Period Blood Colors & What They Mean

  • by Cinestie Olson

Written by Cinestie Olson

It’s the first day of your period and you’re patiently waiting (maybe dreading) for that staple red color to appear. However, when you go to the bathroom… you notice it’s black? No need to panic yet! Period blood comes in many different colors, and those colors can tell us a lot about our bodies!

Let’s dive into a few of the period blood colors you could experience, and what they could mean!

DISCLAIMER: Sunny is a period education resource, not a health care provider or medical expert. If you are concerned about your period blood color, please seek a medical professional!

BLACK: Black blood can appear at the beginning or end of a person’s period! Black blood is usually blood that’s oxidized, and typically isn’t a concern. However, black blood can also indicate a blockage inside a person’s vagina. Other symptoms of blockages in a person’s vagina can be:

  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Fever
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Itching/swelling in or around the vagina

*Please seek a medical professional if you experience these symptoms!

BROWN/DARK RED: Similar to black blood, brown or dark red blood can indicate older blood that’s had time to oxidize, and can appear at the beginning or end of a period! Brown/dark red blood can also be an indication of lochia, which is bleeding that can happen after a pregnancy. 

BRIGHT RED: Bright red blood is the most common blood color menstruators experience! Bright red blood indicates fresh blood and a steady flow. Periods can begin with a bright red color and turn darker towards the end. Other indications of bright red blood can include:

  • STIs
  • Growths in uterine lining
  • In rare cases cervical cancer

*Please seek a medical professional if you have concerns about bright red blood during your period or in-between periods.

PINK: Pink blood can happen when period blood mixes with cervical fluid. Using hormonal birth control can cause pink blood due to lower estrogen levels in the body (therefore, a lighter flow). Pink blood also appears at the beginning and end of your period when your flow is lighter. Other indications of pink period blood can be:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Unhealthy diet

ORANGE: Orange blood can also happen when period blood mixes with cervical fluid! Orange blood may also indicate an infection, like bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms of a vaginal infection may be:

  • Vaginal itching
  • Vaginal discomfort 
  • Foul-smelling discharge

*Please seek a doctor or gyno for an evaluation!

GRAY: Gray discharge is usually a sign of bacterial vaginosis. It can be accompanied by itching in and around the vagina, foul-smelling odor, and discomfort while urinating. Again, see a doctor or gyno for an evaluation! 

If you have concerns about your period blood color, don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional or gyno!


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