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All about the menstrual blood

The color, texture and smell of our period blood can sometimes concern us. Globally, we are not really taught what is normal when it comes to our period blood. Usually, our worries are fully normal and are no cause for concern. In the following text, we will answer some of the most asked questions about bleeding - let’s get educated and literate together! 

Is period blood dirty, infectious, impure or toxic?

There is a common misconception that period blood is dirty, toxic, impure or simply dangerous. That is not the case. The menstrual blood is just the same as the venous blood that comes from every other part of the body, and it’s harmless as long as you don’t have any blood borne diseases. Remember that menstrual blood comes from an organ that must be hygienic enough to potentially sustain the development of a foetus.

What is menstrual blood made of?

Menstrual blood is made of blood, remains of an unfertilized egg, and the mucus membrane prepared by the uterus for a fertilized egg to attach to. 

What color should my menstrual blood have?

Menstrual blood can vary from bright red to dark red and brown. When the blood is more dark and brown, it means that the blood has been more oxidated than when it is bright red. Towards the end of every period, the color tends to be darker as it has spent more time in the uterus and been exposed to oxygen longer. Everyone experiences menstrual blood a bit differently, but if you are worried about your blood or experience a sudden change in the color or consistency you should seek medical care.

Why do we bleed every month?

The period blood is a monthly shedding of the bed that would normally nourish a developing embryo. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterus drops the bed and the egg: shedding every month, which is the menstrual blood. Your period is a normal and healthy part of the menstrual cycle. 

What are menstrual blood clots?

Menstrual blood clots are a normal characteristic of menstrual blood, they can look like clumps and chunks, and have a consistency like jelly, and the clots can differ in size and amount. Cloths are normally recurring in the menstrual blood and most people with menstrual cycle will experience it at some point in their lives. Clots are like gel-like blobs of coagulated blood, tissue and blood from the uterus. 

What are abnormal blood cloths?

Abnormal cloths are larger than a quarter in sizes and occur quite frequently. If your period seems heavier than usual, if you, for instance, soak through one pad or tampon every hour for several hours or if you are passing very large blood clots, you can check with a health professional.

What is normal concerning period volume?

Your menstrual blood will typically have a different flow amount that slowly, or quickly, escalates in volume. A normal amount of menstrual fluid loss per period is between 5 mL to 80 mL. It is difficult to figure out how much blood that leaves your body each cycle, a menstrual cup can help you estimate this. A soaked light tampon can keep up to 3 mL of fluid, while a fully soaked super tampon may contain up to 12 mL. If you are regularly soaking through a tampon or pad every two hours, it is estimated heavy bleeding.

I only bleed for two to three days, is that normal?

Yes, it can be. The period usually lasts between two to seven days.

I have very heavy periods - is that normal?

Heavy bleeding is a common concern. It is very difficult to decide what is “normal” when it comes to someone’s period. Every people are different and you cannot really compare your period with someone else. The medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding is “menorrhagia” and dictates both abnormally heavy periods and prolonged bleeding. Losing over 90 ml of menstrual blood per period is considered heavy bleeding.

How to diagnose and treat heavy bleeding?

If you dread your period because you have such heavy menstrual bleeding, talk to your doctor. Your doctor or a health professional can determine if there is an underlying problem causing your heavy periods. There are many effective treatments for menorrhagia. For instance, you can take a blood test to check if you have anaemia (a condition that can cause you to feel weak or tired and can be treated with iron supplements). Sometimes, doctors prescribe hormonal medications to regulate heavy bleeding.

Can birth control affect the heaviness of your period?

Yes, hormonal contraceptives can make your period and bleeding patterns different. 

Please leave a comment if there is anything you would like us to add to this Q/A.


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