The color of a person's period blood can relay vital health information. File picture: Pixabay
Period blood can say so much about what’s going on with your health.The color of a person's period blood can relay vital health information.

Kotex together with Dr Nokukhanya Khanyile break down what is considered to be a "normal" colour of menstrual blood for the average non-pregnant, pre-menopausal woman.

Bright red

This kind of blood indicates a steady flow of the menstrual blood. This is the typical colour of period blood that one may see and shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless it occurs in between periods.

Brown or dark red

This may be seen at the beginning and end of a period and could be normal as the blood hasn’t been in the uterus for long enough to cause significant oxidation. The iron that is in our blood can react with oxygen, and a chemical process called oxidation occurs which can make the period appear darker and smell slightly metallic. If there is significant bleeding, lower abdominal pain or if you notice an unpleasant odour, please seek medical assistance.

Black or very dark brown

Blood from the uterus oxidises and changes colour from dark red to brown and then black. If you have a fever, any itching or swelling around the vagina, pain or difficulty urinating or discharge that smells unpleasant, these could be signs of a vaginal/cervical blockage and needs to be attended to by a medical doctor.


The most common reason for pink, or lighter coloured blood could be that you are either using contraceptives that have altered your hormone levels or that you may be anaemic, which is most commonly due to iron deficiency. If you notice that you are experiencing appetite, energy and weight changes, go to a healthcare professional to check if it is anaemia and what might be causing it.

Orange or grey

Sometimes, a change in the acidity in the vagina can cause increased overgrowth of bacteria causing Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or fungi causing vaginal thrush. Orange menstrual blood could be due to BV or trichomoniasis, which are infections that will require you to go to your GP or gynae for medical assistance. 

Grey looking blood is usually a sign of BV. This condition may cause a watery, grey/green discharge associated with vaginal itching when you are not on your period.