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What Do the Different Period Colors Mean? Should I Be Worried If There Is Brown, Black, Grey Discharge

The color of period blood tends to change over the course of the menstrual cycle, varying from bright red to pinkish to brownish. If you notice a color that is not red on the first day of your period, do not worry, as red need not be the color of period blood, and it changes as your menstrual cycle progresses.

Having a different color of period blood is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, sometimes, it can indicate an underlying medical condition, especially if the change in color is accompanied by other symptoms. In such cases, medical consultation should be sought.

In this article, we will discuss what the different colors of period blood mean and when medical consultation should be sought.

Brown Period Blood: Why It Occurs and What It Can Mean

Having brown or brownish discharge during your menstrual cycle means that it is old blood that has oxidized, which gives it a brown tinge. It can also indicate:

  • The start or end of your period, where blood flow is slow, causing it to oxidize and turn brown. Sometimes, this brown blood can remain from the previous period.
  • Pregnancy: Spotting or brown blood can occur during implantation, an early pregnancy sign, along with symptoms like swollen breasts, mild cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Missed Miscarriage: A missed or “silent miscarriage” can cause dark brown bleeding or spotting, where the fetus stops developing but doesn’t pass through the uterus immediately.
  • Lochia: Postpartum bleeding, which occurs for the initial four to six weeks after delivery, turning pinkish or brownish later on.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS can lead to light or missed periods with brownish discharge, along with symptoms like weight gain, excess hair growth, acne, and difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Perimenopause: Changes in estrogen levels affect the menstrual flow’s frequency, color, and texture, leading to brown spotting or blood at various times.

Dark Red Period Blood: What to Expect

Dark red period blood is commonly seen upon waking up or after lying down for a while, due to blood staying in the uterus for some time but not long enough to oxidize and turn brown. It may also indicate the end of your period when the flow starts to taper.

Bright Red Period Blood: When Is It Seen?

Bright red period blood indicates fresh blood with a fast flow, often seen in the initial days of the period. It can signify conditions like sexually transmitted infections or other infections leading to vaginal irritation and bleeding.

  • Uterine Fibroids or Polyps: Noncancerous growths in the uterus causing heavy menstrual flow and symptoms like pelvic pain and pressure.
  • Miscarriage: Bright red bleeding or clots during pregnancy can indicate a miscarriage, along with symptoms like abdominal pain and dizziness.
  • Adenomyosis: A condition causing painful, heavy periods, persistent pelvic pain, and painful intercourse.

Pink Period Blood: What Does It Mean?

Pink period blood, often seen at the start or end of the period, is usually blood mixed with cervical fluid. It can be associated with conditions like low estrogen levels or spotting during ovulation.

Orange Period Blood: Uncommon But No Reason to Panic

Orange discharge can occur when blood is diluted with cervical fluid, and may also indicate an infection or implantation spotting in early pregnancy.

Gray Period Blood and Its Meaning

Gray period blood can indicate an infection like bacterial vaginosis, or be a sign of miscarriage, where discharged tissue may also appear gray.

Black Period Blood: Tends to Be Old Blood

Black period blood signifies old blood that has been in the body for a long time, often seen at the beginning or end of the period, or due to an infection or a foreign object in the vagina.

Should I Worry About Different Period Blood Colors at the Beginning and End of My Menstrual Cycle?

Variations in period blood color are normal across different stages of the menstrual cycle. However, if accompanied by symptoms like bad odor or unusual discharge, consulting a doctor is advisable.

Watery Period Blood or Clots: Should I Be Worried?

Watery period blood or small clots are usually not a concern unless clots are larger than a quarter, which could indicate a more serious condition and necessitate medical consultation.

When Should I Consult My Doctor?

Consult a doctor if there are changes in period blood color or texture accompanied by other symptoms, or if the period is unusually heavy or prolonged.


Period blood color and texture can vary, and while changes are often normal, accompanying symptoms should prompt medical consultation.


  1. NCBI: Missed Miscarriage
  2. NCBI: Lochia
  3. NCBI: Pregnancy and Miscarriage
  4. PubMed: PCOS
  5. NCBI: Uterine Fibroids
  6. NCBI: Adenomyosis
  7. NCBI: Foreign Objects in the Vagina
  8. Women’s Health: Your Menstrual Cycle
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 5, 2024

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