What do the different period blood colors mean?

Menstruation approximately consists of 2 to 3 days of heavy bleeding followed by another 2 to 4 days of lighter flow. The menstrual blood is a mixture of blood and tissue which sheds from the
endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus. 

The volume of period blood each month, the number of days period lasts and period flow varies in women. Some may have as little as 4 teaspoons or as much as 12 teaspoons. On average, a female loses about 30 to 50 ml of blood during her period. Though, losing up to 80 ml of blood during the period cycle is also considered normal. (Also Read: Why do I have a 10 day period with light bleeding? )

There are different factors including hormonal activity, the age of the blood, and infection that affect the color of period blood. Read ahead to know what your period blood indicates about your health:

Bright red period blood

At the beginning of the periods, you can expect the blood to be bright red. During this phase, the inner lining of the uterus sheds at a rapid pace and the female is likely to experience menstrual cramps. These cramps are felt in the abdomen (mostly lower abdomen) and results in an increase in the production of the prostaglandins, which causes the uterus muscles to contract. (Also Read: Do cold foods and drinks worsen period cramps? )

What does it indicate? 

In some cases, an intensive flow of bright red period blood (or between period cycle)  can be a sign of miscarriage, submucosal fibroid, ectopic pregnancy, an ovarian cyst, endometrial polyp, cervical polyp, endometrial cancer or cervical cancer

  • Dark red period blood

Dark red period blood

Approximately, menstrual cycles last for about 4 weeks from the 1st day of bleeding till the next period begins. During this cycle, the hormone level rises and falls, which results in some other signs and symptoms that the female experiences each month.

What does it indicate? 

When the period first begins, the blood is bright red in color. But later during the cycle, the color of the period blood is dark red. This change in the color of period blood is normal and comes with a rise in estrogen levels in the blood. Dark blood is actually not fresh blood. It has been in the body longer, as the result of a thicker endometrium (uterine lining) or a reduced shedding rate.

  • Pink period blood

light pink period blood

Sometime before menstruation starts or is due, some females notice light red or pink spotting. This happens when a small amount of blood comes in contact and mixes with the cervical mucus. This results in pink spotting before periods.  

The abnormal hormonal activity can cause various symptoms near or during menopause including irregular period cycle and vaginal dryness. So it is important to alert your doctor or gynecologist if you have any concerns. They will be able to advise you about the available treatment options.

What does it indicate? 

Light red or pink spotting can be an indication of low estrogen levels in the body. If you notice this very often, consult a gynecologist for further investigation. 



  • Brown or black period blood 

Dark brown period blood


Initially, the period blood is bright red in color. But, it becomes darker as it remains longer in the body. Near the end of the period cycle, the female may notice brown or even black colored blood on the sanitary pad. This happens because the old blood gets darker when it stays outside the blood vessels due to contact with air. The blood then goes through the process of oxidation. On contact with air, the hemoglobin and iron in the blood interact with the air and the blood turns brown.

What does it indicate? 

Brown or black colored period blood or spotting are mostly the last remnants of old uterine tissues from a previous period cycle which is now being discharged. It can also happen if the female’s body sheds the uterine lining at a slower rate than normal. This condition is normal and has no health risks. Apart from the unpleasant, tarry, brownish discharge, this process of slower shedding has nothing to worry about.

Also Read: What does Brown Discharge but no Period mean?


If you have any doubts or concerns about your menstrual symptoms or your intimate health, seek advice from the best gynecologists at Pristyn Care. A gynecologist would be best to assess the circumstances and give the most suitable range of treatment options if needed.

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