What The Colour Of Your Period Tells You About Your Hormones

A question I have been asked a lot about recently from a lot of my abdominal massage clients, is “what colour should my period be?”.

I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore as there are literally thousands of possible shades of what colour your period could be, but let’s take a look at a few and the reasons why they may be that colour.

A quick note, unless stated otherwise, it is assumed that you are not on the pill as that will affect the withdrawal bleeds you get too (even though they aren’t periods). Please note that this is based on my 6 years of practice and interviewing people about their bleeds along with access to their hormonal profiles.

Bright or Light Red or Pink Periods

light period colours

This usually occurs with lighter periods or very scanty periods. It can be watery and in a range of shades including orange and lilac.  It is a sign that the endometrium isn’t building up enough.  This could be due to low oestrogen or too much congestion in the pelvis.

Causes:  Stress is always number one, over exercise, smoking, too much soy, vegetarian diet.

Fix: starting with the obvious, cutting back on stress, smoking and alcohol will help a lot.  Eat plenty of good fats such as avocado and coconut. And are you overdoing it on the exercise?  You need some body fat to produce hormones. Increasing your hormone levels and getting your menstrual cycle restarted are the key things here so I recommend reading this post on missing periods and this one on getting things moving after being on the pill.

Cause:  Pelvic congestion often caused by being static all day, poor posture and a lack of movement in the pelvis.

Fix:   I love Fertility Massage Therapy and reflexology (the therapeutic kind), for getting proper blood flow and nerve function into the area.  Consider exercises such as swimming, yoga and pilates or even going for a walk in nature to get the blood flowing again. 

If you are at a desk or sat down a lot, make sure you move at least once an hour.  Consider some self care practices such as womb steams and castor oil packs to break down adhesions and restore circulation.

Cranberry or Raspberry Red Coloured Periods

This colour when accompanied by a syrupy texture, is the ideal colour and what you want to aim for.  It should also last 3-5 days.  If you have no pain, PMS or other symptoms either, then your hormones and your pelvis are both in a great place. Go you!

healthy period

Dark Red, Dark Brown, Dark Green or Black Periods

This will usually be thick and gloopy or even sludgy in texture.

Cause:  If you get this throughout your bleed, then it is a sign of oestrogen dominance (where oestrogen isn’t balanced out by enough progesterone).  Associated with excess bloating, PMS, fibrocystic breasts, period pain and heavy periods, oestrogen dominance can be caused by stress, nutrient status, blood sugar imbalances, constipation, poor sleep, excess weight or not enough movement.

The most severe end of the spectrum where it looks almost black is usually caused by the body struggling to break down synthetic hormones such as the pill or HRT.  In some cases I have had clients tell me that their periods went very dark or even green when they have had chemotherapy and pneumonia too.

Fix: Look after yourself by managing stress, ensuring you get enough sleep, eat enough vegetables, particularly leafy greens (I have them nearly every meal), and plenty of water throughout the day.  If you think it is a medication or illness causing it, then it will hopefully start returning to normal after you have finished the course of medication (never stop medication without your prescriber’s say so). Also check out this post on oestrogen dominance.

Cause:  If you get this at the beginning or end of your period, or at both ends, but with a normally looking red bleed in the middle this is more likely to do with your womb position.  If your womb is bent over in any of the positions below, then the blood, instead of all coming out, some will pool in the upper part of the womb, and condense and impact.

This gets darker and usually has a brownish colour when it comes out and is thicker than a normal flow.

Fix:  Fertility Massage Therapy has amazing results for this as the ligaments are worked on to encourage a better womb position.  Castor oil packs and womb steams can also help break down any adhesions holding the womb in one of those positions which will help your womb to become more upright.

It is important to sit properly too.  You can read here how to do that in this piece I wrote for the Huffington post.  Get movement into your pelvis throughout the day, especially if you are in a sedentary job.

dark heavy period

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