Note: when we talk about period blood color, we’re talking about the color of fresh period blood – what you’ll see in a menstrual cup or on a piece of toilet paper. Tampons and pads tend to dry out the blood and make it appear darker.
Healthy period blood is bright red, like strawberry jam or a fresh cut. If that’s not what your blood looks like – or if that’s only what it looks like some of the time – you’re not alone. Period blood comes in an array of colors and each color tells you something about what’s going on in your body.
Watery, light, pink, and scanty period blood is considered a “deficit period.” It tells you that your body isn’t getting what it needs to produce a strong and healthy uterine lining. Usually, it signals one of two things:
You’re not consuming the nutrients you need.
- Iron and protein are especially important for your reproductive health and blood production.
Your body is struggling to process those nutrients because of digestion or absorption issues.
- Food sensitivities, like gluten or dairy, can screw up the process of turning food into building blocks for the rest of your body.
Some people think that if they’re not interested in getting pregnant their uterine lining and blood color don’t matter. But our periods are barometers of our overall health. Bright red period blood doesn’t just tell us your uterine lining is strong enough to potentially have a baby, it tells us your digestive system, immune system, and endocrine (hormone) system are functioning as they should be. So, even if you have no interest in getting pregnant (not now, not ever), if you care about your own health and wellbeing, you want to work towards a healthy red period.
The good news is you CAN work towards one. We are not stuck with period blood or symptoms we’re used to having. Things won’t magically transform overnight, but you can change them by changing your diet and habits. Here are our main 3 recommendations for people with light “deficit” periods:
Opt for a more nutrient-rich diet.
- Steer away from processed foods and eat more nutrient-rich whole foods, especially ones rich in iron and protein (essential nutrients for creating blood).
Give your digestive system a tune-up.
- If you’re already eating whole, healthy and protein-rich foods but still have a pale, pink or watery period, it means your body is having a hard time processing the nutrients you’re eating. This can be a sign that your body is dealing with digestion or absorption issues. Sometimes food sensitivities, like gluten or dairy, can screw up the process of turning food into building blocks for the rest of your body. You need to avoid foods that cause you issues and give your digestive system a tune-up (eating congee can help with that!).
Get more rest.
- Regardless of whether you need a diet change or a digestion tune-up, if you have a light-colored period, your body is asking you to get some extra rest and focus on taking care of yourself.
If you have any questions about your cycle or how to improve it, let us know. Our co-founders (wo)man the chatbot on our website and they’d be more than happy to chat and help.