Period blood explained

Period blood explained

PMS symptoms can have a debilitating impact on your daily life, but did you know your menstrual cycle is more than just a monthly inconvenience? It's a valuable indicator of your overall health. Paying attention to your period's colour, consistency and flow can provide insight into your wellbeing. Here we delve into what your period can reveal about your health.

What your period can say about your health

Your period can provide valuable insights into your overall health. Changes in menstrual patterns, including irregular cycles or abnormal bleeding, may indicate underlying health issues, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders or endometriosis. It's essential to track changes in your period and discuss them with your healthcare provider if they become a concern. 

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Understanding period blood colours

The colour of your period blood can vary and each colour may signify different health conditions.

  1. Bright red: Fresh, bright red blood typically indicates a healthy flow. It suggests that the blood is being expelled from your uterus at a normal pace.
  2. Dark red: Blood that appears dark red towards the end of your period is normal. It signifies older blood that has taken longer to exit your body.
  3. Brown: Brown period blood often occurs at the beginning or end of your cycle. It's usually just older blood that has oxidised and is no cause for concern.
  4. Pink: Light pink spotting may occur between periods and is generally harmless. It could be due to hormonal fluctuations or minor irritation.
  5. Greyish or watery: Greyish or watery blood may indicate infection or an issue with your reproductive system. It's important to consult with your doctor if you notice this type of discharge.

Signs of a healthy period

A healthy period typically exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Consistent cycle length (typically between 21 - 35 days).
  • Bleeding lasts between 2 - 7 days.
  • Moderate flow, neither too heavy nor too light.
  • Minimal to no clotting.
  • Little to no discomfort or pain.

It's important to keep in mind that there are different types of PMS, each caused by its own hormonal balance. Find out what PMS type you are.

Symptoms of an unhealthy period

Our research of over 250 women into PMS revealed over 20 symptoms of PMS. Over two-thirds of women experience mood swings and bloating, while more than half suffer fatigue during their period. Period poo is also a common symptom that many women experience. Learn more about period poo.

An unhealthy period may manifest in various ways, including:

  • Excessive bleeding that soaks through pads or tampons quickly.
  • Severe cramps or pelvic pain that interfere with daily activities.
  • Irregular cycles or missed periods.
  • Persistent spotting between periods.
  • Abnormal changes in blood colour or consistency.
  • Large, jelly-like blood clots.

Heavy vs. light flow

The volume of blood you lose during your period can vary from person to person and cycle to cycle. While a heavier flow may indicate certain health conditions, including fibroids or hormonal imbalances, a lighter flow might suggest low oestrogen levels or issues with ovulation.

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Vaginal dryness and infections

Vaginal dryness is a common concern among many women, and can be caused by hormonal changes during periods, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and through perimenopause and menopause. If you're experiencing frequent vaginal dryness, UTIs (urinary tract infections), bacterial vaginosis, or vaginal atrophy (VA), then it may also be due to an imbalance in the vaginal microbiome, and it is recommended to take pH Hero®, a uniquely comprehensive formula of probiotics, prebiotics and botanicals to combat these symptoms, rebalance the vaginal microbiome and restore healthy pH balance. Learn more in 'How your gut and vagina are connected' and 'What is bacterial vaginosis'. 

When to contact a doctor

While occasional changes in your period are normal, certain symptoms warrant medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience:

  • Persistent, heavy bleeding that affects your quality of life.
  • Severe pelvic pain or cramping.
  • Irregular periods or significant changes in menstrual patterns.
  • Unusual discharge or foul odour.
  • Symptoms of anaemia, including fatigue or weakness.

If you have any concerns about your period or menstrual cycle, it is best to speak to your doctor, who can investigate further if necessary. 

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