Why Is Your Period Blood Brown?

Hi Heather,

Every time I get my period I notice that some days the blood looks more brown than like blood. what’s wrong with me? Is that bad?

my period

I know you feel like this is a weird thing, but actually, I’m pretty sure this is something almost every woman can relate to. Sometimes, you glance at your tampon or your pad or your menstrual cup, and you notice that instead of being a bright red, your period blood is brown. Or, if not brown, a weird reddish-brown color that makes you wonder if your poop got mixed in there. I’m sorry! That was awful. But it’s true. So, is it strange to have brown period blood on a fairly regular basis? I asked a professional – my friend Dr. Sherry Ross – for advice. She’s from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period package you need in your life ASAP), and she knows basically everything about periods, and so I trust her.

Dr. Ross says this is a case of spotting. She explained: “Most women have regular monthly periods coming every 28 days and lasting three to four days. Along with that, you may experience irregular bleeding that looks like a few spots of reddish-brown blood lasting one to seven or more days. Some women can have spotting that lasts a couple of days, then stops and restarts again during the middle of the month. It can be confusing, frustrating, and hard to manage.”

So, does it only happen before, after, or during your period? Nope. Dr. Ross said, “Brown spotting can also happen mid-cycle or during ovulation. It’s normal in small does, but if brown spotting continues for more than three months, contacting your health care provider is recommended to make sure you do not have a hormonal imbalance or an ovarian cyst. Other things that can cause this include rigorous exercising, extreme weight changes, certain medications, significant stress, and traveling outside the United States.”

In case you’re wondering, brown period blood happens when the blood is older and hasn’t been released from your body fast enough. It’s essentially “old blood” that has faded with time, which is both weird and also makes sense (think about what blood does if you leave it on a cut instead of cleaning it up). This is why it often happens towards the end of your period, or when you’re spotting randomly. Like Dr. Ross said, it’s probably nothing to worry about, but if it happens very often and you’re concerned, there’s no harm in talking to your doctor.

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!


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