Have you ever sat on the toilet and looked down to see your blood to not be… red? You’re probably thinking you have an infection or something. Fret not, changes in period blood colour is completely normal.
Your period blood colour can vary from scarlet red to a gross brown. This is all because blood (and tissue) changes colour depending on how long it has been exposed to air oxygenation. Did that sound complicated? Basically blood colour appears darker because it has reacted with oxygen. Ever thought about how when you get a wound, your blood is crimson red? Then you put a bandage on it and the next day, the blood has dried up to a murky brown.
So now moving on to our period blood… Your endometrium is the inner lining of your uterus, which is where a fertilized egg would implant and grow. Because the endometrium is made up of highly vascularized tissue with special spiralized arteries, it enables the fertilized egg a more accessible and quicker way to fresh blood supply, which carries nutrients and oxygen, so it can start to develop.
To limit blood loss, these specialized spiral arteries constrict. This usually happens right before you get your period. After the constriction of the spiral arteries, the endometrium starts to break away in pieces from the deeper layers of the uterus. The initial blood and tissue may appear dark red or brown, because it takes longer to exit your body.
As tissue breaks away, it leaves torn ends of blood vessels that continue to bleed. Pssttt, that will be the bright red blood you see during your period 😉Eventually platelets are activated to group together and form a plug to stop the bleeding, thus bringing your period to an end. As the bleeding comes to end, the blood may appear dark red/brown.
Now, if your period colour happens to be grey, this is most definitely not normal and you need to get in your car and drive to your nearest clinic because I hate to break it to you, but that is a sign of infection.
It’s imperative to educate yourself on the norms of your period so when something unordinary happens, you know what it means and the solution to it. Additionally, if you experience any prolonged changes in your menstrual cycle, it’s always better to reach out to your doctor.