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Period Color and Meanings

by Dr. Joe Morales

Allegedly, period blood always comes in a single color: red, and for people who obtain all their health related information from tampon commercials, then it is neon blue. However, women who have had visits from this monthly red menace are aware of the fact that the period color is not as many think. So, what does your period color mean?

The period color has been known to traverse the entire color wheel ranging from cotton candy pink, dark brown to bright red. As such, you will find many women wondering how comes it is possible to get period blood coming in all kinds of rainbow colors, and what these colors actually mean.

Period color meaning

Period color meaning

You probably already know that your period blood is different from all the other blood that comes from your body when you injure your knee playing soccer or when you get a paper cut while in the office. The period blood can best be described as the tissue that builds up and lines your uterus every month.

Once the lining is in place, it spends a few weeks lining your uterine walls, as it wait to see whether any fertilized eggs will show up and be implanted on it. After about twenty-one days, the lining on your uterus will begin to slough off, and it is this time when your menstruation begins.

However, you should understand that the process is different from one woman to the next—, which is why you may discover different colors on your pad over the course of your period week. However, what do these period colors appearing on your pad actually mean?

Brown/very dark red period color

For many women, their cycles begin with brown/very dark blood, with the blood at times having an almost blackish tone. You can refer to this blood as the older blood. You may be asking yourself, how does your period blood become old? Yet, it appears when your flow is starting.

Well, blood can become old in two main ways: often, the period starts slowly, and is characterized by a light flow, which then becomes heavier as your period week progresses. On these light period days, you will find that it takes longer for your blood to exit the body, and as such, it ends up taking the dark color as it is exiting the body.

Period blood can also become dark depending on the speeds of your periods. There are women who shed their uterine lining at a rate that is fast and steady, ensuring that every uterine lining is expelled during the cycle, and in the process ending up with a uterus that is squeaky clean. However, others shed the lining at a slower rate, and are known as slow-bleeders. For the slow-bleeders, their uteruses do not become completely clean at the end of their monthly cycles.

As such, they always end up with some kind of leftover uterine lining, which is then carried over to the next monthly cycle, and as such, is the first to be expelled when the next cycle starts. You will notice that this lining happens to be darker, which explains why your period may appear tar like. However, there is nothing to worry about as it is completely normal, healthy, and should not worry you.

Pink/bright red period

For many women around the world, the tone of their period blood changes a day or two, and switches from dark red or brownish to bright, pink toned or crimson blood. When your period blood is bright red, it means that you have a new uterine lining, which is why it comes after the older uterine lining has been expelled from the body.

In addition, you will find that the heavy period is often bright red in color—this is because the period blood is flowing from your body at a fast pace, and therefore, it does not have enough time for it to become dark. Even though many women often transition between bright red and dark red blood during the course of their periods, there are those that have bright red for the course of their entire cycle. What this means is that the uterine lining is shedding steadily each month, which means that there are no leftovers from the previous cycle.

Medium/cranberry red period meaning

Cranberry red is another perfectly healthy color that you can get in course of your cycle. Some women, especially those who have longer periods will expel their uterine lining at a slower rate, which means that the periods will consistently take a darker color, which never switches to bright red.

There is other who also sees the color of their period blood start to darken all over again as their cycle is ending. The reason being that the flow of blood has considerably slowed down, which is why the blood is becoming darker due to the slower, longer trip it has to make to reach the pads or tampons.

Gray period meaning

Gray blood color is the only color that ought to cause alarm if noted on the panties, pads, or tampons. Gray discharge or clumps before or during the period could mean that you have an infection, or if you were pregnant, it could mean that you just had a miscarriage. It is recommended that you get in touch with your gynecology immediately if you notice gray discharge.

It is important to do this even if you do not know how you could have gotten pregnant or had an infection. It is always recommended to ensure that you are checked out if anything out of what is normal happens with your ordinary.

Additionally, if you are to believe the tampon commercials, you are way too active for you to silently put up with through a persistent infection when having your periods. You need to make sure that you visit your physician if there are clumps that look abnormal so that you can be checked out and tested to determine whether you have any infections that should be a source of worry.

Orange period color

When fluids from your cervix mixes with the bright red period blood, it may end up appearing as orange when observed from your pads. Often, bright orange blood is associated with having an infection. As such, if you have a suspicion, even the slightest suspicion you should visit your primary care physician.

Blood textures

Apart from having different colors, the period blood can also come in different textures, which include:

Heavy clots

Heavy periods are often characterized by the presence of blood clots. When you have heavy bleeding, the body will produce anticoagulants in a bid to prevent the blood from forming clots. However, the mechanism is not effective when you have heavy periods as it does not have enough time to function, which would result in clots. Clots can appear in any color, but are often dark. The dark color is because of the older blood that had built up in your uterine walls, thereby resulting in a very heavy flow. If it occurs on a regular basis, then there could be a bigger problem at play.

Slippery and jelly-like

Slippery, jelly like period blood could be blood that has been mixed with the mucus secreted by your cervix. The mucus is present around the vagina, and when it combines with your menstrual flow, it becomes light, resulting in the slippery jelly-like texture.


Thin menstrual blood is the one that has been prevented from clotting. Often, it is bright red in color and is associated with a moderate blood flow. It appears thin, and is at times combined with the mucus that has been secreted from the mucus.


  1. http://www.glamour.com/story/what-the-color-of-your-period-is-trying-to-tell-you
  2. http://monthlygift.com/blog/featured/period-color-de-coding-different-menstrual-blood-colors/
  3. https://www.bustle.com/articles/81532-dark-brown-period-blood-the-many-colors-of-your-menstrual-rainbow-explained
  4. http://www.conceivable.com/blog/what-color-is-your-period

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