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What Menstrual Blood Colors Say About Women’s Health

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 29

What Menstrual Blood Colors Say About Women’s Health

Many women wouldn’t give their menstrual blood a second look, because they don’t believe they have a reason to do so. But did you know that menstruation actually reveals some important things about a woman’s health? In this article, we will talk about the different menstrual blood colors and meanings.

The Truth About Vaginal Blood Colors and Meanings

Before we understand the different meanings of period colors, let’s first emphasize one important point. It is normal for the menstrual blood color to change. For instance, fresh red blood may turn brown or even black when it’s old enough and has reacted with oxygen.

With that said, what do we need to know about menstrual blood colors and meanings?

Bright Red

This is the typical menstrual blood color that women see. You can also describe this as “bright, cranberry red”. If you have regular menstruation and see this color, then you can rest easy as it is a sign of a healthy period.

The reason why your menstrual blood is red is that it is fresh.

Commonly, this is the blood that has “pooled” in your uterus and still hasn’t interacted with oxygen yet. When you go to the bathroom in the morning after waking up, you’ll see fresh, red blood.

However, you may need to worry if you see bright red blood in between menstruation as this may indicate infections. For example, STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause bright, red vaginal blood.

If bright, red blood is a product of infection, you may experience other signs, including:

Lastly, consider the number of sanitary pads you’re using. If you’re “bleeding too much,” then perhaps, there’s something wrong, too.


When discussing menstrual blood colors and meanings, it’s important to note that pinkish blood may worry some especially if it doesn’t occur at the beginning or end of your menstruation.

If you’re spotting, then pinkish blood may mean that your menstrual blood has mixed with the cervical fluids.

Another possible reason for pink menstrual blood is having a low-estrogen level. If you have low estrogen level, you might also experience:

  • Irregular periods
  • Missed periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes

For women in their advanced years, pinkish menstrual blood may be a sign of perimenopause. Perimenopause means “around menopause.” This is the time when a woman’s body transitions to the menopausal stage, eventually marking the end of her reproductive years.

In some instances, poor nutrition and polycystic ovarian syndrome could also cause pinkish menstrual blood due to anemia or thinned out endometrium. Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a condition wherein the woman has more male hormones than normal.


If you have a brown menstrual period, chances are, you don’t need to worry. When it comes to menstrual blood colors and meanings, brown blood is normal, especially if you observe it at the beginning or end of your menstruation.

Brown period blood typically appears when you have a “slower” flow. This means that the blood has stayed long enough inside the body and that it has already interacted with oxygen.

In some instances, brown period blood can also be an early sign of pregnancy. When the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, it may cause implantation bleeding in the form of brown blood. Other signs of implantation are:

  • Mild cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen breasts
  • Increased body temperature

Finally, PCOS can also cause brown spotting in between menses.

Dark Red

Should you see dark red period blood, there’s also no need to worry. Dark red means the blood is older, but still fresher than brown blood. In other words, it’s almost ready to turn brown, but it didn’t get the chance.

You can also see the dark red period flow near the end of your cycle. It only means that you’re having a slow flow.


Seeing orange period blood on your sanitary pad is surely worrying as it is not common.  However, don’t panic right away! Just like what typically happens with pinkish blood, orange blood could just be a result of menstrual blood mixing with cervical fluids.

In terms of menstrual blood colors and meanings, orange blood could also be an early sign of infection. To crosscheck, take note of the other signs of infection previously mentioned.

menstrual blood colors and meanings


Seeing orange blood on your pads is worrying enough, but what if you see black blood? There’s still no need to worry. Black period blood is just like brown blood, but it had more time to interact with oxygen.

Although less likely, black flow could also suggest possible miscarriage.

Missed miscarriage or a silent miscarriage in the first trimester happens when the pregnancy is not viable, but didn’t show the normal signs of miscarriage, such as crampy abdominal pain and bleeding.

Because there are no symptoms, it’s normal for a woman to be shocked when ultrasound results show that the embryo has no heartbeat or is too small for the supposed stage of pregnancy.


With regards to menstrual blood colors and meanings, grey period flow is an outright sign that something is wrong. No matter what, your vaginal blood shouldn’t be grey.

If you see grey discharge mixed with blood, talk to your doctor right away. This is because greyish blood may indicate the presence of infection, like bacterial vaginosis. Additionally, if you are pregnant, this could indicate a miscarriage.

When to See a Doctor

Now that you know more about menstrual blood colors and meanings, it’s time to know when to seek medical help. Aside from seeing grey blood and suspecting infection or other condition, be sure to contact your doctor if you:

  • Missed your period for at least 3 cycles
  • Have regular period that suddenly became irregular
  • Are bleeding for more than 7 consecutive days
  • Have stopped bleeding for 12 months (menopause) but started bleeding again
  • Experience bleeding between periods
  • Experience severe pain during your periods
  • Bleed a lot, soaking at least one pad every hour for several hours in a row
  • Have less than a 21-day cycle or more than a 35-day cycle for several cycles
  • Now, with your knowledge about menstrual blood colors and meanings, it’s best to be more mindful of your monthly period. Take time to inspect your period blood and what you feel along with your menstruation.

    Learn more about Women’s Health, here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 29

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