Black periods: should you be concerned? Causes and solutions

Have you noticed changes in the color of your blood loss during your period? Are you wondering about this unusual black discharge? Although they can be impressive, black periods are not uncommon. We explain what causes them.

Why can menstrual blood be black?

If the blood of the body is originally red, it can happen that the color of the period changes. When it turns black, it may be dried or oxidized blood. This happens when it has stagnated in the body, in the vagina, and has come into contact with air. It is the air that oxidizes the blood. This can happen when the flow is light, such as at the beginning or end of your period. If you don't notice any other symptoms, there's no need to worry.

What causes dark period blood?

All women can experience black periods in their lifetime. The causes vary widely.

Hormonal contraception

Sometimes black discharge is caused by hormonal contraception. This color variation can occur when the contraception is changed or if it is not adapted. Slight oxidative bleeding occurs outside of the period.

The first or last day of the period

At these times, the flow is usually light. The blood therefore takes longer to drain from the vagina. It then takes on a darker color when it is in the presence of air. Like a cut, the fresh blood is red, but will be brown when it has dried on a bandage, for example.

During the ovulation period

During ovulation, the level of hormones in the body fluctuates. This can cause small amounts of bleeding called spotting. Since they are not very abundant, they can also oxidize and become darker.

Medical causes: inflammation or stress

In some cases, the color of menstruation can be altered by stress or inflammation. A medical consultation may be useful to relieve these problems.

Brown or black discharge: is it the same thing?

When the flow is less abundant, the degree of oxidation can vary. Brown or black periods are then due to the same phenomenon, but at a different level. There is no need to worry.

Periodic protection to choose in case of black periods

The menstrual panties are perfectly indicated in case of black periods. They let the blood flow naturally, so the blood does not stagnate. You can choose a light level of protection in case of weak flow. The panties offer you an optimal comfort. Period panties are also ecological since they are reusable, but also economical.

Avoid using tampons

As mentioned above, black periods are often a sign of light discharge. It is therefore not advisable to use a tampon, as it is more suitable for heavy flow. If there is not enough blood, it may be difficult or even painful to remove the tampon.

Do I need to see a doctor if I have black blood?

While in most cases black periods are not a cause for concern, it may be helpful to seek medical attention if they are accompanied by other symptoms, such as those listed below.

Black periods and stomach aches

Moderate pain is normal during your period, but if it becomes too intense and is associated with black discharge, you should seek medical attention. This may be a sign of endometriosis or inflammation.

Black smelly periods

During menstruation, the odor of the intimate flora can vary, but the discharge is not supposed to smell bad. This can mean a vaginal infection such as a fungus, an STD, vaginosis...

Heavy black periods

When the menstrual cycle is disturbed, the flow can be less abundant or on the contrary stronger. This can happen because of a new hormonal contraception, or at the time of the menopause. The discharge is no longer regular and can therefore fluctuate between light and heavy flow.

Dark periods during pregnancy

At the beginning of pregnancy, it is not uncommon to experience some small bleeding. They are light, and therefore tend to turn black as they oxidize. This is what is known as "anniversary bleeding". They are not serious, but can surprise the mother-to-be. In any case, bleeding during pregnancy must be monitored. It is best to inform your doctor. Sometimes these black periods during pregnancy can be a sign of a miscarriage, often before the pregnancy is even known.

What are the treatments for this?

As previously mentioned, if your black period is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain or foul-smelling discharge, you should consult a doctor. The latter will direct you to the appropriate treatment according to your situation. To have the most complete picture possible, he will begin by prescribing :

  • A secretion sample;
  • A smear test;
  • Or an ultrasound.

This will allow him to make the most accurate diagnosis. Sometimes, a simple adjustment of the hormonal contraception will be enough to avoid spotting, thus black bleeding. In case of infections, an oral or topical antibiotic treatment will be prescribed. Whatever the reason for black periods, careful intimate hygiene with suitable products will be useful to limit them as much as possible.

Black periods are quite surprising, but they are not indicative of a problem. If you do not observe any other symptoms, there is no reason to worry.

Black Period FAQs

Why is my period blood black?

This is due to oxidation of the blood. When the discharge is not very heavy, the blood tends to stagnate in the vagina before flowing out. It is then in contact with air and changes color to become darker.

Is it normal to have a dark period?

Yes, it's completely normal. It can happen to any woman. In particular at the beginning or end of the period, when the flow is less abundant. But also in case of spottings, small bleedings outside the period due to a new or not totally adapted hormonal contraception. Black periods can also occur at the time of the menopause, because the flow is very changeable, or at the beginning of pregnancy.

Are black periods an anniversary period?

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Les informations issues des articles présents sur le site sont des informations générales. Bien qu’elles aient été relues par des professionnels de santé, ces informations ne sont pas exemptes d’erreurs, ne constituent pas des conseils de santé ou des consultations et n’ont pas vocation à fournir un diagnostic ou proposer un traitement. Ces informations ne peuvent, en aucun cas, se substituer à un avis médical et ne peuvent pas remplacer une consultation auprès d’un professionnel de santé. Pour toute question, nous vous invitons à consulter votre médecin.