Period Blood Colors and Textures: What Do They Mean? 205

While this topic lies pretty firmly in the too-much-information category, many, many women wonder about changes in period blood colors and texture. It’s something 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?”, “Why is my period blood orange?”, “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 about period blood colors and texture changes through personal experience as a woman with an irregular period, an interview with a licensed mid-wife, and extensive research.
period blood colors and textures changes

Period blood colors:

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

Dark period blood: Dark blood is essentially older blood. This means it’s been stored in the uterus longer and had more time to break down, may have begun to coagulate in the vaginal canal, or may have been exposed to air. Many women notice darker red blood when they first wake in the morning.

Brown or Black period blood: Black or brown period blood colors are the oldest blood; most women notice these colors at the tail end of their period or during light spotting at the beginning. 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. Brown blood is also sometimes seen when bleeding is very light and takes some time to make it’s way out so to speak. Period blood clots also frequently appear darker, but we’ll get to that in a moment. You can read more about brown discharge, rather than actual bleeding, here.

Orange period blood: 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, it has a foul odor, or it doesn’t also have a slippery consistency, see your doctor.


Period Blood Textures:

 Heavy period 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 those anticoagulants 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, and 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 period blood: Menstrual blood that seems almost slippery with a jelly-like texture is 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 or if you’ve recently been pregnant. Period blood after a pregnancy is generally quite unique giving off a distinct smell of, well, decay.

Thin period blood: Thin blood is being properly prevented 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 in period blood: If there is what appears to be actual tissue within your period blood it is possible you suffered an early miscarriage. Miscarriage tissue typically is described as being grey to white in color. It does not look like a common blood clot. Another type of tissue, called a decidual cast may also be shed in cases. Decidua is part of the mucus membrane of the uterus and is often described as looking like “chicken skin.” Decidual cast passage can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or hormonal imbalance, but in other cases it just happens once and never happens again. If you have continued pain after passing a decidual cast, you should seek medical attention. (You can do an online image search for both types of tissue to get an idea of the difference, but due to the graphic nature of those images I will not share them here.)

Keep in mind, that in most cases, changes in period blood colors or texture are entirely irrelevant and don’t suggest any health problem. However, prolonged changes such as frequent heavy periods, odors, irregular periods, short periods, and/or severe pain during menstruation should be evaluated.

You may also find helpful:

Late period, missed period, irregular period, Oh, Why!?

Telling Difference Between Implantation Bleeding and a Period

Period-like Bleeding During Pregnancy

Menstruation Changes While Breastfeeding

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205 thoughts on “Period Blood Colors and Textures: What Do They Mean?

  • Anonymous

    Right foods to eat to keep your periods normal would be greens like colla greens or spinich. Beets and beans. Stay away from cola and caffine drinks . I also know red beets that are pickled in apple cider vinager can keep your uterus cleansed. cranberry juices kills infections but keeps the uterus clean and periods to flow well. cinomon pills keeps suagr levels down but has effects on good period flow. Lay off tampons use sanation pads leave the vagina breath alternate if you can. bladder being messed with cauaes blood clots.

  • Simone

    Okaee I missed my period and I thought their might be a high chance of preganancy but just today after intercourse I started bleeding and I looks like a very light red close to orange I believe bit can’t tell bc when it hits the pad it’s brown so I’m confuse

    • unwirklich admin

      It’s possible the bleeding your seeing is from cervical damage. During pregnancy the cervix becomes more sensitive and can bleed after intercourse. You may want to take a home pregnancy test if your full period doesn’t come on soon.

  • ramya sri

    i m 22 i am unable to understand whether it is a period or not the pain i m getting is same as before but able to see something brown while urine, not even using a pad..cant guess what is happening with me..please help

    • unwirklich admin

      Is the brown blood or in your urine? Brown urine is often a sign of urinary tract or kidney infection. Brown blood is jut old bleeding, often from light spotting.

    • unwirklich admin

      All comments are moderated. They go to my inbox, and I have to manually approve them, on the bright side, that means 0 spam and I always reply, on the downside it means sometimes comments don’t appear for awhile. lol

  • Sierra

    Last month, I started my period and had it for a day. Then I got a yeast infection. I did not bleed for the duration of that period. This month I have had unprotected sex three times but he pulled out before he came. Two times were two weeks before my period. And the third was just one week before. My period was two days late and only lasted for three days. This was odd, because my periods are very regular. So, before I got my period I had cramps and peed frequently. I also had an unusual number of headaches. My boyfriend mentioned my breasts being larger and darkening of my aroelas. They were slightly tender and it hurt them to take deep breaths. I also had had heartburn. So, I thought I might be pregnant. Before I could take a test, I bled heavily for two days then it ended the third day. It was thick, dark, and had kind of shimmery pink clots in it. Although I did not experience implantation bleeding, could I have been pregnant? Can I still take a test after a week? Was that a miscarriage? Was it too early to be considered a miscarriage if pregnancy was never confirmed?

    • unwirklich admin

      It does sound a lot like what’s called a chemical pregnancy (should you want to research it further) Basically, its just a very, very early loss. I’m afraid hormone levels would be long gone by a week after, they fall pretty rapidly with early losses.

  • Me

    And yah i have to this with him on a 27th nov. And periods come on 15th dec. but heavy periods. So is that possible that period was bledding for pregnency? Plz read my both comments nd reply me

  • Me

    Earlier u gave me a answer that about ‘ he touched her pennis with my vegina openly without any protection. And after this i got my periods 4 days ago then regular day. You told me that i am not pregnent. But if his precum is coming is that possible i dont know about that. But after this. From the nxt day i have continous little pain in stomach. After this many more time create pain in my stomach and sometimes like i feel diffrent. My stomach weight puton more then before. So really is that possible about pregnency without any intercourse. We have to just touched but its possible thorugh any medium like cotton wears, openly or through hands.

    • unwirklich admin

      Pre-cum does contain sperm, but very little. If you were both naked, and his penis was just out, then yes, it is virtually impossible you are pregnant.

  • Js

    I had sex on December 2nd, I have been feeling like I could be pregnant my period is suppose to start in 2 days I noticed some very faint pink blood while wiping after peeing. Could this be implantation bleeding or the start of my period. I have had mild cramping sore boobs been very tired moody and peeing very often to the point where it becomes annoying.

    • unwirklich admin

      It would be very late for implantation bleeding (19 days), but could be break through bleeding or, yes, just the start of your period.

  • jonny


    I got my period after 45days, and its been 16days long and still continuing..its not heavy either very lighter than my general period and is same starting from day1 to today…
    I read in some blogs that miss of early pregnancy could be a reason apart from harmonal changes…
    How could I know what exactly a reason could be…
    Kindly help

    • unwirklich admin

      Long cycles can lead to long periods, but yes, a 45 day cycle is a sign of hormonal imbalance. You’ll need a blood test to determine which, and they will also likely do a ultrasound of your uterus/ovaries. If you aren’t trying to conceive, they may also simply recommend birth control.

  • Swetha

    Hey… I got my periods after 45days and its very long..continuing for 12days and more… It bleeds in brown and clot types…
    Could you suggest what kind of problem it is and do I need to immediately see a doctor

    • unwirklich admin

      When your period comes after an extended time it does tend to last longer and be heavier (hence the clots and coloration). Usually when a cycle is much longer than the typical 28 days its because ovulation is not occurring or is occurring late. It’s ovulation that kicks your body out of the first cycle of hormones, and into the second that triggers a period. Why you may not be ovulating is impossible to guess at with the data provided. In most cases, a long period isn’t an emergency, but it is something you may want to speak with a care provider about because it does say something in your hormone balance is off, or you may have low egg reserve, or even fibroids– not to mention the long periods can cause anemia and are a pain to deal with.

      This offers a good overview of period changes and possible causes.

  • Melissa

    I am a 29yr old mother of 6 with a tubaligation.My whole menstral cycle life span since I was 13 has been irregular and very heavy.Clots vary in size…and now I get nauseated,really dizzy and the blood color has been coming out as a dull dark purple w/o shine…I have no idea why its doing that.was wondering what it could possibly mean.

    • unwirklich admin

      I don’t know much about period’s after a tubal I’m afraid, and dark purple is a new one. Bleeding can get sort of brownish when it’s older/slow to exit, but purple I really can’t think of a reason for. You might want to speak with your care provider, not necessarily because its an odd color, but because the dizziness and nausea shouldn’t be occurring. It could be some sort of an infection or something wrong with the tubal? If you’re having very heavy bleeding, both symptoms can be a sign of blood loss or severe anemia. It’s worth checking out.

    • unwirklich admin

      It sounds like for one reason or another you are having lighter than normal periods. This could be infection, hormonal imbalance, or even pregnancy. You could either wait, see if next month is the same and it self resolves or see a healthcare provider now. If you mean you are having this bleeding in addition to your normal period, that leans more towards mid-cycle spotting and its likely hormonal.

    • unwirklich admin

      Flow level changes are normal, most women notice a lighter flow at the beginning and end of their period. The brown stuff is just old blood that took awhile to make an exit.

        • unwirklich admin

          Light bleeding will sometimes pool in the vaginal canal at night, then you wake up, stand, and it comes out. Your flow likely just isn’t heavy enough to be noticeable by day. It could also be spotting. Light bleeding is not unusual.

    • unwirklich admin

      I am not entirely sure what you mean, black and brown can be normal yes. Are you having heavy periods and concerned about low iron? Red meat and dark greens are good choices…