Why Is My Period Blood Brown?

Why is my period blood brown instead of red all the way through or just at the beginning of my period?. Brown blood during menstruation is normal. And a dark brown discharge on the first day of menses and at the end is common as well.

Women often ask questions if they notice changes in their menstruation blood.  Questions such as why is it smelly, sticky, watery, thick, clotty, clumpy, gooey or even black. 

What Does Brown Period Mean?

Brown period means that the discharged blood is old. A fresh blood has a bright red color. While an old blood has a dark brown to black color.

Is Brown blood Normal?

Yes brown blood is normal and common at the beginning of your period or at the end.

Brown bleeding at the beginning of period means the left over blood from previous cycle is let out first. The discharge is brown because it has stayed in the uterus for a while before getting expelled out.​

Dark brown period bleeding at the end of your menses is also normal and it means the blood is old because the uterus is expelling its blood at a slow rate. 

The longer blood stays in the uterus the more discoloured it gets.

Bright red blood is the best and indicates that you have a healthy period. It shows your endometrium lining is fresh and the blood is expelled at a normal rate.

Thick dark brown discharge indicates an old blood that was left in the uterus due to a slow menstrual flow, uterine incapacity or low uterine circulation.

What are the causes of Brown Menstruation

The color and consistency of your period changes through out your menstrual cycle. The color of your period is an indication of your health.

There are some times your period bleeding color and consistency  would change from one cycle to the other.

Period discharge could be any of the following pink, ​dark red grey, purple, thick, clumpy, thin, watery, light or heavy, smelly, gooey or clotty .

Brown discharge during period is caused by:

1. Old Blood from Previous cycle​

Most women will have brown discharge or blood  atleast once during their lifetime and this is perfectly normal.

A brownish or dark blood at the beginning is retained blood from your last cycle. This will leave the uterus first before the new lining of fresh bright red blood is shed. 

2. Slow Menstrual Flow

Brown to black blood at the end of period is normal and it means your period flow is slower than normal. This is usually seen on the last day of period.

Women with heavy period and a slow flow rate are more likely to have dark brown menses.

3. Birth Controls

Birth controls work by introducing artificial hormone into the body.

These can sometimes affect the normal levels of estrogen and progesterone hormone in the body.​

Some birth controls cause brown discharge while on period. Birth control implants such as Nexplanon (the bar) can cause this abnormal bleeding.

Hormonal birth controls such as Mirena IUD, pills, Plan B, Implants can cause spotting between periods for at least 3 months.

4. Perimenopause

Women approaching menopause also go through hormonal imbalances.

Hormonal fluctuations or imbalances can cause spotting before period or abnormal vaginal bleeding.​


PCOS is a condition that causes many cysts to grow on the ovaries. PCOS is caused by excessive androgens (testosterone) in women.

Women with PCOS often have brown blood or discharge with menstrual cramps.

Other symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Irregular period​
  • Acne or breakout
  • Facial hair
  • Infertility

When To See THE Doctor

​You should see a doctor if:

  • The blood is smelly as in an unusual or foul odor
  • ​Your discharge is itchy or causes vaginal irritation
  • You have severe abnormal cramps
  • You are spotting or bleeding during pregnancy, it could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Question

Dark Brown blood at the beginning of period...what does this mean

It means old blood from your previous cycle.  Due to uterine incapacity not all blood is expelled during a previous cycle. The brown color is because it has stayed long in the uterus.

Why is my period blood dark brown on the first day?

A dark blood on the first day of period means old blood from last cycle.

Dark brown period Am I Pregnant

Dark brown spotting before period is a sign of pregnancy if it is implantation bleeding.

Implantation bleeding occurs 6-12 days after conception when the fertilised egg digs through the uterine lining to attach itself to the uterine walls.​

Implantation spotting is a light pinkish or dark brown spots of blood that last for 1-2 days. And it is lighter than your normal period and never gets heavy.

If you have a heavy bleeding, it is unlikely to be implantation bleeding.​

Brown Blood at the start of period could i be pregnant

​Brown blood at the beginning of period doesn't mean you are pregnant. It could be your period starting.

Brown streaks or stains of blood that doesn't soak a pad or tampon for 1 or 2 days may mean you are pregnant.​

Why is my period blood black

Black discharge during period could be caused by blood clots, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, cervical polyps.

It could also be normal and the blackness just means the blood has stayed longer than normal in the uterus before getting out.​

Dark red period blood could i be pregnant

​Dark red period is normal and doesn't mean you are pregnant. It is rare to have a period while you are pregnant. Although it happens in some cases.

A light pink blood that last for hours or 1 or 2 days could mean you are pregnant.

The best way to confirm if pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.​

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