Why is my period blood brown?

Like most of us, when you think “blood,” you probably think “red,” right? And most of the time, you’re totally correct. But when it comes to having a period, you’ll likely be a little more up close and personal with the stuff that runs through your veins, and therefore see blood in its many forms. (That’s kind of cool when you think about it!) 

All that said, in most cases, brown blood is just older blood, and it’s nothing to be worried about. The truth is, periods come in all different colors and consistencies, from brown to pink, heavy to light. Sometimes your periods might be almost gritty, like coffee grounds, sometimes they’ll be clotted, like jam. Other times, it’ll seem just like the blood you’re used to if you get a papercut. Your flow will change and evolve over time, and you’ll eventually get a good sense of what’s normal for your period. 

Periods come in different colours

It’s super-common for first and early periods to be a little (or a lotta!) brown — your body is just starting the process of shedding its uterine lining and old blood may have built up. It’s also common for brown blood to show up at the very beginning or very end of your period. But you’ll see other colours, too!

In the middle of your period, you might see bright red blood. Bright red blood occurs when your period blood is fresher, so you’ll probably see it in the middle of your period, when your body has hit its groove shedding its uterine lining.

In the middle of your period, you may also see nearly-black clots of blood. Clots are just bigger-than-usual clumps of your uterine lining. This is totally normal, but can be a little alarming if you’re not expecting it.

It’s also possible to experience pink blood, which often occurs when your period has lightened up. Blood turns a little pink when it mixes with regular vaginal discharge. You’ll most likely experience this near the end of your period, when your flow is tapering off. You might also experience this kind of blood if you spot—or bleed between periods.  

In some more rare cases, you may also see orange blood. For some people, this is totally normal, and may, like pink blood, just be an instance of your flow mixing with your usual discharge. Sometimes, however, it’s indicative of infection. Check in with a doctor if something seems not quite right. 

Surprisingly, it’s also possible to experience dark blue and dark purple periods. Usually this is a sign of a lower-than-normal body temperature or blood that’s not getting enough oxygen. You’re probably a-okay, but again, just in case, check in with a doctor.

You’ll soon learn what’s normal for you

As you get to know your ~flow~, you’ll know what’s normal for you, and you’ll probably see a lot of different shades of your period. It’s always a good idea to take a peek at the color and consistency of your period. If anything ever feels or looks (or smells) off, it’s best to check-in with your doctor just to be sure everything is okay.