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Period Blood Color Chart: What Each Color Means

Period Blood Color Chart: What Each Color Means

Everyone loves a rainbow, but seeing a myriad of menstrual flow colors isn’t necessarily awe-inspiring. 

Your monthly flow can change colors month to month and day to day. Seeing different colors is very normal and rarely a sign that something is wrong. However, your period can tell you a lot about your overall health. 

The color of your period blow can give you bits of information like:

  • Your current hormone levels
  • Where you are in your cycle
  • What’s going on inside your body
  • Whether or not you have an infection
  • If you are pregnant

Every person’s body and period is different, but the colors of your flow usually have a similar meaning. Together, we’ll crack the code and find out what each color means. 

Why Are There Different Colors of Period Blood?

There are at least six colors of period blood that are identifiable on their own. Between these colors are variations of the six shades. 

Period blood color differs for many reasons. Your age, hormone levels, and pre-existing conditions can all change the way your period blood looks. 

You may also experience different shades if you’re sick or because of a health condition. 

Your Age

Most of us will start our periods between the ages of 12 and 13. However, some women may start sooner, as early as age 8. 

The younger a person is when they start their period, the lighter their flow may be. It isn’t uncommon for a younger menstruating person to have pinkish to reddish blood the entire time they are on their period. 

Younger people may not experience brown or black period blood and may menstruate for fewer days than their older peers.  

Hormone Changes

Changes in your hormones may also cause your period blood to change colors. This can happen during the week you are on your period. 

  • During the beginning of your period, high estrogen and progesterone levels are balanced, which may cause you to have darker red blood or a flow that has a brown color. 
  • Towards the beginning and end of your period, your progesterone levels may be lower, which can give your period blood a brown color. 

If you are on hormonal birth control that causes your estrogen levels to be lower, your period blood may be pink. Perimenopause, which happens when you are within ten years of menopause, may also cause your estrogen levels to plummet. It’s not uncommon for perimenopausal women to have pink period blood, too. 

Other Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can cause your period blood to change colors. If you have a sexually transmitted infection, you may notice a change in your period blood. Typically, this will be accompanied by other symptoms like burning, itching, or irritation. 

Cervical cancer can also cause your period blood to change colors. Although it is rare and one of the last symptoms, cervical cancer can also cause spotting and different colored discharges during your cycle on days that aren’t part of your period. 

The Current Day of Your Period

The color of your period blood changes during your period. Sometimes, the color can change day by day. If you notice the color of your period blood on the first day, it may be light pink to bright red. By the end of your period, your flow may have changed to dark brown or black. 

The color of your period blood will change based on how long it sits in your uterus before exiting your body through your vagina. The longer your period blood oxygenates, the darker it will be.

Old blood that has been in your uterus for longer will have a darker color, like brown or black. 

Different Colors of Period Blood Explained

From bright red to black, the colors of your period blood can make you look twice and give you a reason to wonder what’s going on inside your body. Here’s what you should know about each different color. 

Bright Red Period Blood

Bright, red period blood is usually seen on the heaviest days of your period. For some people, you may begin your period with bright, red blood. 

Bright red period blood means your flow is heavy and consistent. It isn’t sitting in your uterus for a long time; your body is actively removing it. This color is the most common color of period blood, and almost everyone who menstruates will see it during their cycle. 

What It Means

Aside from telling you that your flow is in its heaviest phase, bright, red period blood also indicates:

  • The beginning of your cycle. You normally won’t experience bright, red period blood toward the end of your cycle because your flow begins to slow down, allowing more time for blood to oxygenate and turn darker.
  • You could be pregnant. Implantation bleeding can be bright red, so if you see bright, red blood when you aren’t on your period, grab a pregnancy test. 

When It’s More Than Just Your Period

Sometimes, bright, red period blood can be an indication of an underlying issue. 

  • If you are currently pregnant and experiencing bright red blood, contact your doctor. Some bleeding during pregnancy can be normal, but it can also indicate a miscarriage. 
  • Bright red period blood that accompanies a particularly heavy period can mean you have a uterine fibroid or polyp. These are benign and can be treated with medication. 

Pink Period Blood

Pink period blood is usually seen at the very beginning of your period. It can look like a pinkish-whitish mix and may have a mucousy texture. 

Many times, you may not notice you’ve had pink period blood if it occurs around the same time as the beginning of your period. Your period care product may absorb it. 

What It Means

Pink period blood means your menstrual flow is mixing with other cervical fluid. The fluid dilutes the red color of your blood, turning it pink. You’ll see pink period blood:

  • At the beginning of your period. A few days prior to your period, you’ll begin to have white-colored discharge. This is normal, and on the first day of your period it may mix with red period blood, turning it pink. 
  • Your estrogen levels are low. If you use hormonal birth control or are in perimenopause, your period blood may be pink. 

When It’s More Than Just Your Period

If your pink period blood is accompanied by other symptoms or conditions, you should call your doctor. Pink period blood can be associated with:

  • Miscarriage. If you’re pregnant, any bleeding should be discussed with your doctor. 
  • Hormone imbalance. If you experience two extremely light periods in a row accompanied by light pink period blood, discuss it with your doctor. 
  • Infection. Pink period blood accompanied by itching, burning, or pain should always be checked by your doctor. You may have an infection. 

Orange Period Blood

Noticing your period flow has changed to a strange orange color can be alarming. Don’t worry; normally, it’s no reason to panic.

Orange period blood is usually not truly orange, but a reddish-orange or burnt orange color. You can also have orange vaginal discharge that is not period blood. 

What It Means

Orange period blood usually means the blood leaving your body has been oxygenated. This happens most frequently when you are finishing your period. 

You may have orange period blood when:

  • You first start your period. If period blood mixes with cervical fluid, the result is usually pink period blood, however it can occasionally appear orange.
  • You are finishing your period. Your period flow may change from bright red to orange to dark red as you finish your period, indicating your flow is slowing down.
  • You are pregnant. Implantation bleeding is common and can range in color. Orange spotting can be an indication that you are pregnant. 

When It’s More Than Just Your Period

If you’re concerned about orange period blood, you can look for other symptoms that may make it a good idea to call your doctor. 

  • Other symptoms like burning, itching, foul odor, or pain can indicate an infection when they accompany orange period blood. 
  • If you have a history of bacterial vaginosis, see your doctor if you experience orange period blood. You may be developing another BV infection. 
  • If you’re pregnant, call your doctor if you experience orange period blood as it can be a sign of miscarriage. 

Brown Period Blood

Brown period blood looks a little like mud or even rust-colored. It may have a purplish or dark red tint and be accompanied by clots. 

Brown period blood may be thicker than the flow you are used to. It differs in texture and consistency from bright, red period blood. You may find you need to use a pad instead of a tampon when you have brown period blood. 

What It Means

Experiencing brown period blood usually means you are just starting or just finishing your period. Much like pink period blood, it happens when your flow is the lightest. 

You can have brown period blood when:

  • You first start your period. If you have brown period blood on the first day of your period, you may be shedding blood from your last period. This “old” blood has oxygenated and turned a darker color. 
  • You are finishing your period. When your flow begins to slow down in the last few days of your period, your period blood spends more time in the uterus. This gives it more time to oxygenate and change from bright red to brown. 
  • You’ve just had a baby. Lochia, the vaginal bleeding and discharge you experience after you have a baby, lasts for up to six weeks. The first few days of your bleeding will usually be bright red, but the color may change to brown after the fourth day. 

When It’s Not Just Your Period

It’s very rare that brown period blood indicates a medical problem that needs attention. If you have other symptoms, it may mean you need to see a doctor. 

Call your doctor if you have brown period blood and:

  • You are pregnant. This could be normal, but it could mean there is an issue with your placenta that needs to be addressed by your OB. 
  • Pain, cramping, foul smell, burning, and itching. These symptoms can all indicate an infection.

Dark Red Period Blood

Dark red period blood can look frightening. Tinged with deep purple, it can almost appear black. Don’t worry. Dark, red period blood has just been hanging out in your uterus a little longer. 

Dark red period blood may happen toward the end of your period. It’s typically the same consistency as bright, red period blood. You may also notice the development of clots with dark, red period blood. 

What It Means

Dark red period blood is still a normal, healthy period color. You may have dark, red period blood:

  • At the end of your period. When your period flow slows down, the blood in your uterus takes longer to exit through your vagina. This gives it time to oxygenate. The slower the flow, the darker the color of your period blood. 
  • Right after waking up. Lying down all night causes the blood in your uterus to collect. As it pools, it will oxygenate, so the first flow you see in the morning may be dark red in color. 
  • You’ve just had a baby. Lochia can change from bright red to dark red after the first few days. It isn’t unusual to see these color changes after giving birth, even if you didn’t have a vaginal delivery. 

When It’s Not Just Your Period

Sometimes when you see dark period blood when you may not be getting your period for a few more days may have you questioning what it could mean.

  • Blood that has stayed longer than normal. This could mean that you had extra blood that clotted then decided to come to the surface. Clotting is pretty normal.

  • Early sign of pregnancy. Otherwise known as implantation bleeding, this can happen at the very early stages of pregnancy. 


We know how big your eyes get when you see black period blood. Take a deep breath, black period blood is completely normal. 

You’ll probably notice black period blood at the very end of your period. It also has a thicker consistency than bright, red period blood. Sometimes, black period blood may have clots. 

What It Means

Seeing black period blood is alarming, but the truth is, it isn’t really black. It’s actually very dark, red. Black period blood is old blood that has fully oxygenated before leaving your vagina. 

  • At the end of your period, your flow is slowing down, which allows more time for your period blood to oxygenate. The very last day of your period is when you’ll see the most black period blood. 
  • Before you start your period, you may experience a few drops of black period blood. This is probably leftover from your previous period. 

When It’s Not Just Your Period

Rarely, black period blood can indicate a deeper issue. If you have other symptoms like the ones below, it’s a smart idea to call your doctor. 

  • Your black period blood is accompanied by a foul odor. You could have an object lodged inside your vagina. If you’ve forgotten to take out a tampon, you can develop a serious infection that needs medical attention. 
  • Your black period blood is accompanied by a congenital issue with your cervix or vagina. These types of issues can cause your flow to come out slower, which can allow time for your blood to oxygenate. 

Purple Period Blood

Purple period blood can look almost blueberry in color.  It’s one of the rarest colors of period blood you’ll experience. 

What It Means

Typically, purple period blood simply means your body is making a little too much estrogen. You can try increasing your fiber intake, which may help your body produce estrogen more evenly. 

When It’s More Than Just Your Period

If you seem to have purple period blood every cycle, contact your doctor. Also, if you experience purple period blood along with other symptoms like irritation, foul odor, or discomfort, you’ll definitely want to see your doctor to eliminate the possibility of an infection. 

Get Rael

Your monthly cycle can bring you all kinds of surprises, including different colors of period blood. It’s okay–it’s nothing you can’t handle. 

Trust the team at Rael to give you all the information you need to understand what’s going on during your monthly cycle and provide you with the most natural period care products that help you feel comfortable and confident no matter what rainbow-colored day you’re having. 


Talking to Your Child About Periods (for Parents) | Nemours Kidshealth 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) fact sheet | WHO 

Basic Information About Cervical Cancer | CDC

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