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Wondering about the normal color of menstrual blood?
harleyquinn47 posted:
I read in Cosmo (yes I realize that is NOT a viable source of information on health) that menstrual blood should not be bright red. Since it always seems to be brighter then it really are you supposed to know? I mean, I know what the "old blood" looks like since it's a lot darker and more brownish....but on the middle days of the period, what color is good and which is bad? Is bright red a sign of "new bleeding" which is bad? And if so, should I be worried if that happens and talk to my doctor about it? I'm just curious. Thanks.
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear Harleyquinn: Many women's magazines do try to print reputable health information (albeit somewhat sensational at times). Having given many interviews to magazines I can say that the editors usually do fact checking and call back if there is information that cannot be verified.

My personal OPINION is that the color of menstrual flow is NOT an indicator of health. When the bleeding is brisk and heavy the blood flows quickly out of the uterus and vagina. When the bleeding is scant and slower it has a much longer time to be exposed to the oxygen in the air. This exposure will turn the blood color brownish. Think about a piece of meat which has been exposed to air for a while. The outside will be dark brown/gray. Yet when you cut into the meat, and expose an area which has not been in contact with the air, the color will be red.

It is very common for women using birth control pills (BCPs) to have a "period" which looks more like dark motor oil sludge than bright red menstrual bleeding. The synthetic progesterone in BCPs creates a thinner lining inside the uterus. This creates a decreased amount of flow. This more scant flow will appear as a dark brown color, and thick consistency.

Thus, color is more usually connected to volume than state of health.

harleyquinn47 replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
They also said I think it was that if there's like bright red blood, that it's new blood from like polyps or something. Is that true? I feel like sometimes I do have bright red bleeding and they've never found anything, but my mom used to have fibroids or something like that soo....

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