Different colors and textures of period blood are normal. But, some colors may indicate a health condition, such as a vaginal infection and pregnancy.

During the menstruation period, the female body will shed tissue and blood from the uterus through the vaginal canal via bloody discharges. Period blood varies in color and brightness based on how long it has been in the body. If the period blood stays in the uterus, it oxidizes and looks darker. So, a bright red indicates fresh blood, while brown or black may indicate old blood. Other aspects may affect period blood colors, such as health conditions, hormonal changes, and pregnancy. 

Here is our breakdown of what period colors mean:

Brown / Dark Red Period Blood

Menstruating individuals may notice red or brown blood at the beginning or end of their periods. Dark period blood is often a result of oxidation after staying in the uterus for some time before passing through the vaginal canal. The color may vary based on oxidation, such as lighter brown to darker browns and reds. 

Brown and darker red period blood may be normal for some, but it can also indicate early signs of pregnancy, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy. People who have recently gotten pregnant may see brown blood or spotting due to implantation bleeding. But, for people who are already pregnant, brown spotting or bleeding may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. When fertilized eggs implant in their fallopian tubes instead of the uteruses, this results in ectopic pregnancies. Do not assume everything is fine with bleeding while pregnant. All pregnant people should visit their doctor if they experience bleeding at any point in their pregnancies. 

Here are some symptoms of implantation bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage to watch out for:

Symptoms of Implantation Bleeding

  • Lasts 48 hours
  • Light bleeding or spotty bleeding
  • No clots
  • Mild or no cramping
  • Headache
  • Bloating
  • Nausea

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Dark brown vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Mild and dull to severe and sharp pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Rectal pressure & discomfort
  • Low blood pressure
  • Missed or no periods

Signs of a Miscarriage

  • Coffee ground-like discharge
  • Light vaginal bleeding (can be painful or painless)
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Discharge of tissue from the vagina
  • Fluid vaginal discharge 
  • Smelly vaginal discharge
  • Lack of pregnancy symptoms 
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Black Period Blood

At the start or end of menstruation, bloody discharge may appear black. Black period blood is often old blood that has stayed in the uterus and took longer to go out of the vaginal canal. Black period blood is healthy as the blood may start at brown or dark red and oxidize to a darker color.

When black blood is not healthy, it may be a sign of vaginal blockage. Here are the symptoms you need to watch out for vaginal blockage.

Symptoms of Vaginal Blockage 

  • Thick gray or white discharge
  • Genital & abdominal swelling
  • Fever 
  • Unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching 
  • Urination difficulties

Pink Period Blood 

When blood mixes with cervical fluid, menstrual blood or spotting may appear pink. Pink discharge may happen naturally with menstruation or with small tears during sexual intercourse. People who have unhealthy diets, lose significant amounts of weight or have anemia may notice pink blood during menstruation. Other causes, such as low estrogen, can lead to pink menstrual blood and lighter periods. Low estrogen is a huge factor in miscarriage. If pregnant and experiencing pink periods, it is a must to contact a doctor and schedule a check-up appointment.

Bright Red Period Blood

Red period blood is a steady flow of fresh menstrual blood. Period blood can stay bright red from beginning to end or have colors that change from red to darker reds and browns.

Bright red blood is usually healthy, but there are rare instances when it can be a sign of cervical cancer. Here are signs of cervical cancer to watch out for:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge bleeding (i.e., longer or heavier periods)
  • Pain or vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Unpleasant, watery discharge
  • Leg Pain

Orange Period Blood

Orange blood or discharge is also blood mixed with cervical fluid. Orange period blood is often a sign of vaginal infections, including trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis (BV). People with orange period blood may have other accompanying signs, not limited to:

  • Musty, fishy discharge
  • Vaginal itching or irritation
  • Burning during urination

Orange blood is not always a cause for concern, but individuals may need medical evaluations to make sure. 


Period Blood Colors



  • Start or end of period 
  • End of period
  • Vaginal blockage
  • Possible sign of implantation bleeding
  • Possible sign of miscarriage 
  • Possible sign of ectopic pregnancy

Brown or Dark Red

  • Slightly older blood
  • Slower flow
  • Oxidized blood at start or end of period 
  • Possible sign of implantation bleeding 

Bright Red

  • Fresh / recent period blood
  • Steady period blood flow
  • May contain period blood clots


  • Blood mixed with cervical fluid
  • Possible sign of vaginal infection


  • Start or end of period
  • Possible sign of anemia
  • Blood mixed with cervical mucus
  • Major weight loss
  • Unbalanced diet
May 08, 2024

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.