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The colour of your period blood can be a good indicator of your health. Before you panic, it’s normal for period blood to be a colour that isn’t red. For example, it can be dark red or brown, pink, grey, and black. A lot of women worry when they see their period blood turning black.
“A woman’s period blood can change in colour and texture from month to month or even during a single period due to hormonal changes, as well as a person’s diet, lifestyle, age, and environment. However, infections, pregnancy, and, in rare cases, cervical cancer, can cause unusual blood colour or irregular bleeding as well,” shared Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, consultant obstetrician, and gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, Mumbai, with HealthShots.
According to Dr Siddhartha, there are numerous reasons behind thIS dark, black colour of period blood.
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, “When you spot black period blood, it generally suggests that your periods have just begun or ended. It will take a longer time to leave the body and turn black.”
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. “This can be problematic for the vagina and cause infection. Apart from black period blood, you may see symptoms like odour or vaginal discharge,” says Dr Siddhartha.
Yes, 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 urination, and pelvic pain.
Bleeding during miscarriage can appear brown to black in colour. It 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.
Black period blood can also be linked with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
If black period blood is accompanied by unusual vaginal discharge, foul smell and itching, consult a doctor immediately, says Dr Siddhartha.