Dr. Arpana Jain SENIOR CONSULTANT OBSTETRICS & GYNAECOLOGY Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh
Young women who have just started their periods often worry about changes in the colour of their period blood.
Normal menstrual cycles length is between 28-35 days and flow require a regular size pad every 3 to 4 hours initially. Total duration of bleeding is around 3-5 days.
Usually period last for 2-5 days followed by 2-3 days of light bleeding or spotting.
It is consider normal of blood to vary between shades of red and brown during first few years after menarche and later in their life.
The colour of period blood can change during the same period of cycle as well. For example: it can start with bright red colour in beginning and changed to rusty brown at the end of the cycle. It can even start as brown in beginning and turn redder towards the end of your period.
Why does period blood have different colours?
The colour of blood became darker the longer it stays inside uterus and vagina because it starts to react with oxygen. This reaction causes the colour to get darker. The longer the blood stay inside the body the darker it gets.
The color of flow (period) signifies many factors like hormonal activities, medical conditions and infections etc.
The colour of blood ideally be crimson red. During period, you are not only losing blood but also endometrium (lining) so it is normal to seen small pea sized blood clots as well.
If the menstrual blood is watery or pink in colour, it indicates less RBC’s (Iron, Haemoglobin). Common cause is anaemia and nutritional deficiencies. This can lead to poor nutrition and blood supply to endometrium leading to poor embryo implantation and pregnancy outcome.
Bright red menstrual blood indicates high basal body temperature, if basal body temperature is high in early part of menstrual cycles, it can interrupt with timing of ovulation leading to difficulty in conceiving.
Dark colour menstrual blood indicates low basal body temperature, it can cause sluggish uterine blood circulation and contractions of uterine musculature leading to infertility.
Dark purplish red menstrual blood along with large clots can be associated with cramps and heavy flow. This is more often seen in women with fibroids and endometriosis, in both these circumstances there is decreased fertility.
Abnormal colour of menstrual blood like grey yellow, orange, green or associated with foul smell is the sign of bacterial infection and sexually transmitted disease leading to decreased fertility.
Diagnosis of these conditions is right step towards early diagnosis and management of infertility.