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Period Blood Color, and Why You Can't Ignore Pink Discharge

Posted on February 13, 2023

Are you seeing pink discharge during your menstrual cycle? Vaginal discharge is completely normal. And the amount, texture and color of your discharge will change during different parts of the month—all of which is also normal. Still, if your discharge turns pink, it may be a cause for concern.

Clearing, understanding how period blood color can reveal a window into your personal health—and that’s why this entire blog is devoted to this topic. But we're not the only ones who know the importance of discussing discharge. In fact, the Period Harmony startup brought Uri, a uterus-shaped hand puppet to TikTok. Her mission? To teach women everything they need to know about uterine health, whether that means talking about discharge, period blood color, fibroids, endometriosis or other personal subject matter. Want to score a lesson from Uri? Check her out on TikTok. But stick with us for a more direct explanation of what changes in discharge color could mean for your overall well-being.

menstrual hygiene productsMid-Cycle Period Blood Color: Spotting or Something Else?

During your period, you typically discharge dark red blood. Its color is so deep because the blood is mixed with the endometrial tissue you’re shedding. But outside of your period, you may still notice colored discharge. When that happens, it can be hard to know if you’re starting a period early, or if it’s a warning of trouble brewing.
Here's a few tips to help you find out what’s going on.

Typically, dark red discharge is your period blood. If you’re just spotting, you’re more likely to have pink discharge that’s much lighter than your flow during your period. Also, spotting comes and goes, rather than flowing regularly for several days.

Pink Discharge: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

The spotting of pink discharge is perfectly normal at the beginning and just after your monthly period. You’re also likely to notice some spotting during your egg release, or just before or after ovulation—all of these can be attributed to changes in estrogen levels. Typically, you'll also have some spotting when you release an egg, because your estrogen levels drop at that moment. And spotting after ovulation could be an early sign of pregnancy—that’s why it’s also referred to as implant bleeding.)

Vaginal Pink Discharge: When to Worry

Outside of typical spotting times, noticing pink vaginal discharge could be a sign of an underlying health condition. And that’s because the pink tint is a sign your discharge contains traces of blood. As such, it’s worth mentioning pink discharge to your doctor. This could be a symptom of:

1. Uterine Fibroids. Vaginal pink discharge could mean that you’re bleeding when not on your period, something that fibroids can often cause. Regularly noticing pink discharge outside of your menstrual cycle? Ask your OBGYN for a fibroid screening to avoid delayed diagnosis.

2. Polyps in the Uterus. Polyps are another type of non-cancerous growth that can form near your uterus. Yet before they extend into your uterus, polyps first form in the endometrial tissue. So, if you notice pink discharge right after intercourse, polpys could be to blame, since sex can disturb them, leading to the mingling of blood with your discharge.

3. Ovarian cysts. Unlike fibroids, fluid-filled cysts develop on your ovaries. Sometimes, they’re an asymptomatic problem—and can even resolve without treatment. But at other times, those cysts grow large and lead to bleeding outside of your period—along with pink vaginal discharge.

4. An infection. When your vagina is infected, you may give off pink discharge. That’s true whether you’ve contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or an infection such as vaginitis.

5. Any kind of pregnancy. As a fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus, you may notice the pink discharge of implant bleeding, as mentioned earlier. Yet even if your egg implants in the fallopian tubes (ectopic pregnancy) you are likely to notice pink discharge. But, in this case, other symptoms are also likely, including dizziness, pain, weakness or fainting.

6. Cancer of the cervix. If you have pink discharge that also smells fishy or appears watery in nature, that could be a symptom of cervical cancer. Other warning signs include leg swelling (edema); a bloated abdomen; pain with urination; and fatigue.

Clearly, pink discharge is a symptom of many different conditions—some benign, others more serious. For that reason, you should always discuss changes in your vaginal health—and your discharge—as soon as you detect a difference.

Pink Period Blood Color: Is That Normal?

Even during your menstrual flow, the blood appearance can shift from dark red and thick to light pink and thin. Typically, that’s just a sign that your period is coming to an end. (Or this kind of pink discharge could come at the beginning of your cycle.)

Still, in some cases, changing period blood color could indicate low levels of estrogen or even anemia. (Something that’s often a concern for women with untreated fibroids.) For that reason, we always suggest discussing any changes in your cycle with your gynecologist, even if they seem normal.

Now, no one expects you to sit around each day analyzing the color and consistency of your discharge. Instead, we suggest getting an understanding of what’s normal for your body. Once you’ve established a healthy baseline, it will be easier to detect out-of-the-ordinary changes, and discuss them with your gynecologist. Then, if fibroids turn out to be the cause of your pink discharge, schedule an immediate appointment with your Dallas fibroid specialists for fast and lasting relief!

Sources:Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology

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