Period color guide

The color of menstrual blood can vary during your cycle, ranging from bright red to pink, brown, and other shades.

Your period can tell you a bunch about your reproductive and overall health.

So, what are the period blood colors that you might encounter? Let’s find out!

What can affect period color

For most women, periods usually have 2–3 days of heavy flow followed by 2–4 days of lighter flow. Menstrual flow is a mix of blood and tissue from the uterus lining. The amount of blood lost varies, ranging from 4 to 12 tablespoons. On average, it’s about 30–50 mL per period, but up to 80 mL is considered normal. Factors like hormones, blood age, and infection affect the color of menstrual blood. It’s good to know how period blood may look and what it could mean for your health.

What colors you may encounter

Bright red

Bright red period blood suggests it left your uterus recently, often seen at the beginning of your period. You might notice brighter blood when you have cramps because cramps happen when your uterus contracts, leading to heavier blood flow.

Heavy, bright red blood flow can sometimes signal issues like miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, fibroids, polyps, or cancer. If you’re worried about your menstruation or you’re experiencing weird symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional for the best guidance and treatment options.

Dark red or brown

These colors indicate a slower flow. In general, blood tends to darken as your cycle progresses because older blood from deeper parts of the uterine lining is shed later.

Brown blood is also typical in the weeks after childbirth, known as lochia. Yet, sometimes:

– Dark red or brown blood could indicate early pregnancy.

– Black blood might signal a vaginal blockage.

If these colors seem unusual for you, consult your healthcare provider.


Coming across black period blood might be concerning, but similar to brown blood, it’s usually just old blood that stayed in your body for a while.

Black blood might also signal a blockage in the vagina. Look out for other signs like smelly discharge, fever, trouble peeing, or itching and swelling in or around the vagina. Go to a doctor immediately if you think you could have something stuck in your vagina.


It’s normal for period blood to appear pink at the start or end of your period when the flow is lighter. This happens when regular mucus mixes with the blood.

If you notice pink blood during other times in your cycle, it could be due to factors like significant weight loss, an unhealthy diet, or anemia. If you think these might be affecting your period blood, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare provider or consider seeing a nutritionist.

Orange, Gray, or Green

Orange period blood can happen when cervical fluid mixes with blood, and it’s generally normal. If you notice orange spotting outside of your period and suspect pregnancy, it could be a sign of the fertilized egg implanting, occurring around 10 to 14 days after conception.

However, if your period blood or vaginal discharge has orange, gray, or green tinges, it may indicate an infection like trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis (BV), or some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Other signs of infection include itching, discomfort, a bad odor, or painful urination.

If you experience these symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider who may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.


The color and texture of period blood can tell you about your health. Healthy period blood ranges from bright red to dark brown or black. If it’s orange or gray, it might signal an infection. Pregnant women with bleeding should consult a doctor or Ob-Gyn for evaluation.


Shkodzik, K. (April 15, 2019). Period Blood Color: A Complete Overview. Flo. https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/period/period-blood-color 

Sadaty, A. (December 5, 2023). Period Blood Color. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-does-menstrual-blood-look-like-2721937 
Marcin, A. & Santos-Longhurst, A. (March 8, 2023). Period Blood Color Chart. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/period-blood

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