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What does the color of your menstrual blood say?

You may not realize it, but the color, texture and smell of your menstrual blood can say a lot about your health and hormone balance. Several studies have shown that monitoring menstrual blood and identifying patterns in teens can help identify potential health risks in adults. Monitoring also makes it much easier to determine whether your menstrual course is normal and healthy or not (source 1).

It is therefore not unimportant to keep an eye on your blood during your period. With a menstrual cup you can keep a good eye on the color, smell and amount of your blood loss.

Blood during your period can have different colors and this is usually completely normal. 

Bright red blood during your period

The middle days of your period, you will mainly lose bright red blood. This is 'new' blood, produced by your body, which actually leaves the body immediately. Blood that does not come in contact oxygen much, retains its bright red color.

Light pink blood during your period

A lower estrogen level results in a lighter color of your menstrual blood. Using hormonal contraception might lead to a lower estrogen level for example. Often pink menstrual blood is mixed with cervical fluid.

Dark red, light brown, dark brown or black blood 

On the first and/or last days of your period you will encounter these colors more often. Blood that has been in your body for a longer time and has therefore come more contact with oxygen, becomes discolored. These colors may be a deterrent, but are usually not a cause for concern.

Brown blood can sometimes be one of the first signs of pregnancy. Also called implantation bleeding.

Black blood can sometimes indicate a blockage in the vagina. Other symptoms of a vaginal blockage may include:

- strong smelling discharge
- a fever
- difficulty urinating
- itching or swelling in or around the vagina

Consult your doctor if you experience the above symptoms.

Gray blood / gray discharge

Gray discharge is usually a sign of bacterial vaginosis, a condition that occurs due to an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the vagina.

Other symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:

- itching in and around the vagina
- strong vaginal odor 
- burning or painful urination

Consult your doctor if you experience the above listed symptoms. Usually a course of antibiotics is prescribed for this.

Orange blood or discharge

Orange blood or discharge often indicates an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis (Sexually Transmitted Disease, STD). Consult your doctor if orange blood or discharge is accompanied by other complaints such as itching / pain.

source 2

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Do you have symptoms or are you unsure whether your period is normal? Consult your doctor.

Source 1: Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign
ron 2: Medical News Today

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