Menstrual Blood Colors and Textures: What Do They Mean?

While the topic lies pretty firmly in the too much information category, many, many women wonder about menstrual blood color and texture. It’s something that comes out of you that you can’t really ignore, so it’s only natural to wonder when it changes in some way, shape, or form. The Net is flooded with questions like, “What does dark period blood mean?” “What do lots of clots in your period blood mean?” and “What does bright red blood mean during your period?” to prove it. Sadly, anyone searching any or all of the above will be met with pages and pages of forum results, not answers. This article will do its best to provide answers through personal experience as a woman with irregular periods, an interview with licensed mid-wife Linda Deuce of Alaska, and online research.

Period blood color:

Bright red blood: When blood is bright red it means it was produced by the body recently. During a period this just means what’s being shed was just released in to the uterus. You may see more bright red blood if you have a lighter flow, or frequent periods.

Dark blood: Dark blood is essentially older blood. This means it’s been stored in the uterus longer and had more time to break down. Many women notice more dark, red blood when they first wake in the morning.

Brown or Black: This is simply rather old blood; most women notice it at the tail end of their period. It usually isn’t that heavy. This may have been blood that was stuck in folds of the uterine wall, or if you have infrequent periods, was just the first to enter so long ago.

Orange: Sometimes when bright, red blood mixes with cervical fluid it can appear an almost orange color with red flecks. Bright orange period blood can also be a sign of infection, however, so if you see it frequently, or it doesn’t also have a slippery consistency, see your doctor.

Period blood textures:

Heavily clots: Heavy clotting is usually prescribed to heavy periods. As blood is expelled the body releases anticoagulants to keep it from clotting, but if your period is heavy, sometimes the blood flow and speed doesn’t give them time to work, and clots are the result. Clots can occur in any color of blood, though they are more commonly dark in color. This makes sense, because when you’re expelling older blood it has had time to build up a lining in the uterus as it should, naturally a buildup of blood would create a heavier flow than fresh blood which would be bright red in color. Frequent heavy clotting or clots larger than the size of a quarter can be a sign of a more serious problem, and should be evaluated by your doctor.

Slippery and jelly-like: Menstrual blood that seems almost slippery with a jelly-like texture is simply mixed with high levels of cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is always present in the vagina, even during menstruation, if your flow is light, it may be sufficient to alter the appearance of blood texture. You may also notice this after a bowel movement when more mucus is pushed from the cervix.

Thin: Thin blood is being properly preventing from clotting. It is often bright red in color, and accompanies a light to moderate flow. Fresh blood will appear thinner, as will blood that is light enough that it’s mixing with cervical fluid.

Tissue: If there is what appears to be actual tissue within your period blood it is possible you suffered an early miscarriage, you should seek medical attention.

Keep in mind, that in most cases, changes in menstrual blood color or texture are entirely irrelevant, and don’t suggest any health problem.

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