Period blood, not exactly an ideal conversation to bring up at the dinner table, am I right? But it is such an important topic to talk about because our blood can give us health insights if we just pay a little more attention. Blood makes me super squeamish (who’s with me), so I don’t want to pay more attention to any type of blood than I have to. BUT the colour of our period blood, when we experience bleeding, and the amount blood lost during menstruation are helpful signs in order to better understand our body and health.
First let’s get back to basics: When you are menstruating “your body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina.” Note to my 11 year old self, a period is bleeding from the vagina, not from the same place where pee comes out (the urethra). If this is news to you, don’t feel bad, it was news to me (ladies, we have three holes). Girls and women often don’t know enough about their own reproductive system and anatomy, and that is why educating and creating a conversation surrounding menstrual health is so crucial.
Sometimes at the beginning or ending of your period, the blood might change colour. Instead of the usual red as the colour of the blood that flows, it might be brown. Brown menstrual blood near the beginning or end of your period is normal, and is just a sign that the discharged blood is older. Certain girls and women experience brown period blood in between periods, however this is more common in younger girls who are just starting to have their periods, women starting birth control, or women nearing menopause.
Bleeding after your menstrual cycle ends, in between periods, or bleeding after intercourse can be a concern in certain cases, and it’s always good to see a doctor to make sure it’s not a symptom of a health condition. Orange period blood can be the sign of period blood mixed with cervical fluids, however bright orange menstrual blood can also indicate an infection so you may want to consider seeing a doctor.
During your period you might also be wondering if you’re experiencing normal menstrual blood loss and is it too much blood loss? Well good news, it is probably nowhere near as much as you think it is. On average, a woman will lose between 10 to 35 ml of period blood per menstrual cycle. For reference, 30 ml is only two tablespoons! However, too much bleeding during a period and period blood clots can be a sign of Menorrhagia, which is when a woman’s period flow is more than 80 ml per menstrual period.
It is always important to recognize and understand the signs of your menstruation to ensure you are a happy and healthy you!
(ps. I’m very sorry if we ruined red wine for you)