What your menstrual blood tells you about your health


Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day, aimed at educating girls about menstrual health and dismantling negative stigmas about menstruation. 

"The blood is not dirty, smelly or bad that girls should be made to feel ashamed of it!" says midwife and Kotex health expert Sister Burgie Ireland.

Also read: INFOGRAPHIC: First period tips and hacks

Your blood can look different from time to time and can give you some hints about your health. Here, Sister Burgie explains what the different coloured blood may mean.

Rusty brown, dark red or brick

This is absolutely normal. Due to a diet of green leafy vegetables and lots of red meat, more iron is released into the bloodstream. When iron mixes with air, it makes period blood darker. 

Light pink/raspberry

This is normal and occurs during a girl's first or early periods. Women who play extreme sports, are dieting seriously or are underweight have lighter coloured periods. 

Pink mucous

This normally occurs at the end of your period.

Also read: INFOGRAPHIC: Which menstruation product is the best for you?

Big clots

Most women occasionally see clots in their menstrual blood, from dark red to bright red. These are usually entirely normal and mostly occur at the start of the period when bleeding is heaviest. When the clotting becomes frequent and clots are regularly bigger than a R2 coin, please see your doctor so they can check for endometriosis, fibrosis polyps, infections or some other causes like lupus.

Also read: 10 myths about periods that you may still believe 

Remember that you can only maintain healthy menstruation by understanding your body, your cycle and accepting that periods are normal. Don't let your period stop you from experiencing new things and enjoying life! 

Have you noticed something different about your period blood? Share your story by emailing chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your comments. 

Read more: 

Sign up to our weekly newsletter to receive Parent24 stories directly to your inbox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2613 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 12692 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
35% - 8555 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 850 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.