A Quick Guide to Menstrual blood

Every woman has a monthly menstrual cycle soon after they hit puberty. A normal cycle is usually between 21-35 days long. The menstrual cycle prepares the body every month for a potential pregnancy. Because of hormones, the uterus thickens and becomes vascularised (increased blood flow) in preparation for receiving a fertilised egg. If that does not happens, the uterus goes back to its initial state and releases the blood from its tissues, i.e. you have your period which lasts for 3 to 7 days.

Composition of menstrual blood:

It is composed of blood, old parts of uterine tissues, cells from the mucus lining of vagina and bacteria making the vaginal flora, vaginal secretions containing electrolytes such as potassium and sodium.

Content of menstrual blood:

The content of menstrual blood varies from person to person, from one cycle to another, which depends on a woman's age and thickness of uterus. All these contents are found in lower concentration than in ordinary blood, e.g., there is more water, less iron and less hemoglobin. The pH level of menstrual blood is similar to that of normal blood. 

The elements needed for coagulation are also absent in menstrual blood such prothrombin, thrombin and fibrinogen. Menstrual blood contains many elements, which keep the blood thin. The thickness of menstrual blood also depends on the quantity of cervical secretions. 

Characteristics of menstrual blood:

  • Thicker than ordinary blood

  • Bright red color

  • Blood clots in menstrual blood are normal

  • Average blood flow is 35 ml

  • Amount of iron lost during period in menstrual fluid is very less 

Abnormal things regarding menstrual cycle:

  • Large blood clots 

  • Flow more than 80ml

  • Anemic after bleeding heavily 

  • Bleeding after your period: it might be due to various reasons such as vaginal infections, hormonal imbalance or a polyp.

  • Absence of your period:  If a period is missed, the first thing which comes to mind, is pregnancy. However, a missed period could be due to several reasons like hormonal imbalance, over activation of thyroid hormone, contraceptive pills, amenorrhea, polycystic ovarian syndrome and other menstrual disorders.

  • Severe pain felt in the lower abdomen, however can indicate a more serious health problem that is endometriosis.

The color of your period may indicate the following:

  • Periods that resemble a frozen blueberry texture are usually an indicator of high estrogen levels in your blood;

  • Strawberry jam color or one with light pink in appearance usually indicate lower estrogen levels, which can lead to vaginal dryness, low libido, hair loss and even fatigue;

  • Cranberry juice color indicates a healthy period.

Frequency of your period: 

Menstrual flow usually occurs every 21-35 days and lasts for two to seven days, with menstrual cycles shortening and becoming more regular as you grow older. 

Mechanism of passing of menstrual blood:

When your endometrium fully matures, an egg is released from the ovary (ovulation). If this egg is fertilized, it is implanted into the uterus. On the other hand if fertilization does not occur endometrium sheds   in the form of blood. This menstrual blood usually contains cell debris that must be excreted from the body in the form of waste products.

This is some basic information about menstruation and menstrual blood which is only meant to be indicative. Please consult a doctor for more accurate and detailed information.

About the Author

WHL Staff

The WHL staff comprises a group of ladies out to give you exhaustive, practical health tips and resources.