The color of your monthly period can actually help you make sure everything’s working properly down there or if you’ve got a serious menstruation situation.
According to Robyn Charlery White, Ph.D. a reproductive health researcher that “It is definitely normal for your period to range from light to heavy, and change reddish to brownish over the course of your cycle
However, there are some signs that indicates an underlying problem. Below, find 6 things your period is trying to tell you about your cycle and your health.
Bright red blood Bright red menstrual blood is most typical in the beginning of your cycle, since it indicates that your uterine lining is shedding new blood at a fast rate. If it turns up at a different point in your cycle or is accompanied by abnormal cramping, there’s a small chance it indicates a miscarriage or ruptured ovarian cyst, but you’re most likely fine, says Charlery White.
Dark red blood Darker blood has been in the uterus for longer, so it shows up most often toward the end of your period and indicates a slower shedding rate, high estrogen levels, and thick lining, which are all fine. This is a normal part of most women’s periods, especially when you wake up in the morning or if your period is on the heavier side.
Brown or black blood This is most commonly seen at the end of your period, since it’s the blood that has been stored up for the longest. It’s usually normal for this to come in a light flow or spotting.
Light-colored spotting If you notice light red or pinkish spotting right before your period, this could indicate low estrogen levels, says Charlery White. Since a hormonal issue can lead to problems like infrequent periods, dryness, and fatigue, it’s worth seeing your gyno about if it persists.
Orange blood If you notice an orange-ish tint to your blood, its scent and consistency can give you a clue into whether there’s a problem. A slippery texture is generally normal, but anything else—especially combined with a bad odor—could be a sign the blood has mixed with cervical fluids as the result of an infection or STD. Get it checked out ASAP.
Clotting It’s typical to notice blood clots in your menstrual blood, says board-certified gynecologist Lisa Lindley, M.D., especially toward the end of your cycle. Over the course of your period, she explains, the protein fibrin activates the platelets in menstrual blood to clot it.
You might even notice white fibers in the clots as a result, which is also nothing to panic about. The only time to worry is if you see an unusually high amount of clotting. This can indicate fibroids, which prevent the uterus from squeezing the blood vessels. And, in rare cases, a lot of clotting can signify a miscarriage. Talk to your doc if you’re concerned.
Anna Druet, Research Scientist for the period-tracking app Clue explains that more general health issues, like those with your diet and stress levels, are more likely to affect the timing and length of your period than the appearance. Long and heavy periods or missed ones can indicate hormonal imbalances, for example.
Women, remember: You can use your period as a tool to help you check up on your health.
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