Menstrual blood comes in a range of different colours but an expert claims, if you know what you’re looking for, the shade of red can actually give you an insight into your health.
Mariah Rose, a Menstrual Health Coach living in Vermont, uses four fruits to describe the difference in the colours of healthy period blood – cherries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries – and said that you should also note the consistency.
She claims that knowing the difference between a healthy colour or not can help women identify the signs they could be producing either too much or too little oestrogen – a key reproductive hormone.
The period coach said that dark red blood, that looks like cherries, could be a sign of excess oestrogen, while light pink blood, like raspberries, could be a sign you don’t have enough oestrogen.
The colour of menstrual blood varies throughout the cycle, transitioning from a brighter red to a dark shade of brown towards the end.
Brown blood is older blood that’s been in the uterus for longer, while red blood is fresher and hasn’t had a chance to oxidise, a chemical reaction which causes the change in colour.
Therefore you need to keep a close eye on the colour of the blood at the start of your cycle to get the best gauge of what it says about your wellbeing.
Mariah (pictured) said she was drawn to her work after years of suffering from severe PMS
She also advised women to observe the consistency of the blood saying that a healthy period flow should be similar to ‘maple syrup’.
If your period blood is clumpy, it could also be noted as a sign of excess oestrogen, whereas watery blood is a sign you could be low in oestrogen.
Clotting is natural and occurs as the uterus sheds its lining, but you should seek advice from your doctor if they are bigger than a 10 pence piece.
Mariah pointed out that if you use tampons, you may not be familiar with the consistency of your period blood.
In this case, she advised using a menstrual cup or even free bleeding – where you don’t use sanitary protection – for a day or two.
In an Instagram post, Mariah wrote: ‘Healthy menstrual blood comes in a wide range of reds.
Mariah Rose, a Menstrual Health Coach living in Vermont, uses fruit to describe the difference in the colours of healthy menstrual blood from dark cherry red to pinkish raspberry
‘I like to use the example of fruit. Dark red cherries, pinkish raspberries, true red cranberries, and fire engine red strawberries all represent a healthy period. ⠀
‘Consistency wise, it should be kinda like maple syrup, and it should flow easily. ⠀
‘If your blood is brown, light pink, or very clumpy and clotty, it is a sign that your menstrual health could use some support (especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms).
‘Dark, clumpy blood is a sign of excess estrogen, while light pink, watery blood is a sign you don’t have enough estrogen.’
For women who wish to look out for these signs in their monthly cycle, she recommended using a menstrual cup rather than tampons or sanitary pads.
Mariah, who is certified in holistic hormone health and menstrual cycle coaching, said that she was drawn to her work after years of suffering from severe PMS and painful menstrual cramps.
She said that she had been taught that her symptoms were a ‘normal part of womanhood’ but later realised it was due to an imbalance of hormones and set about making changes in her life to support her ‘cyclical nature’.
Mariah urged women not to accept period pain ‘as normal’ and said they can instead learn how to listen and respond to their bodies, using their cycles as a tool to asses their overall health.
What is oestrogen and how do raised and low levels affect your body?
Oestrogen is responsible for sexual development when girls reach pubery and controls the growth of the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle and at the start of pregnancy. Additionally, it’s involved in bone, glucose and cholesterol metabolism and regulates weight and insulin sensitivity.
Levels naturall start to decline when women reach the menopause. Low oestrogen leves can also be caused by excessive exercise or an eating disorder, a low-functioning pituitary gland or kidney disease.
Risk factors of low oesterogen include loss of bone mass, cardiovascular disease and other hormone imbalances.
Symptoms of low oestrogen levels include:
- Irregular periods
- Painful sex due to lack of vaginal lubrication
- Urinary tract infections
- Hot flushes
- Tender breasts
- Depression, fatigue and lack of concentration
Raised oestrogen levels can be caused by taking certain medications, such as HRT to treat the menopause. An imbalance can upset levels of other hormones such as testosterone or progesterone.
Symptoms of raised oestrogen levels include:
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Mood swings
- Hair loss
- Weight gain