blood may indicate that you do not have a balanced diet or you suffer from poor digestion.
When to See a Doctor for Period Problems
Problems associated with menstrual are usually quite rare. Even if they do occur, they are generally not that serious. However, for women who experience a heavy blood flow during their menstruation, certain problems may arise due to significant blood loss.
Severe loss of blood can result in iron deficiency, which in turn leads to anemia. If left untreated, anemia can be quite detrimental for a woman’s health and may lead to severe exhaustion, frequent headaches, shortness of breath and even irritability. In order to diagnose this particular blood condition, an ordinary blood test is required. Its treatment is quite simple too; one needs to increase iron rich foods in one’s diet including red meat, spinach and broccoli or simply take iron tablets.
It is important to seek medical advice if one suffers from constant fatigue and light headedness, pale skin and pale finger nails. Moreover, if one experiences irregular menses or frequent bleeding in between menstruation cycles, it is best to visit the doctor.