Period Colour Indications on Women’s Health
March being endometriosis awareness month, we discuss several important things that women need to learn about their menses. Although most women may not notice it, period colour can actually relay important information about a woman’s health. If you have at any point been worried about your period blood appearing different in colour, here is what you should know.
Period blood may not appear similar to the blood you see when you get an injury simply because it is a mixture of blood and tissue lining the uterus and therefore, it may be important to understand what different colours of your period blood mean.
Different Period colours and their meaning
This indicates fresh blood and steady flow. Menstruation may start in a bright red colour which may darken as it comes to an end. However, for some women, their period blood stays red throughout their period. In some cases, bright red spotting in between periods may be a sign of sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea and chlamydia, or it could be due to growths (fibroids or polyps) in the uterine lining. In worse cases, it could be due to cervical cancer. Apart from bleeding in between periods, other symptoms of cervical cancer may include:
1. Bleeding after intercourse,
2. Experiencing heavier bleeding than normal,
3. Vaginal discharge with a foul smell,
4. Unexplained weight loss.
This colour could be at the start or end of your periods and have a thick consistency. Brown period blood could also mean the blood is actually old blood that took much longer to leave the uterus as the longer the uterine lining takes to leave the body, the darker it gets. On the heaviest days of your period, blood clots, which are normal, may appear dark red or black which is normal.
Brown discharge or spotting can be an early sign of pregnancy during the implantation period in pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, it could indicate miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilised egg implants in the uterus).
Dark brown or red vaginal discharge for women who have recently given birth could be due to lochia which is also known as postpartum bleeding. It usually begins in a bright red colour then transitions to a darker shade as the flow reduces.
Pink period blood can happen when period blood mixes with cervical fluid. This may happen in women who experience ovulation bleeding, during lochia (postpartum bleeding) or in women with low oestrogen levels. Low oestrogen levels can occur especially for women using hormonal birth control such as intrauterine device (IUD) which is low in oestrogen.
Other symptoms of low oestrogen levels include:
1. Hot flashes as in women going through menopause,
2. Pain during intercourse,
3. Mood swings,
4. Tender breasts, and
5. Irregular or missed periods.
It occurs when period blood mixes with cervical fluid. Orange blood or vaginal discharge can also indicate infections like bacterial vaginosis if you see this colour in your period blood, accompanied by other symptoms like discomfort, vaginal itching and vaginal discharge with foul smell.
You should, therefore, see a doctor if you experience such symptoms.
This colour is usually a sign of bacterial vaginosis which is caused by an imbalance in the harmful and healthy bacteria in the vagina. Other symptoms of this problem include foul-smelling vaginal discharge and pain when urinating.
In women who are in their late stages of pregnancy, grey discharge can indicate a miscarriage.
Every woman should be keen on noticing any changes in their menstruation, whether it is irregularity, missing periods or even the colour of their periods because that way, one is able to realise any abnormalities that may warrant a visit to the doctor or gynae. Having regular check-ups is also crucial for every woman because aside from staying healthy, it can help increase survival rates for women with cervical cancer. To prevent vaginal infections, maintain high levels of personal hygiene and use protection when having intercourse.
For women suffering from low oestrogen levels, International Medical Treatment Ltd (IMT) partners with world-class hospitals around the world that have departments which focus specifically on women’s health issues and can help women deal with hormonal imbalance and other problems that affect women of all ages.
These hospitals also have the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technologies such as the whole-body MRI machine and the da Vinci robotic surgery system that make diagnosis and treatment of complex conditions more effective.