An average female will bleed each month starting from about 13 years old up until her late 40s /early 50s. (not taking into account pregnancies). That’s a lot of blood loss!! The colour of this blood can be an indicator of fertility and health status of a women. Therefore, it is important to know what optimal bleeding looks like. This article looks at the ‘colour’ of blood. Interested to know more? then continue reading…

The practitioners at Ben and Biao have at least 125 years of menstrual bleeding between us! We know from our training and our experience that finding out about a woman’s menstrual cycle is very important when determining overall health. It can tell us a lot about circulation, hormones, nutrient supply and the nervous system. One of the questions we ask our patients is about menstrual blood colour. We use the attached colour chart to help them help us. (These colours aren’t absolutes but give us a good indication)

So, take a look at the chart and carry on reading….

Let’s start with optimal colour.

Honestly, everyone is a little different. It’s not like we are whipping out our tampons and comparing it to our friends’ over a glass of pinot, so how do you know what’s optimal?Well it’s more like a ‘range’ of optimal colours. Remember some women have longer cycles than others, and blood oxidises as it ages which makes it darker. You don’t want it too dark, too bright or too pink! You want to look at your blood on day 1 and 2 of your bleed. … Our optimal ‘range’ sits somewhere around the mid reds. Crimson, Scarlet, Cherry, Apple, Lipstick are good indicators.

What does dark red period blood mean?

OK, now we are looking at Sangria, Wine, Blood, Garnet on the colour chart. You may see dark red blood upon waking during your period or after you’ve been lying down for a while. The deep colour may simply mean that the blood has been sitting in the uterus for a while but hasn’t oxidised to the point of turning brown. Again, it might be at the end of your period which is pretty normal but if it’s at the beginning then at the clinic we look at this and question why the flow hasn’t been smoother or quicker. Does it come with mood changes? Breast pain? Period pain? Headaches or migraines?

What does black/Dark Brown period blood mean?

On our chart this refers to Mahogany and Merlot and anything darker than this. As blood oxidises it turns dark, therefore this colour band relates to old blood. It is not unusual to see dark blood at the end of a period especially if you bleed for more than 6 days. If your flow is slow it may take longer to exit the body and therefore also be dark. Alternatively, it may be related to old endometrium tissue that was not discarded in a previous period.  If your blood is in this colour range on day 1 and 2, then your cycle may be longer than is considered normal, or it could be irregular. At the clinic we would ask questions relating to your cycle, flow, circulation, temperature (cold hands and feet?), clots and pain.

What does bright red period blood mean?

Bright red on the chart is Red, Rose, Candy and colours in this range. This means that the blood is fresh and is flowing quickly. Your blood may stay this way your whole period or may darken as your flow slows. This bright red may indicate changes in the body temperature. If your basal body temperatures are too high in the early part of your cycle (above 36.6 °C), then this changes the hormone balance and may interrupt the usual timing of ovulation. This may be caused by stress, lifestyle, lack of sleep or other endocrine changing factors.

What does pink period blood mean?

Your blood may appear pink or blush in colour at the very beginning or end of your period, especially if you have spotting. This lighter shade may indicate that the blood has mixed with your cervical fluid, diluting its hue. Sometimes pink menstrual blood may indicate low estrogen levels in the body. Oestrogen helps to stabilize the uterine lining. Without this hormone, you may shed the lining at times throughout your cycle — leading to spotting of various colours, including pink. Some causes of low oestrogen include the contraceptive pill and perimenopause. Some women get pink spotting around ovulation when blood from your uterus mixes with clear cervical fluid.

What does grey period blood mean?

Not on the chart but worth mentioning. Grey(ish) blood is associated with infection. This colour may indicate an infection brewing like thrush or UTI. Other signs may include fever, pain, itching or a foul odour. If you see this or suspect it’s coming it’s a good reason to contact the doctor.

Our aim here is to shine a little light on something we don’t talk about much and give you some helpful tips on how you can keep an eye an important aspect of your optimal health.

If you, or a woman in your life have any concerns around menstrual health, fertility or your overall health then feel free to contact the clinic for an appointment. Our practitioners have been treating women for 20 plus years and there is not a lot we have not seen.

Be well,

Heidi, Sally, Zoe, Jax and Rochelle.