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What the colour of your flow tells you about your period health

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Every period, in fact, is unique. This goes for person to person and cycle to cycle. This can include everything from the timing of their cycle, flow duration, heaviness (from spotting to heavy bleeding) and colour can vary from light brown to bright red to dark.

However, periods should—for the most part—resemble a similar cycle for each individual and if this varies, one should monitor it in order to decipher whether there could be imbalances or further health risks. Menstruation lasts on average 28 days. A person’s period occurs, on average, from four to seven days. These days can fluctuate throughout your life but if your period becomes longer suddenly, or shorter, including spotting or becomes heavier than normal, this could be an irregular period. An imbalance of estrogen and progesterone can contribute to this hormonal shift.

If your cycles are irregular and difficult to predict, it can indicate menstrual abnormalities that need further investigation, in terms of a hormone imbalance. If your period is painful, this could be a sign of a hormonally related condition like endometriosis, fibroids or nutrient deficiencies.

Knowing your flow is an important component of staying up to date on your health and on any possible shifts.

Here’s a small guide to figure out how your period flow is depending on the colour:

  • Pink- A pink period means that it’s typically light in flow, which may be due to excessive exercising lowering estrogen levels. Studies have found that exercising to an extreme can cause periods to disappear, as is seen with athletes or runners.
  • Light- A nutritional deficiency could be the culprit for this colour change. A diluted period can be because of anaemia which you can be tested for by your doctor. However, a confusing symptom of anaemia is that it may also cause the converse—a heavy period that causes you to bleed through tampons and pads in less than an hour.
  • Dark Brown- This is typically normal as it usually means that you have an older uterine lining that is just now leaving the body. Dark brown period blood is normal during the beginning or end of your cycle. Moreover, blood clots are normal on your heaviest days and can appear a dark red, dark brown, or even black.
  • Red with large clots- A dark red colour is very normal during the first day of your cycle and in the middle. But if it remains that way the entire time, with overly large clotting you may want to see a doctor.
  • Grey- This sounds a bit unpleasant and would probably shock anyone if they saw a grey discharge. This colour is usually accompanied by a foul smell which indicates an STI or an infection.

Your period blood’s normal colour should ideally be bright or cranberry red. Although every period, like we mentioned before, is different and unique, this consistency and color is a clear sign that everything is “normal.”
If you notice any obvious changes to your flow, it’s always important to seek out a medical professional. Diagnostic testing or an ultrasound may be conducted in order to investigate all potential reasons for any changes.

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