Have you ever looked down at your underwear and thought – wtf is that normal?! Not only is another pair of cute underwear ruined, but the unexpected colour of the bloodstain can cause some major anxiety.
Here’s a truth we bleeders know all too well: education around periods is not what it should be. In school, we learn about how our anatomy works, but the realities of how to actually deal with the bloody mess that is a period go untaught. Whether it’s being crazy anxious, dealing with wild hormones or freaking out about the colour of period blood, our periods can be a total nightmare. Understanding that period blood fluctuates in volume, colour and texture is so important – it can even be critical in monitoring our overall health.
From super staining bright red, to dark and clotty, I have often wondered – what the f does this all actually mean? Well, babes, we got you. Here is all the important information you might need to know about the period blood rainbow.
Bright Red Blood
Congratulations babe, you are having a healthy period! Bright red blood indicates a fresh and steady flow. Most people find that they will most often bleed like this, with their period darkening a little as it continues. This is completely normal and even though going to the toilet sometimes looks like a scene from a Tarantino movie, rest assured you are most likely having a completely healthy period.
Dark Brown or Dark Red Blood
Okay – still very normal! Blood may appear dark brown or red at the very beginning or end of a period. It typically appears to be darker because the blood is older and has had time to oxidize, thus turning a darker red or brown or even becoming black. Don’t be worried if this happens. If everything else is running smoothly and you have no other symptoms, this likely means the blood has just taken a little longer to leave the uterus.
Take notice if –
Very occasionally black blood can indicate a blockage inside the vagina, so if black blood smells funny, comes with a fever, itching or swelling around the vagina, please see your doctor asap.
*insert joke about only on Wednesdays here*
A light-ish pink colour can appear when blood mixes with cervical fluids. But rest assured, it’s not something to worry about! Using hormonal birth control can lower your estrogen levels, which can lead to a lighter flow with a pinkish hue during periods.
Other causes may arise from having small tears in the vagina or cervix from having sex. This can sometimes mix with vaginal fluid and look like a pinkish discharge. Again, most of the time, this is pretty common and is nothing to see a doctor about. However, if this does persist longer than your regular period, you might want to seek advice.
*ALERT* Orange discharge or blood can indicate an infection. If you notice this in your period check for other telltale signs like vaginal itching, discomfort or a funny smell before contacting your doctor.
It is important to note that orange discharge or blood does not always indicate an infection, but it’s probably a safe bet to make an appointment to check in with your doctor or gynaecologist for an evaluation.
Okay babes, if your discharge or period is coming out grey, it is definitely time to make that doctors call. Grey discharge can often be a sign of an imbalance of harmful and beneficial bacteria. Make a note of any other symptoms, including itching around the vagina, a funny smell or burning pee.
Take a deep breath – it’s still not a huge stress though – doctors can easily treat these conditions with antibiotics, so get that checked up asap!
The truth is periods come in all shades, shapes and forms. Every body is different and as a result, your period will only ever be normal for you. This is why we’re such huge advocates of tracking your period. Understanding your body’s nuances and picking up on your own patterns is the easiest way to know if something has gone awry.
Remember – it always helps to know your body when it comes to your period – you are your own best advocate. So if something is concerning you, insist on a check-up. And take your notes! Whether it’s a detailed drawing, scrawled notes on a piece of toilet paper or even a photo, the more information a doctor has, the better it is for your vagina!
Blessed bleeding, babes.