The Colour Of Period – What Does it Mean?

Do you remember learning about sex and the reproductive system at school? For me, it was a weird jumpy video where a sperm joins an egg and we were told something about a 28-day cycle. To be fair, I came away none the wiser. I didn’t know how much blood to expect when my period started, nor how it would come out or really, how long it would last. None of us did really – I did however, think that the period would be bright red, as if you’ve cut your arm.


Imagine my surprise then, when I began my period at the age of 13, and it was brown. BROWN!? I thought I’d had an accident of another kind and immediate thought I was dying and began screaming, before I was told by my mum that this was normal.


I was taught about periods a long, long time ago and I’m not really up to date on what the sexual education is in schools at the moment, but I strongly believe that we were taught the ‘Dummies Guide To Periods’ which taught us the biology and not a full, in-depth, exciting look at our changing bodies. I’ll certainly be sure to explain it in better terms to my daughter, should I have one.


Anyway. Now we’ve established that menstrual blood comes in different colours – which colours should you be looking out for and which colour is something that should be a worry? Take a look below for the colour of period and make sure nothing funny is going on.


Remember, everyone is different and can have different colour of period, and you know your body the best – so only take these as a guideline!


Bright Red

Let’s start at the expected end of the scale. Bright red colour represents a normal, steady flow and nothing to worry about. It’s fresh blood and womb lining – nothing to worry about!


Dark Red or Brown

This usually happens at the beginning or end of your period, as it is simply old blood and a way of your vagina to self-clean. It can also be a sign of early pregnancy, if it is happening outside your normal cycle.




This is a little bit less normal (although it can be!) as pink period blood can signify a significant weight loss and also anemia, which is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues – it can make you very weak, so do contact your doctor.



Orange-coloured period blood can signify a possible infection, and if this is out of the normal for you, it’s definitely worth getting yourself to the GP! Most infections are treatable with a pessary or a round of antibiotics, so don’t worry yourself too much about invasive treatments!



Grey period blood is a sign of Bacterial Vaginosis. BV is the most common vaginal infection among women aged 15 to 44 years. Symptoms, if they appear, may include itching and a gray, watery discharge with a “fishy” smell. Untreated BV can lead to serious complications, but if caught early it can be treated very easily with antibiotics.



Dark red blood can sometimes be mistaken for black period blood, which is normal. However, if your period blood is very black, it can point to a blockage in the vagina. Try not to panic and speak to your GP if this is out of the ordinary for you.


When To Speak To A Doctor

I would advise you to consult a doctor or gynaecologist for any of the following symptoms:


  • New or unusual vaginal discharge
  • Irregular periods that change in length from one month to the next
  • Missing three or more periods with no pregnancy
  • Unpleasant vaginal odour
  • Itching in or around the vagina


Did you learn something new today? Let us know!

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