November 14, 2019

Pink Period Blood? Here's What Your Period Colors Are Telling You

50 shades of period blood? Yeah, kinda. Before you stress, read up on what the color of your blood could mean.
Written by
Dr. Sarah Toler
Published on
November 14, 2019
Updated on
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Period blood is the lining of your uterus that’s been shed at the end of your cycle. It cleanses the uterus in response to decrease in the sex hormones — estrogen and progesterone — prepping it for the next menstrual cycle. Usually, the color of your period blood tells you where you are in your cycle.

What color should period blood be?

Period blood can naturally vary from dark brown (almost black) to bright red and sometimes light pink. It’s normal for your period blood to vary in color within the same cycle as it usually evolves based on what day you are at. 

Period blood may start off dark brown or bright red. Brown blood appears darker because this blood might be lingering from the last cycle and has been exposed to oxygen. Imagine bleeding onto a bandage — At first the bandage will be bright red, but then it will turn brown as the blood dries. 

During the heaviest part of your flow, bleeding is usually dark or bright red. As your bleeding tapers off, blood may become dark brown again. It might also be light pink as your flow becomes lighter. 

If your period blood changes to a color that’s abnormal for you, it’s probably a sign that something is going on inside your body. 

What does it mean when your period blood is pink?

It’s not uncommon for blood to take on a pinkish hue toward the end of your period. Period blood is usually bright red, but as the flow slows down, it can mix with white vaginal fluid, known as discharge. Whitish discharge and red blood mix together to create pink. Pink period blood might just be diluted red blood. 

Pink period blood with cramping

Pink period blood with cramping can be totally normal. But, when pink period blood is accompanied by severe cramping and passing of tissue, it could be a sign of an early miscarriage. This usually isn’t dangerous unless your bleeding doesn’t stop or all of the tissue doesn’t pass. If you think you could be pregnant, it’s important to follow up. You can visit your healthcare provider for a sonogram and blood test to see what’s going on and if you need follow-up care. 

Pink period blood with hormonal change

Hormones, the chemical messengers of the body, influence how and when your uterine lining is shed. When you experience a hormonal change, period blood may change color. 

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some experiences leading to hormonal change include dramatic weight loss, eating disorders, athleticism and menopause. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why, but it appears the sex hormone estrogen decreases with weight loss and reduction of body fat. A reduction in estrogen can lead to a shorter and lighter period that might appear pink. 

Pink spotting

Less than 3 percent of people experience spotting in between periods, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology. Even though most people don’t experience spotting in between periods, it can be normal for some people. Spotting can also be intermixed with discharge and appear pink. 

Vaginal bleeding 10 to14 days after a period might be implantation bleeding. This kind of bleeding happens when an embryo implants into the uterus. It’s a sign of early pregnancy. 

Seeing a doctor for pink period blood

In most cases, pink period blood isn’t anything to worry about. However, when it comes to your body, always trust your gut. When you notice a change in your normal period colors, it warrants further investigation. If you feel like something is off with your body, it’s best to visit a healthcare provider to get it checked out. 

Period blood can be a spectrum of colors, but certain colors signify trouble. Orange or gray period blood should always be investigated by a healthcare provider. Gray discharge can be a sign of a common condition called bacterial vaginosis or BV. It’s easily treated with medication. Discolored spotting can also be a sign of malignancy like cervical cancer. 

It’s important to look at your vaginal bleeding each month so you know the color, consistency and amount normal to you.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Dr. Toler specializes in reproductive mental health and focuses on the intersections where reproductive rights, mental health, healthcare access and equality meet. Through creating evidence-based health content, she hopes to improve access to reproductive health information for all people. She is a perinatal mental health advocate and currently contributes to several perinatal mental health action groups including Maternal Mental Health NOW and Postpartum Support International.

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