50 SHADES OF PERIOD BLOOD: WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
LEARN WHAT YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU
We all toss our used tampons, flushing them down the pipes or putting them in the trash without a thought. However, we’re actually tossing valuable information about our health away. Depending on the color, clots and thickness, your period blood can tell you a lot about what is going on with your body.
Back up, what exactly happens during our period again? The lining of your uterus thickens throughout your cycle to prep for pregnancy. When your cycle is up and there isn’t a baby on the way, your body sheds the uterus lining that it worked so hard to build up along with some blood. Interesting to know, we lose about 5 to 10 teaspoons of blood and fluid each cycle.
WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PERIOD BLOOD?
Women will usually experience one of the three color patterns during their period: frozen mashed-up blueberries, strawberry jam, and cranberry juice, said Alisa Vitti, a holistic health counselor and functional nutritionist, on The Dr. Oz Show.
Frozen Blueberry: this color is usually an indicator of higher estrogen levels, which can lead the lining of the uterus to thicken when this hormone is in excess; it is typically seen in heavier cycles.
Strawberry Jam: a light pink appearance is a sign that estrogen levels are too low, which can lead to vaginal dryness, low libido, hair loss, and even fatigue. With women who have low estrogen levels, they experience patchy periods that come here and there and their periods frequently begin late.
Cranberry Juice: the “normal” period color that tends to start and end on time. However, women with these periods should always be on the lookout for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). If you’re experiencing PMS, reach out to your doctor because it might be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.
P.S. The dark brown color that you probably see in the beginning and end of your period is totally normal, too. This is older blood. During those light flow days, the blood takes longer to exit your body, and takes on a darker color as it makes its slow exit. Another reason is that some of us are slow-bleeders. Our uteruses are not always able to completely clean the slate each month so we get to see the leftovers on the next round.
Blood clots in your period flow can be very normal and can simply be a natural part of menstruation. Many women pass period clots at some point during their menstrual lifetime so if you haven’t yet, you probably will in the future. But first, what are they exactly?
When the lining of your uterus is breaking away, some parts of it will break away faster than others. During a heavier flow, when period blood is expelling faster, clots will sometimes form. So basically, your uterus is so kick-ass that it works too well and will give you a thick mass of period blood that we call clots.
You’ll most likely see them in the first few days of your period, during the heaviest part of your flow. Period blood clots can vary in color and consistency. Blood clots are generally bright or darker red, and can sometimes make your menstrual flow seem dense and thick. It’s normal for the appearance to change from one period to the next.
By the way, the use of tampons (points if they’re organic!) may help to decrease clots if you’re like me and don’t like the sight of blood.
Period blood may have the normal viscosity, as blood from a bleeding finger or it could be watery and thin. It may also be stringy.
If the blood is thin and watery, then there is some sort of a deficiency in the underlying reproductive energies. If it is thick, clumpy, stringy, or has clots, then there is an excess condition where the flow is compromised. Note that temporary thick, heavy flow isn’t necessarily a cause for concern.
If you ever feel like something is just “off” with your period blood, call your doctor because it’s always better to ask questions than to sit at home and worry!
So, next time you catch a glimpse of your 10 teaspoons of period blood, take a few seconds to look at it and touch it. What color is it? Are there clots? What kind of viscosity does it have? Don’t be afraid of your period blood, embrace it. The more that we learn and know about our bodies, the better we are at managing our periods.