The change in color of the period can shock you, but it does not concern you in most cases. There are many reasons your period can be black. For example, blood oxidization due to delayed discharge can also cause a color change. Color changes can occur during the same cycle, or variations can occur. It can vary even in a single period or change from month to month due to hormonal changes. These changes are closely linked to other factors such as the environment, diet, and health conditions. Therefore, color changes can indicate reproductive well-being as it responds to environmental changes. We have discussed eight reasons for a dark-colored period in the following article.
- Black-period blood can signify hormonal changes during PCOS, postpartum, menopause, and retained blood condition. It can also be leftover oxidized blood from previous or continuous periods, post-miscarriage bleeding, or severe health condition.
- Black blood can also indicate pregnancy in rare stances as it indicates implantation and fertilization. However, not every female experiences this.
- Therefore, it is better to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Why Is My Period Blood Black?
Black blood in period does look scary or out of the blue. However, in most cases, the reason is not concerning. Here is the list of all the possible causes behind black period blood:
PCOS or Hormonal Changes
If you are experiencing black period blood, PCOS can be the culprit. During premenopause or polycystic ovary syndrome, changes in color from light pink discharge to red to dark brown are common. These hormonal changes can be triggered by stress and depression. It affects the uterus structure and reduces its wall thickness. This delays the cell peeling process in which the uterine layer sheds, removing dead cells. The longer this process takes to complete, the darker the color of period blood becomes due to oxidation. Hormonal changes due to thyroid problems are another challenge women face. It causes a delay in their period and black discharge.
It is also called retained periods that cause black blood. It occurs due to the failure of blood to pass through the vaginal canal. The blood then stays in the vagina and accumulates, turning darker due to oxidization. There are various reasons behind hematocolpos blockages, including:
- Amenorrhea (lack of periods)
- Cervical atresia (surgical complications)
- Cervical agenesis (lack of cervix)
Oxidized Period at the Start or Last
You might have questions like “Why is my period blood black and thick?”. During the start or by the end, your blood can be delayed due to hormonal or bodily changes. Thus the longer it sits inside the body, the higher the chance it will react with oxygen and turn dark. Therefore, if you experience this change in color during the start or by the end, oxidation is the cause. So, you can sit back and relax while your vagina is cleaning it out.
Something Stuck Inside
Some object pieces from sex toys or tampons could be the reason that is causing black blood in your period. The color change can be due to infection caused by vaginal lining irritation by objects like condoms, contraceptives, and tampons. This can also trigger other symptoms like itching, discomfort, lousy odor, swelling, slow urination, or abdominal pain. It can be life-threatening in rare cases, so check with your doctor immediately if you suspect something like that.
Post Implant Bleeding
The black blood period can be disturbing, but it can be a sign that you have conceived. Dark brown-colored bleeding can sometimes happen in early pregnancy as a part of the implantation process. In this process, the egg takes time to embed itself in the uterus. Thus, old blood takes some time to leave the body, turning black.
You might experience black-colored blood after childbirth as a part of a process called Lochia. It is the normal process of removing leftover blood and clots. The color turns dark once the blood is oxidized and is almost black. However, in about four days, it returns to normal once the internal vaginal lining is cleaned of heavy black flow. Still, the light-colored bleeding continues until 6-8 weeks post-delivery, changing to beige yellow before stopping completely.
Post Miscarriage Bleeding
Post-miscarriage bleeding is often accompanied by blood with clots releasing thick black discharge instead of a regular period. Miscarriage bleeding can change in color and thickness and can continue in intervals for some time after the miscarriage. This can happen in the first five months of pregnancy. It can indicate that embryo development has stopped. So, contact your healthcare provider if you experience anything similar.
Serious Health Condition
In rare stances, it can indicate an underlying health condition, including cervical cancer or sexually transmitted infections (STI). In the case of cervical cancer, black-colored irregular bleeding can be released post-sex or during periods. Other symptoms, including fatigue, pain during sex, foul smell, pelvic pain, weight loss, and difficulty in urination, accompany it. However, these symptoms occur in the advanced stages of cervical cancer. During the early stages, discharge can be white or clear in color, which turns dark with time. In the case of STIs, black blood, itching, discharge, and foul smell, can be experienced.
When to Consult a Doctor
Black blood in a period can be a sign of an underlying health condition like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, etc. It can also indicate ectropic pregnancy if other symptoms, like pain, foul smell, itching, etc., accompany black blood. Therefore, it is advised to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.
Black-period blood can have a foul metallic smell. Post-oxidization blood smells metallic due to the presence of iron, which indicates oxidization and is nothing to worry about. But it goes away once the period has ended.
It can be a sign of pregnancy in rare cases as it can indicate that implantation has occurred. However, not everybody experiences post-implantation bleeding. It usually occurs 10-14 days after conception; thus, blood takes some time to leave the body post-conception. This delay causes the blood color to change from dark brown to black.
The metallic smell is also present in healthy period blood, with a slight odor of blood. It is due to the presence of bacteria and iron.
During heavy period days, blood flow with clots is normal. Most women experience this at some point in their lives, and it indicates older and oxidized blood. However, it can be a matter of concern, so getting a consultation from your doctor is a safe option.