Black period blood can happen for a variety of reasons. Many women will experience this at some point in their life, and in most cases, even black period blood is not always a cause for concern. In fact, if you are near the end of your period, it is likely normal because the changes in your blood color depend on the length of the period when your blood is exposed to oxygen.
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Your blood can change its color depending on its age. That is a reason why you can experience various colors of your menstrual blood during only one period.
Dark red (brown) thick menstrual blood is pretty standard in the very beginning or the end of your period. That only means that the blood is old. It is usually about the blood of the previous period that has been left behind in the uterus for some reason.
Bright red menstrual blood is the new blood which has no time to darken before exits your body.
Pink secretion or spotting is a small amount of blood present in your mucus which occurs out of your regular menstrual period.
Gray discharge is always a sign of miscarriage or infection.
When your menstrual blood is fresh, it stays red, but at the end of the period, black-looking period blood is pretty usual. The reason is that this blood is not evacuated from your uterus in time. It becomes deoxygenated, old and dry, which changes its color. The older the menstrual blood is, the darker it gets.
The color of your period blood can range from brown to black depending on the percent of new blood mixed with the menstrual blood of latest period. It seems that woman’s health condition directly affects the length of the period. All in all, some women almost always experience black blood at the end of the period. For the others, it is not typical. One thing is sure; both variants are pretty common and not worrisome.
The Most Common Reasons for Black Menstrual Blood
The beginning of the period
Dark brown or even black secretion is very common at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Sometimes you may see some dark mucus or blood clots from your vagina before your period starts. It is the process of the elimination of old blood remaining from the previous cycle. That activity represents preparation of your reproductive organs for the new period. After a day or two, your period should start to be ordinarily red. If it lasts more than two days, you should see your gynecologist who will check if you have some polyps.
Also, if you have intercourse during your cycle, it is very likely that you will experience black bleeding. The reason is that the vaginal contractions push blood back into the vagina where it stays trapped until the next period. The result is black blood at the beginning of your period.
The end of the period
During some of your menstrual cycles when the flow is slow, menstrual blood can lay dormant in your uterus and won’t be expelled fast enough. If small bits of blood remain there for a long time, it may appear dark brown or black.
Sometimes black menstrual blood means that there is something wrong because of infection, improper or lack of nutrition, change in menstrual cycle, birth control pills intake, disease, and so on.
Irregular menstrual cycle
You can experience dark or black blood if your menstrual cycle is irregular. The result is that old blood passes during your period because of changes of your menstrual flow. Many other things can cause the appearance of irregular periods including stress, changes in hormone levels, or changes in weight.
If you use hormonal birth control, you probably have a thinner uterine lining. That is a reason why there is a high possibility to have an irregular period and get a black discharge in the middle of your cycle. However, if your period becomes irregular, with abdominal pains between periods and abnormal heavy vaginal bleeding, make the appointment with your gynecologist.
When developed follicle split during ovulation and release a fertile egg, you can consequently notice slight dark or black bleeding from your vagina about a week after the end of your last period.
Usually, the menstrual blood is bright red and a jelly-like texture, and the occurrence of blood clots is entirely natural when you get a period. If you notice black blood clots between two periods, you should start to worry and visit your doctor to discuss a further internal issue.
Blood clots can also occur for up to six weeks after your labor along with heavy bleeding (lochia). Women who gave birth by cesarean sections may face this heavy bleeding within the first 24 hours.
If you don’t have any infection but notice black blood a few days before your period, you can be pretty sure that it is implantation bleeding and you are pregnant. Implantation bleeding typically begins before your next menstruation cycle, and it is considered a very reliable early symptom of pregnancy. Some women can confuse it with their menstruation.
Usually, if you are pregnant, you shouldn’t have any periods, but some women can get their period during the first month of pregnancy. However, while not a common occurrence, this menstruation will not last long and usually looks like more as a black spotting than a heavy flow. According to The American Pregnancy Association, more than 20% of pregnant women experience bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy. Unfortunately, half of them will lose their babies.
You can experience periods with dark brown or black menstrual blood during your menopause transition. In that time, ovulation is less regular, and your menstrual flow will start to be lighter and less frequent. Accordingly, some old blood will be kept in your uterus, and you will experience black release.
When You Should Start To Worry
If black blood is not recurring and frequent, you don’t have a reason to concern. You should start to worry if you notice a lot of black blood followed by other symptoms. There are some of the most pressing reasons for concern:
Uterine polyps – The uterine (endometrial) polyps grow on endometrium (the inner wall of the uterus). They are benign but prevent the blood from flowing from the uterus. That blood gets old, dries up, and changes its color becoming dark brown to black.
Hormonal imbalance – One of the serious causes of black discharge is a hormonal imbalance due to the severe medical conditions.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) is an infection of reproductive organs which can be a reason for the occurrence of the irregular menstrual cycle. Consequently, you can notice black period.
STD – Sexually transmitted diseases or various uterus infections can be a cause of your black period blood occurrence.
Cancer – It is not an overly common disease, but cervical and endometrial cancer can be a cause of dark period blood especially if you experience abnormal, heavy, and/or irregular bleeding.
What to Do if You Notice Dark and/or Black Period Blood
As I have already said, a black period is nothing more than old blood that stays in your uterus too long. Every old blood is dark or even black when eventually expels through the vagina at the end of your next period. Sometimes this black blood can be connected with the irregular menstrual cycle, but there is usually nothing to worry about.
However, you should try to pay attention to your menstrual flow and the whole menstrual cycle. If you notice any irregularity in your period, schedule an appointment and ask your doctor to do adequate tests if it is necessary.
When to Visit Your Doctor?
Although experiencing black period blood is not abnormal in most cases, you should go to your gynecologist if you notice unusual vaginal bleeding and if:
- The significant changes occur in your menstrual cycle.
- You have more than two menstrual cycles within 35 days.
- Your period lasts longer than a week.
- You lose a lot of blood due to heavy periods.
- You have vaginal bleeding when you are in the menopause.
Black blood is not a cause for concern or worry unless it is frequent and recurring. If you experience slight black bleeding, it is likely that it won’t occur again. If you are suspicious and believe that something is very wrong, listen to your intuition and go to see your gynecologist. He will do all tests you need and find out if you have any severe issue. Otherwise, don’t worry and relax. After all that old blood expels, your reproductive organs will stay clean and healthy.