What is the colour of your vaginal discharge telling you about your health?
Think of your periods as a rainbow with a plethora of colours. It may not have the full spectrum of the sun but it has all the hues of red you could imagine. Although it is perfectly normal to have all these shades of red as it signifies how fast the blood is leaving your body (It's sometimes black too.Yikes!) but sometimes this change can act as an indicator to certain issues that you might be facing. Here is a run of all the shades which you see and what they potentially signify.
Bright, Cranberry red
This is an indicator of a regular cycle. It also means the blood is fresh and flowing quickly. Sometimes you are asleep and the blood pools it might change its colour due oxidation
You might have noticed the colour of blood is a shade of brown during the starting or towards the end of the cycle. It basically means your flow isn't at full speed and some blood and older bits of the uterine wall hang back and start oxidising - that is the breakdown of iron molecules in the haemoglobin.
Essentially, your blood rusts. This is perfectly normal.
At the beginning of your cycle, the light flow is accompanied by the cervical fluid, which might give the blood a pale and pinkish tone. But, this pink shade of blood can be an indicator for low estrogen levels which is sometimes associated with hormonal birth control or poor eating habits. Pink blood is also an indicator of anaemia i.e iron deficiency in the blood. Green leafy veggies are your best friends when it comes to this.
Now let's get down to the worrying colours. Basically, what not to see and when you see you call up your doctor and get yourself checked.
Brown discharge - Outside of Period
If you experience any brown discharge outside of your period with a fever or some pain then it is an indicator of an infection of cervix and uterus or an STI like gonorrhoea or chlamydia. Women with PCOS might also experience some brown spotting.
Although having black period blood is common it indicates that there is some blockage in the vaginal area but if it is accompanied with pain or irritation it's best for you to reach out to your doctor and get yourself checked.
Grey and red mix
This is usually an indication of a sexually transmitted disease or an infection. If you notice a change in your cycle in terms of flow, colour or frequency and you observe these changes for a few cycles continuously it's always a good idea to consult a doctor. We are our best gauge to what’s normal and what’s not.
The most important thing to remember though is always consult your doctor if you feel there is anything abnormal about your cycle.