6 Things The Color Of Your Period Blood Says About Your Health

 
By 5 June 2017
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Your period can tell you a lot about your health. In fact, last year the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a report recommending that it be viewed as a vital sign the same way your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature are. Why? Because in addition to telling you whether you’re pregnant or not, your period can provide key insights into your hormone health—and your hormones keep everything from your brain to your reproductive system running smoothly.

While what’s normal for one woman may not be normal for another, there are a few changes you should watch out for, particularly when it comes to the color of your flow. Below, find 6 things your period blood is trying to tell you about your health.

If it’s pinkish…

You may have low estrogen levels. Especially if it’s accompanied by a lighter-than-usual flow, or if you’re an avid runner, says New York-based functional medicine nurse practitioner Margaret Romero. Studies have found that excessive exercise can lower estrogen levels, which can subsequently mess with your period, sometimes causing it to disappear altogether. (It’s not uncommon for female professional athletes to stop ovulating.)

While this may not seem like a big deal (who hasn’t fantasized about never having to deal with a period at least once or twice?), low estrogen levels can increase your risk of osteoporosis if left untreated. So if you’ve recently started training for a marathon, have started working out for the first time in your life, or have upped the intensity of your workouts and you notice that your periods are suddenly lighter in color and flow or less frequent, talk to your doctor.

Romero says other potential culprits of a pinkish flow can include poor nutrition, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or perimenopause, which is when your ovaries start producing less estrogen in preparation for menopause (generally, it occurs around four to five years before menopause). 

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