Did you know that the color of period blood can relay vital health information?
Brown or black period blood color, for example, can indicate a vaginal infection.
Anyway, the color of your discharge can vary from dark brown to bright red to black period blood, depending on how old the discharge is.
The dark or black blood color appears when blood that stays in the uterus for an extended period and becomes oxidized. Oxidized blood color tends to appear darker.
Sometimes hormonal changes and hidden health problems also affect the texture and color of period blood. Here is what different colors of your period can mean and when you should visit a doctor.
Why Does The Color Of Your Period Change?
Period blood can change in texture and color from month to month or during a single period.
Other reasons which cause variations in menstrual blood include:
- Hormonal changes
- Diet changes
- Lifestyle Changes
Period blood color can be bright red, dark brown, or black period blood according on changes in your flow.
Women who experience unusually long or heavy periods in most cases require a visit to the doctor.
In rare cases, pregnancy, vaginal infections, and cervical cancer can also cause irregular blood or unusual blood color.
Colors Of Period Blood:
Brown Or Dark Red:
Dark red or brown is a sign of old blood. It mainly appears at the end or beginning of a period. Dark red or brown can appear in different shades as it is not as oxidized as black period blood.
Black Period Blood:
The black period blood period or black blood clots period occurs at the end or beginning of your period.
Such color is typically a sign of old blood or blood that has been oxidized and in the uterus for a long time. This blood first turns brown, then dark red, and then eventually black.
Black blood clots period also sometimes indicate a blockage inside a woman’s vagina.
Some symptoms of vaginal blockage include:
- Fever or elevated body temperatures
- Difficulty while urinating
- Swelling or itching around the vagina
- Foul-smelling discharge
Brown period blood can sometimes indicate early pregnancy. Doctors refer to it as implantation bleeding.
Brown or dark brown blood period during pregnancy may indicate a miscarriage. In some cases, it also indicates an ectopic pregnancy in which the egg implants itself in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus.
Women that experience spotting or vaginal bleeding during their pregnancy must speak to their doctor or obstetrician.
Dark red, brown, or black period blood that occurs after pregnancy is known as Lochia or postpartum bleeding. This is not a cause of concern as the body is expelling excessive tissue and blood from the uterus.
In most cases, Lochia begins as bright red period blood and heavy bleeding, which then transitions into dark blood as the period ends. Over time, this discharge becomes lighter in color and amount.
The duration of this discharge varies from woman to woman, but it passes within the first few months of delivery.
If you experience very heavy bleeding, visit your doctor or obstetrician, as this could point out an underlying problem.
PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
STD/STI or Sexually Transmitted Infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause unusual discharge or bleeding. Black period blood means that old period blood is leaving the vaginal canal or uterus.
Heavy vaginal discharge in black color along with a foul odor is a symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Other signs include:
- Pain while urinating
- Spotting between menstruation
- Pressure or pain in the pelvic area
- Itchy vagina
- Bleeding after or during sex
Sexually Transmitted Diseases do not go away on their own. Without any antibiotics, they spread from the vagina, then to your reproductive organs. This in turn causes PIDs.
Symptoms of PID and STD are similar, but one may experience fever with chills or without. If not treated properly, PID can cause complications such as infertility or chronic pelvic pain.
Hematometra or retained menses happens when period blood is blocked from leaving the uterus, cervix, or vagina. Due to that, period blood may become black as it is retained.
This blockage can be caused by anything due to a congenital issue with the vaginal septum, hymen, or in rare cases absence of cervix.
However, hematometra typically presents as cyclic, cramping pain in the midline of the pelvis or lower abdomen. Patients may also report urinary frequency and urinary retention. Women will find that these symptoms occur at the time of expected menstrual cycle.
In case there is too much blockage, women can develop a complete lack of menstruation.
Other reasons include:
- Cervical cancer
- Objects in the vagina
- Missed miscarriage
How Can Black Period Blood Be Treated?
In some cases, black period blood can be a part of menstruation and not require any special treatment.
But if it gets accompanied by other complications such as pain, fever, and smelly odor, it is important to visit a doctor.
Treatment for black blood period clots mainly depends on the cause.
Given below are some examples.
- Retained menses can require surgery to cure any underlying problems causing a blockage that lead to black period blood.
- Treatment for cervical cancer involves radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination of all three.
- STIs and PIDs can be managed by antibiotics. Follow all instructions by your doctor, practice safe sex, and take measures to prevent reinfection.
- Missed miscarriages usually resolve on their own. In case not, then your doctor will suggest a D&C procedure. Any excessive tissue will be removed.
- In case you are experiencing fever, black period blood, and pain due to objects in the vagina, your doctor will remove them for you.
The consistency, flow, and color of a person’s period can provide helpful information about their health.
One must remember everybody’s period is different. Our blood, flow, and consistency can change from month to month. Thus, it is crucial to learn what is normal and what isn’t.
Healthy period blood is primarily bright red, dark brown, or black, depending on your flow.
Women who experience black period blood at the time of expected period accompanied with cramping pain in the midline of the pelvis or lower abdomen should consult a doctor.
Women who experience black period blood or any blood and abnormal discharge during pregnancy must visit an obstetrician or doctor for evaluation as it might indicate ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.