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Spotted black period blood? These are the 5 culprits behind it

The colour of your period blood can be different. Read on to know the 5 most common causes of black period blood and what to do about it.
View All Images Black period blood
Period blood varies in colour. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 29 Mar 2024, 21:29 pm IST
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Many women jest that if their period comes, it is a problem, but if it does not, it is an even bigger issue. Indeed, an imbalance in the period cycle may cause a lot of worry and tension. While many women struggle with variations in the flow of menstrual blood, ranging from lighter to heavier, some have even reported experiencing black period blood. Before you panic, it’s essential to note that menstrual blood can vary in colour beyond the typical red hue. It may appear as dark red, brown, pink, grey, or even black. A lot of women worry when they see their period blood turning black. Read on to learn the causes of black period blood.

Why does period colour change?

“A woman’s period blood can change in colour and texture from month to month or even during a single period due to several factors such as hormonal changes, a poor diet, lifestyle, age, and environment. Apart from these causes, infections, pregnancy, and, in rare cases, cervical cancer, can influence the colour of menstrual blood and cause irregular bleeding,” says Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, an obstetrician and gynecologist.

period blood
A change in period blood may indicate an underlying condition. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5 causes of black period blood

1. Start and end of period flow

In many cases, the variation from red to black has something to do with the flow and time the blood has been in the uterus. Dr Siddhartha says, “At the start of menstruation, the blood may have been retained in the uterus for a longer duration, leading to oxidation and resulting in a darker colour. Similarly. towards the end of the period, the blood flow may be lighter but containing older blood that appears darker.”

Also read: Here’s what the colour of your period blood is saying about your health

2. Presence of foreign objects in the vagina

Black period blood points to the presence of something stuck inside the vagina. If you notice black blood, it can be due to foreign objects like a tampon, or contraceptive devices lodged in the vagina for an extended period. If left unaddressed, this can be problematic for the vagina and cause infection and toxic shock syndrome. “Apart from black period blood, you may experience symptoms such as odour or vaginal discharge,” says Dr Siddhartha. 

3. Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a serious condition characterised by the abnormal growth of cells in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus. Black blood, along with irregular bleeding after sex or even between periods, can indicate cervical cancer. Other tell-tale signs of advanced stages of cervical cancer include fatigue, weight loss, painful intercourse, longer or heavier periods, difficulty urinating, and pelvic pain.

causes of black period blood
Cervical cancer may change your menstrual flow. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Miscarriage

During a miscarriage, the expulsion of fetal tissue and the uterine lining may result in dark or black-coloured blood flow. The flow can alternate between light and heavy or even stop temporarily, before starting again. “It can occur within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Dark red spotting is often confused with black period blood, and can sometimes indicate an early miscarriage. So, be vigilant and seek help,” says Dr Siddhartha.

Also read: Black discharge during pregnancy: Does it mean a missed miscarriage?

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5. Sexually transmitted infections

Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can affect the reproductive organs and cause changes in menstrual flow. In some cases, STIs may lead to inflammation of the cervix or uterus, resulting in abnormal bleeding with a dark hue. Additionally, untreated STIs can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can further disrupt menstrual patterns and cause chronic pelvic pain.

When to see a doctor for black period blood?

If black period blood is accompanied by unusual vaginal discharge, a foul smell, and itching, consult a doctor immediately, says Dr Siddhartha.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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