Chances are, you probably don't think much about the color of your period blood. By this point, your time of the month comes and goes, and the color usually stays the same, more or less. But what if your period blood starts looking... different? Then what?
As it turns out, the color of your period blood can actually reveal a lot about your health. If you're wondering what your latest shade means, look no further than the handy guide below to know when you can breathe easy and when you should definitely see a doctor.
My period blood is bright red.
It might be a little alarming if your period blood looks like the kind of blood you see when you get, say, a paper cut. But most of the time, this is totally normal, especially if it happens during day one or day two of your period. It usually just means that your flow is at its heaviest.
My period blood is dark red.
Much like the bright red color, the dark red color is not typically a sign that anything is wrong. The most likely scenario is that the blood has become "old" by spending more time in your body before flowing out. This causes the blood to oxidize, which in turn gives it that darker shade.
My period blood is pink.
A barely-there flow is one to pay attention to. A pink period could be a sign of low estrogen levels, especially for someone who has recently lost a lot of weight in a short period of time, has been exercising excessively, or has engaged in restrictive dieting. If that's you, it might be time to adjust your lifestyle habits and be sure you're eating enough protein. If not, you could potentially put your bones and heart at risk in the long run.
My period blood is orange.
Orange period blood is a color that should put you on high alert. This could signal an infection, especially if it's accompanied by strange symptoms like a foul smell or unusual pain. Though it varies from woman to woman and doesn't always mean something is amiss down there, this is definitely a sign to go see your doctor.
My period blood is gray.
Gray period blood could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or another vaginal infection. But either way, it's definitely a sign to call your doctor and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
This post originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.