Period Blood Color Meanings: Light Pink, Bright Red, Purple, Brown - What Does Yours Mean?

Hands up if you avoid looking at your period?

So many women are grossed out by their bleed.

We spend as much time as possible during menstruation trying to disguise the fact we are bleeding.

Blocking the blood flow with tampons.

Lining our underwear to catch leaks.

Wearing dark clothes to eliminate any chances of an unexpected stain.

While you might be trying hard to hide your bleed from everyone else, I want to know: are you also hiding it from yourself?

How often are you looking at the colour, flow and consistency of your period?  

The colour, consistency and flow of your bleed is one of the greatest insights into your overall health.

In 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published a paper advocating a woman’s menstrual cycle should be considered as a ‘fifth vital sign’ (along with your temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration).

Each month, the foods you eat, how stressed you are, the exercise you do and quality of your relationships all have a critical influence on your delicate hormonal balance, and in turn, your menstrual cycle.

Not sleeping enough, drinking too much and eating on the run? 

Your period will let you know. 

It might be in the form of darker, thicker blood with more blood clots and painful cramps.

Been under the pump at work, over-exercising, not eating enough or feeling extra stressed? 

Your period will let you know. 

This might show up in the form of a lighter, more watery and short period.

Once you understand the different types of periods, interpreting your fifth vital sign becomes a natural way of operating. Knowing what your period is trying to communicate with you allows you to course-correct each month. 

It also allows you to trial new foods, ways of living or managing your stress and receive real-time feedback on your body’s response.

Ladies, it’s time you started truly looking at your period blood and appreciating the vital information your body is trying to share with you.

What’s the best way to observe your period blood color?

Observing your period blood is easy and can be done no matter which type of blood collecting device you prefer. 

You might like to do this daily during your bleeding phase, or once or twice throughout your period.


If you exclusively use tampons, you may observe your blood after removing a tampon (before you place it in the bin).

 As tampons are designed to be super absorbent, it is more difficult to observe clots and the texture of your period this way. 

You will be able to observe the colour fairly well this way however.


Pads make observing your period blood easier as the blood is more spread out. 

Pads are also designed to be highly absorbent, so texture can be difficult to see here as well. 

When checking the colour of your period, remember that blood that has been exposed to air will turn more brown so it’s best to observe the colour soon after wearing a pad, or on wiping.

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual (or moon) cups are the easiest way to observe your blood in its full form. 

A menstrual cup sits inside the vaginal canal and collects blood. When it is ready to be removed, tip the contents into the toilet or down the sink. 

This is a great time to observe the colour as well as consistency - are there many clots? 

Does the blood pour well (a healthy period blood is slightly thicker than water). Is it sticky or free flowing?

What to do once you’ve observed your menstrual blood color:

Each day of your period, be sure to record your observations

This can be done in your favourite journal, a menstrual chart, or cycle tracking app.

Decoding Your Period Blood

Now that you know how to observe your menstrual blood, what is it trying to tell you? Let’s dive into the 5 period blood types.

Remember: it’s normal to switch between these month to month, or even on different days of your period. 

Many women start with dark brown spotting and transition to bright red on days 2 or 3. 

These period blood types are provided as a guide. Over time you will learn your body’s natural patterns and rhythms. 

Period Blood Type #1: Bright Red

This is what a normal, healthy period looks like. 

The blood is bright red because it is fresh, oxygenated and flowing at a normal speed. 

There should be minimal clots and minimal cramping.

Period Blood Type #2: Dark Brown/Spotting

Brown-coloured blood indicates the blood has been exposed to oxygen. 

This can be due to spotting before the true period starts, or as old blood after the period has ended.

Dark brown period blood is commonly seen when women experience spotting in the days before their period.

This is often because the endometrial lining has started to break away too early, and can be a sign of low progesterone.

Progesterone is the hormone created primarily in the second half of the menstrual cycle (after ovulation) and is responsible for keeping the lining in place until our period is due (or a pregnancy occurs). 

When progesterone levels dip too early, small parts of the lining can break away. 

This is observed as dark brown spots on your underwear.

Dark brown blood is also seen when the uterus has not efficiently removed all the blood by the end of the period. 

After a normal, bright red coloured period, you may notice dark, thick blood for a day or two after your period ends. 

This is a sign that all of the blood was not removed quickly enough, and the blood has been exposed to oxygen.

If you are noticing this type of blood after your period, focusing on pelvic stretches and gentle yoga during your bleed, acupuncture treatment or seeking out a Mayan Fertility Massage can help to move the blood more efficiently so that it can be cleared in the active bleeding days. 

Period Blood Type #3: Light Pink and Watery

Light colored period blood that appears watered down may indicate depletion.

 This may be in the form of nutritional deficiencies and under-eating (particularly healthy fats). 

It is also often caused by depletion in the form of overwhelm, chronic stress and burnout.

This type of period is often short (less than 4 days) and may be very light - requiring only a light tampon or pad.

Light pink periods are often observed in women with low estrogen - the hormone responsible for building a thick and healthy endometrial lining. 

When your body is depleted physically, emotionally or spiritually, it often dials down your estrogen production in order to prioritize your survival.

This picture is common in women who are struggling to conceive, as the body fails to prioritize reproduction in times of stress and malnourishment. 

This period type is be a sign that you need to step up your self care. 

Period Blood Type #4: Dark Purple

This often thick, syrupy and clotted dark purple or deep red coloured period is often accompanied by painful cramps.

Dark purple periods are commonly heavy, may last for several days and have an unpleasant premenstrual phase (sore breasts, mood swings, bloating).

This type of period is commonly caused by an excess of estrogen. 

Estrogen is responsible for building a thick, healthy endometrial lining which is shed at menstruation.

In a healthy cycle, our body produces significant amounts of estrogen in the first half of the cycle, followed by a sharp decline in estrogen after ovulation takes place.

In the second half of the cycle, progesterone rises and has a counterbalancing effect on estrogen. 

Progesterone acts to stop the lining growing too thick, and holding it in place.

When estrogen is higher, or we are suffering from lowered progesterone (to buffer the effects of estrogen), we experience heavy, painful and clotted periods along with classic PMS symptoms. 

The unopposed estrogen allows the endometrial lining to grow very thick, making it painful and difficult to shed at menstruation.

Period Blood Type #5: Missing Period

Period gone AWOL? There are several reasons this could be happening:

Post-Birth Control

If you have recently stopped taking hormonal birth control (such as the pill), it can take your body several months to resume its own natural hormone production cycle.

Every woman reacts differently - most see a natural return of their menstrual cycle within 3 months of stopping the pill, while others may take over a year to restore natural cycles.

If you recently stopped taking birth control, and are yet to see a period, focus on replenishing nutrients that were likely depleted by the pill: specifically zinc, B-vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. 

A good quality prenatal vitamin is an easy way to get the full spectrum of nutrients your body needs post-pill, along with a healthy diet full of leafy greens and healthy fats like olive oil, coconut, deep sea fish and avocado.

If your cycle hasn’t returned after 3 months of stopping hormonal birth control, visit your primary health care provider for a check up.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition of difficult or delayed ovulation commonly caused by excess androgens (male hormones). 

Excess androgens cause the egg within the follicle (which is normally released regularly at ovulation) to have difficulties in development. 

This can cause delayed or missed ovulation, resulting in long cycles.

If you suspect you have PCOS, visit your primary health care adviser for more information on testing and lifestyle treatments to promote regular, healthy ovulation. 

You can get a copy of my best selling PCOS book, PCOS Repair Protocol, on Amazon here if you want to go deeper on your root cause.

Stress And Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

Stress is a major cause of delayed or missing ovulation (and therefore missing periods). 

Our body is clever: it will always prioritise our survival over the creation of a baby.

 If our body deems our current lifestyle is too dangerous, it will temporarily shut down ovulation to remove the possibility of us falling pregnant.

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is a condition of chronic lack of ovulation that is not caused by PCOS. 

As frustrating as this diagnosis can be, it’s helpful to remember your body is trying to protect you.

If you relate to this period type, it’s time to explore why your body doesn’t feel safe: Are you over-burdened? 

Are you truly eating enough to support your body? 

Are you over-exercising? 

Have you recently made any significant changes to your diet or exercise routines?

Get really honest with yourself and consider areas of your life that need more nourishment. 

By focusing on these areas for a few months, it’s likely your period will return on its own. 

If not, see your primary health care provider for the next steps.


Of course, if you previously had a regular period and it has gone missing it is possible that you are pregnant. 

Take a home pregnancy test and visit your doctor for more advice. 

Not pregnant but still not period? Check out my ultimate guide to balancing your hormones for next steps.

So There You Have It, The Ultimate Guide To Reading And Decoding What Your Period Blood Is Trying To Tell You. Now It’s Your Turn!

Do you already observe your menstrual blood?

Which period type are you?

Have you noticed changes in the colour, flow and consistency when you made changes in your life?

Have you ever experienced periods that start, stop, then start again?

Let me know your experiences in the comments below - I’d love to connect with you. 

TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) - Period Blood Colour FAQs:

What Does The Color Of Your Period Tell You?

Your period blood color gives you an insight into the balance of your hormones and overall health. 

A healthy period appears bright red with minimal clots, whilst other colors and textures can indicate a hormonal imbalance.

What Does Brown Period Blood Mean?

Blood that has been exposed to oxygen appears brown. 

This type of period blood is normal at the end of your period when you have been bleeding for several days, or when blood is flowing very slowly. 

If your whole period appears brown, this may be a sign of low progesterone.

What Does It Mean When Your Period Blood Is Purple?

This often thick, syrupy and clotted dark purple or deep red coloured period is often accompanied by painful cramps.

 Dark purple periods are commonly heavy, may last for several days and have an unpleasant premenstrual phase (sore breasts, mood swings, bloating). 

This type of period is commonly caused by an excess of estrogen.

What Does Bright Red Colored Period Blood Mean?

Why Is My Period Blood Pink?

Why Is My Period Blood Pink?

Light pink periods are often observed in women with low estrogen - the hormone responsible for building a thick and healthy endometrial lining. 

When your body is depleted physically, emotionally or spiritually, it often dials down your estrogen production in order to prioritise your survival.

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About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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