What the smell and color of your menstrual blood tell you about your health


Das Wichtigste vorab

  • Menstrual blood can provide valuable information about health.
  • Changes in odor, such as strong metallic, musky, foul, fishy or sweet, as well as changes in the color of menstrual blood, such as very light red, dark red, brown or black blood, should be checked out by a doctor.
  • A good knowledge and observation of one's own body are important to detect potential health problems early.

Menstrual blood is an important indicator of menstrual health. Both the smell and color of the blood can provide valuable information about your health. In this blog post, we'll go into more detail about the importance of menstrual blood smell and color, and what they can tell you about your health.

What is menstruation?

When you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus that has formed during your cycle so that an egg can implant. If the egg is not fertilized and therefore does not implant, the body flushes the egg and the lining out of the body with blood. This blood can have different colors and be accompanied by several odors. You can find out which ones are healthy and what the others can mean in the blog post.

If you are unsure or if the smell or color of your menstrual blood has changed, see a:n gynecologist. This post is not a substitute for a medical diagnosis.

Menstrual blood odor

If your body is healthy, your menstrual blood will not have a strong odor. The blood and tissues will smell slightly metallic, which is due to the iron content. After your menstrual period ends, the odor will quickly disappear.


If menstrual blood smells strongly metallic, this indicates a heavy period. However, the smell may also mean that your body is slightly dehydrated, as dehydration would increase the smell of menstrual blood.


After a while, your menstrual blood reacts with bacteria and other substances, which can lead to a musky smell. This means that a musky smell may indicate that you should change your period product more often. However, it can also be a sign that bacteria are present in the genital area.


Anyone who notices a foul odor during your period should get it checked out by a doctor. This is because a foul odor can indicate an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection.


A fishy odor during your period can indicate a sexually transmitted infection or vaginal infection. Again, if you notice a fishy odor, you should make a gyno appointment.


A sweetish smell of period blood indicates that it is mixed with cervical mucus. This is not a cause for concern. You should get it clarified if the smell comes on suddenly, is particularly strong, or is accompanied by itching and burning.

Menstrual blood odors can provide important information about a woman's health. A slightly metallic or sweet odor is usually normal, but a musky, foul, or fishy odor may indicate an underlying problem and should be investigated by a health care professional.

Color of menstrual blood

When your body is healthy, your period blood is a vibrant red. Depending on the severity of your period, you may notice a slightly darker shade.

Light red or light pink:

Light red menstrual blood indicates low estrogen levels. This can have several causes. For example, bright red menstrual blood often occurs in people who take the pill or other hormonal contraceptives.

You may also notice bright red period blood if you are dieting or playing high-performance sports.

Other symptoms of estrogen deficiency include hair loss, dry skin, low libido, and vaginal dryness. If your period blood is light red to light pink and you experience these symptoms, you should seek medical attention.

Dark red or purple:

Dark red menstrual blood, on the other hand, indicates high estrogen levels. This is because when there is too much estrogen in your body, your uterus will build up a very thick layer of uterine lining, which leads to more clots and a darker appearance of menstrual blood.

Estrogen dominance is also often associated with heavier bleeding and cramping, more severe PMS, and mood swings. If you notice dark red to purple, clumpy period blood on you and you know the other symptoms about you, you should get it checked out by a doctor.

Brown or black:

A brownish or blackish coloration of period blood is caused by your bleeding being slower and the blood oxidizing. Towards the end of your period, it is common for darker blood to appear.

However, it can also indicate a progesterone deficiency, which can be associated with migraines, poor concentration, and severe mood swings. If you notice brownish to black period blood in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, you should get it checked out by a doctor.


The color of your menstrual blood may look orange if cervical mucus is mixed in with the blood. This is normal. However, if there are additional symptoms such as itching or an unpleasant odor, this indicates an infection, e.g. bacterial vaginosis. If in doubt, you should have orange period blood checked out by a doctor.


A gray coloration of your period blood indicates bacterial vaginosis in most cases. Other symptoms include itching, an unpleasant odor, and pain or burning during urination.

If you notice a gray coloration to your period blood, you should have it gynecologically examined.

Gray or green discharge:

Regardless of your period, cervical mucus will leak from your vagina during your cycle. This is normal and a sign of your fertile phase. Healthy cervical mucus is transparent, glassy, clear, like raw egg whites, whitish, creamy, sticky, slimy, stretchy, reddish, brownish, streaked with streaks, cloudy, like water, or even yellowish.

Cervical mucus counts as healthy discharge, but discharge that does not change during the menstrual cycle, smells unpleasant, or is a different color is abnormal discharge that should be investigated. If the discharge is foamy, grayish or greenish, it indicates an infection.

Observing the odor and color of menstrual blood can provide valuable information about health. A normal odor and a strong red color usually indicate a healthy menstrual period. Deviating odors such as strong metallic, musky, foul, fishy, or sweet should be cause to see a:n physician to clarify possible causes.

Likewise, changes in the color of menstrual blood, such as very bright red, dark red, brown or black blood, and yellow or greenish discharge, should be closely observed. See a:n doctor if you notice any changes or are unsure if the color of your period blood is healthy.

Early detection of abnormal odor or color changes in menstrual blood can help identify potential health problems such as infections, hormonal imbalances, or other underlying conditions. A doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and take appropriate steps to treat it.

Prevent with proper care

In addition, it is important to practice good menstrual hygiene to reduce the risk of infection. This includes changing tampons or pads regularly, washing hands thoroughly before and after changing, using hygienic products without fragrances, and cleaning the genital area regularly.

In conclusion, it is important for menstruating perople to know their body and cycle well. Observing the smell and color of menstrual blood can be a simple way to detect changes in the body early. Open communication about any concerns or symptoms that occur during menstruation is critical to receiving the best health care possible.

Medically Reviewed

Dieser Text wurde auf Basis von medizinischer Fachliteratur und aktuellen Studien von Medizinredakteur:innen erstellt. Unser Anspruch ist es, wissenschaftlich zu arbeiten, Quellen kenntlich zu machen und die Inhalte regelmäßig auf ihre Aktualität zu prüfen.

Referenzen & Literatur

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  2. Welt, C. (2021): Patient education: Absent or irregular periods (Beyond the Basics.)
  3. Mihm, M., Gangooly, S., & Muttukrishna, S. (2011). The normal menstrual cycle in women. Animal reproduction science, 124(3-4), 229-236.
  4. Spiegel, C. A. (1991). Bacterial vaginosis. Clinical microbiology reviews, 4(4), 485-502.