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Menstrual Blood Is Magic – Your Natural Health Check.

Have you ever noticed that your menstrual blood is not always the same colour? You may have noticed that it sometimes changes from deep red, to a lighter pink, to a brownish hue. Lots of people don’t realise that the colour of your menstrual blood can tell you a lot about your health.

So what do the different menstrual blood colours and textures mean for your health, as well as what you should do if you notice something unusual. Knowing what is normal for you can help you recognise when something has changed. Different shades of menstrual blood can indicate a variety of health issues, so it’s important to pay attention to any changes you notice in your bleed.

By understanding how menstrual blood colours can affect your health, you can be more aware of potential signs of illness or health conditions. From minor problems to serious health risks, being mindful of any changes in your menstrual cycle can keep you informed and prepared.

What Is Menstrual Blood?

Menstrual blood is a combination of blood and tissue that flows out of the uterus each month when menstruating. This blood is vital for reproductive health as it helps rid the body of the lining of the uterus and prepare it for a possible pregnancy. While there is normal variation in the amount and flow of menstrual blood, paying attention to the colour of your menstrual blood can give you insight into your reproductive health.

In general, most menstrual blood is a bright red colour when it is fresh. This colour is caused by the presence of oxygen in the blood, which helps it stay bright red. As the menstrual blood begins to dry, it can take on a darker hue and may even become brown or black. This can be normal, but it is important to note any changes in the colour of your menstrual blood or how much you are bleeding.

Eight Red Lipsticks Of Different Shades
Eight Red Lipsticks Of Different Shades

The Different Colours of Menstrual Blood

The colour of your menstrual blood can vary depending on a few different factors. Here are the most common colours and what they can tell you about your health:

Bright Red:

Bright red menstrual blood typically indicates that it is fresh new blood which has not been in the uterus for very long. It also indicates a steady flow. This colour is common in the middle of a woman’s cycle, and indicates that she is healthy and her hormones are working correctly.

Very rarely, bright red period flow can indicate signs of cervical cancer, though this would be coupled with other symptoms, like heavier periods, smelly vaginal discharge, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Dark Red or Brown:

Darker menstrual blood usually happens after the initial bright red blood has been in the uterus for a few days. As the blood oxidises and mixes with other substances it becomes a darker colour. This is usually normal, but if you notice a sudden change in the colour of your menstrual blood, it is important to keep an eye on it.

Dark red blood with clots may indicate heavier flow or some medical conditions like fibroids, endometriosis, or hormonal imbalance.

Brown or dark red blood can be an early sign of pregnancy, what is called implantation bleeding.

Light Pink or Brown:

Light pink or brown menstrual blood usually indicates that the bleeding is coming to an end. As the flow decreases, lighter coloured blood can come out. This is completely normal, and is an indication that the menstrual cycle is nearing its end.

At the beginning of your bleed, a light flow might mix with cervical fluid and come out pink. However, the pale shade could also be a sign of low oestrogen levels associated with certain hormonal birth control or peri-menopause. Pink blood can also indicate an iron deficiency which is a condition called Anaemia.

If you’re on the contraceptive pill, it also might explain a pink period, as it lowers estrogen levels. If you’re experiencing irregular pinkish spotting that isn’t linked to your period, it may be a sign of cervical cancer.

Black

This can indicate the very start or very end of your period when the blood has taken a lot longer than usual to leave the uterus. So it could be old blood from your last bleed or just blood that has stayed in the body longer and can come out much darker and thicker than what you see at the beginning of the cycle.

It can also indicate a vaginal blockage but you should also notice a smelly discharge, itching or even difficulty peeing. If you are experiencing these symptoms or if black blood comes with a very heavy period and large clots, or intense pain, make an appointment to see your medical professional.

Grey

This is usually a sign of bacterial vaginosis, which is when there’s an imbalance in the bacteria in your vagina. See your medical professional!

Orange

Usually indicates period blood mixed with cervical fluid but also may indicate that there is a possible infection. See your medical professional!

Purple

Period blood that appears purple may be an indication you’re dealing with another condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis or ovarian cysts. It’s usually accompanied by heavy bleeding. See a Doctor for a proper diagnosis. 

Seven Examples Of Different Menstrual Blood Shades
Seven Examples Of Different Menstrual Blood Shades

When To See Your Doctor

Brown discharge that happens outside of your period and accompanies a fever or pain can be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhoea or chlamydia. Those with polycystic ovary syndrome (POS) a hormonal imbalance might see some brown spotting.

Orange, grey, or green discharge, especially if you’re not expecting your period, can be a sign of an infection like bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.

In rare cases, brown or pale discharge with a foul odour can be a sign of cervical cancer.

And if you’re pregnant and notice light pink, brown, or bright-red bleeding or spotting, head to a doctor. While 20-30 percent of pregnant people experience some bleeding, discharge could be a sign of a miscarriage.

But if you’re not pregnant and notice a change in your menstrual cycle that lasts for more than a few cycles — whether it’s in colour, flow, or frequency — you should check with your medical professional. Otherwise, menstrual blood that varies in color isn’t a reason for concern.

What Colour Should Your Period Blood Be?

In general, the colour of your menstrual blood should be a bright red colour in the middle of your cycle. This indicates that the bleeding is coming from the uterus and is fresh. As the cycle progresses, the colour can become darker but it should not be a cause for concern unless it becomes alarmingly dark or lasts for an abnormal amount of time.

When To Seek Medical Attention

If you notice any sudden changes in the colour, texture, or amount of menstrual blood, it is important to seek medical attention. Unexplained changes in your menstrual cycle can be an indication of a serious underlying health issue or hormonal imbalance. Your doctor will be able to diagnose any potential medical problems and provide treatment if necessary. It is also important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms: severe cramps, excessive bleeding, prolonged menstrual cycles, or a fever. In some cases, these symptoms can be indicative of a more serious health issue, and it is best to be seen by a doctor.

Tips For Managing Menstrual Health

Pay attention to your menstrual cycle. Track any changes you notice and be sure to communicate them to your doctor. This will help them diagnose any potential health issues before they become more serious. Be aware of any changes in the colour, texture, or amount of menstrual blood. If you notice that the colour of your menstrual blood has changed suddenly or if you are experiencing excessive bleeding, be sure to seek medical attention.

Make lifestyle changes that can improve your overall health and your menstrual health. This can include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. These changes can help reduce any symptoms of menstrual health issues and keep you in good health.

Conclusion

Knowing what the different colours of menstrual blood mean can help you identify changes in your menstrual cycle and seek treatment if necessary. Paying attention to the colour of your menstrual blood can provide insight into your reproductive health and help you recognise any potential health risks. By understanding how menstrual blood colours can affect your health, you can be more aware of potential signs of illness or health conditions.

Adenomyosis – The Evil Twin Of Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects roughly 10% globally of reproductive women and yet gets very little press and not everyone realises that their heavy bleed is not a normal symptom with every month.

However, even less is know of her evil twin sister Adenomyosis which affects over double the amount of women and is just as difficult to diagnose due to not all will experience symptoms.

WHO COULD SUFFER WITH ADENOMYOSIS?

Adenomyosis is a condition that primarily affects individuals assigned female at birth and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50, although it can occur at any age after puberty.

It is important to note that it is possible for transgender men who have not undergone a hysterectomy to also develop adenomyosis if they still have their uterus.

Despite being a relatively common condition, Adenomyosis remains largely under diagnosed and therefore misunderstood but it does not cause cancer or lead to cancer.

WHAT IS ADENOMYOSIS?

Adenomyosis is a medical condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) starts to grow within the muscular wall of the uterus. This abnormal growth of endometrial tissue can cause the uterus to become enlarged, thickened and tender.

In a healthy uterus, the endometrium thickens and sheds during the menstrual cycle, resulting in menstruation. However, in adenomyosis, the endometrial tissue becomes embedded within the muscular wall of the uterus. As a result, during each menstrual cycle, the trapped tissue bleeds internally, leading to inflammation, pain and the characteristic symptoms of the condition.

The exact cause of adenomyosis is not fully understood, but several theories have been proposed. One theory suggests that the invasion of the endometrial tissue into the uterine wall may occur due to uterine incisions from surgeries like cesarean sections or fibroid removal. Another theory suggests that it may result from a process called retrograde menstruation, where menstrual blood flows backward into the uterus and embeds in the uterine wall instead of leaving the body.

The symptoms of adenomyosis can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  1. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) that worsen over time
  2. Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  3. Pelvic pain or pressure, often worsening during menstruation
  4. Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  5. Enlarged and tender uterus
  6. Irregular bleeding between periods

WHEN IS IT MOST LIKELY TO AFFECT YOU?

Adenomyosis is most commonly diagnosed in women between the ages of 30 and 50. However, it’s important to note that adenomyosis can occur at any age after puberty.

The exact timing of when adenomyosis may affect you can vary. Some women may develop adenomyosis earlier in their reproductive years, while others may experience symptoms later in life. It’s worth mentioning that not all individuals with adenomyosis experience symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can also vary.

Several factors can increase the risk of developing adenomyosis or influence the likelihood of experiencing symptoms, including:

Age:

The risk of adenomyosis tends to increase as women get older, particularly between the ages of 30 and 50.

History of childbirth:

Women who have had multiple pregnancies may have a higher risk of developing adenomyosis.

Uterine surgery:

Prior surgical procedures involving the uterus, such as cesarean sections or fibroid removal, may increase the risk.

Hormonal imbalances:

Adenomyosis is thought to be influenced by hormonal imbalances, particularly estrogen dominance. Women with higher levels of estrogen relative to progesterone may be at a greater risk.

Endometriosis:

There is an association between adenomyosis and endometriosis, another condition where the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus. If you have endometriosis, you may have a slightly higher risk of developing adenomyosis.

If you have concerns about adenomyosis or are experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, or other menstrual irregularities, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.

WHERE DOES IT AFFECT YOU PHYSICALLY & MENTALLY?

Adenomyosis can have both physical and emotional effects on the body and mind.

Physical Effects:

Pelvic pain:

Adenomyosis can cause chronic pelvic pain, which may vary in intensity and duration. The pain is often associated with menstrual cycles but can also occur throughout the month.

Menstrual abnormalities:

Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) is a common symptom of adenomyosis. This can lead to fatigue, anaemia (low red blood cell count), and other physical discomforts associated with heavy bleeding.

Enlarged uterus:

Adenomyosis can cause the uterus to become enlarged, leading to a feeling of pelvic fullness or pressure.

Painful intercourse:

Some individuals with adenomyosis may experience pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) due to the inflammation and sensitivity of the uterus.

Gastrointestinal symptoms:

In some cases, adenomyosis may be associated with gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.

Emotional and Psychological Effects:

Chronic pain and discomfort:

Dealing with chronic pelvic pain and other symptoms of adenomyosis can be physically and emotionally draining. It may impact a person’s quality of life, daily activities, and overall well-being.

Emotional distress:

Coping with the physical symptoms and the challenges adenomyosis brings can lead to emotional distress, including feelings of frustration, sadness, anxiety or depression.

Impact on relationships:

The pain and limitations caused by adenomyosis can affect intimate relationships and sexual activity, potentially causing strain or stress within partnerships.

Fertility concerns:

Adenomyosis may pose challenges for individuals trying to conceive. The condition can affect fertility, and the associated difficulties in becoming pregnant or managing pregnancy loss can have emotional implications.

It’s important to address both the physical and emotional aspects of adenomyosis.

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO DEAL WITH IT?

Dealing with adenomyosis is important for several reasons:

Alleviating symptoms:

Adenomyosis can cause significant pain, discomfort, and other symptoms that can interfere with daily life, work, and relationships. By addressing the condition, you can seek appropriate treatment options to alleviate or manage these symptoms, improving your overall quality of life.

Preventing complications:

Although adenomyosis is not considered a life-threatening condition, it can lead to complications. Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding may result in anaemia (low red blood cell count), which can cause fatigue and other health issues.

Preserving fertility options:

For individuals who desire to conceive or preserve fertility options, managing adenomyosis is crucial. The condition can affect fertility by impacting the structure and function of the uterus. By working with healthcare professionals, you can explore fertility-sparing treatments or interventions that may increase the chances of successful conception or assist with family planning decisions.

Emotional well-being:

Adenomyosis can have a significant impact on emotional well-being. Coping with chronic pain, fertility concerns, or the challenges associated with the condition can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, or depression. Seeking appropriate support, counseling, or therapy can help you navigate and manage these emotional aspects effectively.

Early detection of other conditions:

Adenomyosis is often associated with other conditions such as endometriosis. Identifying and managing adenomyosis can prompt healthcare professionals to evaluate for concurrent conditions or complications, ensuring comprehensive care.

Remember, everyone’s experience with adenomyosis is unique, and the importance of dealing with it may vary based on individual circumstances, symptoms, and personal goals. It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance, discuss treatment options, and help you make informed decisions about managing adenomyosis effectively.

Adenomyosis is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, imaging techniques, and, in some cases, a biopsy. Here are the main steps involved in diagnosing adenomyosis:

Medical history assessment:

Your healthcare provider will discuss your symptoms, menstrual history, and any relevant medical or surgical history. It’s important to provide detailed information about your symptoms, such as pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, or any other concerns you may have.

Physical examination:

During a pelvic examination, your healthcare provider may feel for an enlarged or tender uterus. However, it’s important to note that a physical examination alone cannot definitively diagnose adenomyosis.

Imaging techniques:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound: This is often the initial imaging test used to evaluate adenomyosis. It involves inserting a small ultrasound probe into the vagina to obtain detailed images of the uterus. Adenomyosis may appear as thickened areas or heterogenous areas within the uterine wall.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): In cases where ultrasound results are inconclusive or further detail is needed, an MRI may be recommended. MRI can provide more precise imaging of the uterus and can help distinguish adenomyosis from other conditions.

Biopsy:

In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of the uterine tissue for examination under a microscope. It is usually done through a minimally invasive procedure called hysteroscopy, where a thin tube with a camera is inserted through the cervix into the uterus.

It’s important to note that adenomyosis can be challenging to diagnose definitively, as it shares some symptoms with other conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids. Your healthcare provider will use a combination of these diagnostic methods to reach a diagnosis and rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

If you suspect you may have adenomyosis or are experiencing symptoms, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your specific situation, order appropriate tests if necessary, and provide an accurate diagnosis.

Bloody Marvellous Limited goes to great lengths to ensure that, to the best of its knowledge, the information provided on this website and its social media channels is correct at the time of publication and/or subsequent modification. This information is solely for general purposes. It has been prepared in order to provide information, education and related products/services offered by Bloody Marvellous and Associated Organisations.