Dark menstruation (too little or too much flow): what can it be?

Dark menstruation can cause many doubts. In the face of a brown or black bleed, it is common for the first reaction to be of astonishment and concern.

It is not always a sign that there is something wrong, but it is important to know what it may be and the possible causes.

We explain in the following article!

What is dark menstruation?

Dark menstruation occurs when the blood is brown or black (coffee grounds), far from the bright red that is usually the most common. It is a color variation of normal menstrual blood, which occurs in healthy women without being an indication of any specific disease or condition.

However, there are cases in which this more brown or black blood is caused by diseases, emotional, hormonal changes, medications, STDs, postpartum and pregnancy.

In addition to being darker, this can be a menstruation accompanied by other characteristics or aspects. For example, contain blood clots, be more gelatinous, dry, with less or more intense flow.

It’s normal?

Dark menstruation is often a normal condition and is not indicative of illness or pregnancy. Therefore, healthy women with no change in the cycle may eventually have a darker menstruation.

Sometimes, the darkening of the blood is due to the oxidation of the tissue. That is, his contact with oxygen. This causes a color change.

Usually, at the beginning or at the end of the cycle, there is even a change in the color of the blood. In these cases, when other symptoms are not present, the condition is considered normal.

However, it is necessary to be attentive to the frequency in which this type of alteration happens and if there are other indications that something may be wrong, such as pain in the genital region, itching, delay in the cycle, etc.

What are the causes of dark menstruation?

Black or brown menstruation, much darker than what is considered normal, is also a natural condition. It can occur for several reasons and is not always related to disease. But some of the causes are due to clotted blood in the uterus, medications, pregnancy, endometriosis , STDs, menopause and postpartum:

Clotted blood

Monthly, the woman’s body prepares for fertilization. When there is not, the internal walls of the uterus are flaking off. Thus, the blood that was on the surface of the endometrium comes out as menstruation.

This menstruation becomes darker when the blood accumulated in the uterus takes time to expel, caused many times by some hormonal variation.

It can also happen more frequently for women who have a very heavy menstrual flow.

However, when it happens, in addition to the change in the color of the blood, there may also be the presence of clots. These clots are often described as pieces of blood or endometrium.


Some sexually transmitted diseases can cause menstrual blood to break down, making it darker. However, when it is due to an STD, color is not the only symptom.

The smell that accompanies the bleeding is usually much stronger and unpleasant, there may be discharge, itching, pain and fever , depending on the infection or disease.

Endometriosis and inflammations

Dark menstruation can also be a symptom of disease, such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammation. But, as in people with sexually transmitted diseases, menstruation is not the only symptom in these cases.

It is likely that in these conditions women also experience severe cramps, pain during intercourse and difficulties in becoming pregnant.

Menopause and other hormonal variations

Some changes in a woman’s hormone levels may end up influencing the color of menstruation, making it darker.

In the period leading up to menopause (last menstruation), there is a natural drop in reproductive hormones in women. It usually happens in the age group between 40 and 50 years.

During this time, menstruation in addition to being dark may be low in volume.

Post childbirth

In the postpartum period (puerperium), the woman’s body takes time to recover and the uterus returns to normal size. It usually takes about 45 days.

During that time, bleeding can occur, but that is not exactly menstruation blood.

However, it is important that women who have just had a baby know that it is common and is usually darker bleeding.


When fertilization occurs, a small amount of bleeding can occur. This exhaust can have a more pink color, but it can also be a dark red or brown. This is nidation , a sign that the embryo has attached itself to the walls of the uterus.

This bleeding is one of the initial signs of pregnancy, but it can occur with other symptoms, such as nausea and tenderness in the breasts, as it happens in the first month of pregnancy .

When it comes to nesting, there is no need to worry, as it is normal bleeding. But in a more advanced pregnancy, any bleeding must be investigated.

Therefore, it is important to keep a medical follow-up from the discovery of pregnancy.

If there are also symptoms such as abdominal pain, dizziness, excessive weakness, it may be indicative of more serious conditions such as miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy .

Read more: When to take the pharmacy and blood pregnancy test?

Contraceptive and morning after pill

Contraceptives (including the morning-after pill ) are medications that interfere with the hormonal dosage of the woman’s body. Therefore, they can interfere with the color of menstrual blood.

Generally, when it is due to medication, it is a sign that the low levels of hormones present in the pills caused an escape outside the expected time, as before the end of the pack.

When the medication is changed, the pill is used, or if the woman is at the end or beginning of the cycle, brown bleeding is considered normal.

Emotional state

In addition to all the other factors that can interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle, emotional state is also one of them.

High levels of stress , anxiety and depression can interfere with menstruation due to the possibility of affecting the uterine structure, such as making the walls thinner.

Any change in the region can end up interfering with the flaking of the cells and the released blood. Thus, the blood oxidizes and becomes much darker.

Variations and characteristics of dark menstruation

Dark menstruation, when it happens, is not always the same for all women or throughout the menstrual cycle. According to what is causing this blood with varying color, it is possible to notice the presence of other characteristics or symptoms. Look:

Dark and with pieces (blood clots)

When menstruation happens in a very intense flow, the woman’s body produces anticoagulants that help this blood to flow down without “pieces”.

However, sometimes the volume of blood is very large and the body is unable to have this coagulant action efficiently. Therefore, during menstruation, blood with clots may come.

This blood is dark because it was accumulated in the uterine region, which causes this change in color.

It is a condition considered normal for those who have an intense menstrual flow, but if it is recurrent it is important to see a doctor to investigate what it may be.

In some cases, it can be complications such as hormonal changes or the presence of fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) in the uterus.

Brown and gelatinous

When menstruation, in addition to being dark, has a gelatinous aspect, it is just a blood that is also mixed with the cervical mucus concentrated in the vaginal region.

This mucus, which serves as protection for the vaginal canal, looks similar to a gel or a jelly. Therefore, menstruation blood, when mixed, can be more gelatinous.

Black (coffee grounds) or brown color

Menstruation, brown or black, compared to coffee grounds, is a consequence of clotted blood in the uterus. Because he has been “stopped” for a long time, he tends to have this variation in color.

This is because the blood does not always flow immediately when it detaches from the uterine mucosa. Thus, the longer in the region, the darker it gets.

Dark and dry

In some cases, menstruation in addition to being dark can also be dry, due to the small flow. Several factors can influence this smaller flow, such as age, contraceptives, stress, weight and excessive physical activity.

It can also be indicative of a pregnancy, with this dark and drier menstruation being a sign that the nesting has occurred.

Another possible factor, making it look like coffee grounds, is the low presence of mucus (unlike what occurs in more gelatinous menstruation).

Dark and quite (lots of flow)

In addition to having a period with stronger red blood, for reasons that can vary, dark menstruation can occur with intense flows.

Normally, women with this type of menstruation need to be more careful with changing pads, to avoid leaks and stains. Sometimes, the use of nighttime pads is necessary throughout the day as well.

In such cases, it is important to see a gynecologist, as excess blood loss can even cause anemia .

Prolonged dark (more than 5 days)

On average, menstruation lasts between 4 to 5 days. Over the years, with the natural aging of the organism or with the use of contraceptives, this period tends to become shorter or with a reduced flow.

Dark and prolonged menstruation may last for some women more days than the average, in some cases reaching more than 10.

When this occurs, it is important to consult with a gynecologist and investigate the cause. Some diseases, such as endometriosis and the presence of tumors, can cause this bleeding for so many days.

In addition to discomfort, such prolonged menstruation can trigger symptoms such as weakness and dizziness .

Dark menstruation and little can be pregnancy?

Dark menstruation and a small amount can be indicative of pregnancy, but other issues must be considered before raising the possibility of a pregnancy. In many cases, this escape is normal or may indicate the presence of another health problem.

However, it is important to know that when the fertilized egg is installed in the uterine wall, bleeding with these characteristics can occur, something called nidation.

Many women confuse nesting with menstruation, but the opposite is also true.

So, to make sure that this darker bleed and with little flow is a pregnancy, the woman should take a pregnancy test.

If it is negative and if there are other symptoms, it is still important to see a gynecologist to understand the cause of this period. In many cases it is a normal condition, but it is essential to investigate.

When to see a doctor?

For a preventive lifestyle, the ideal is to consult with a gynecologist at least once a year. With periodic visits, it is possible to prevent and diagnose problems related to the menstrual cycle and other conditions early.

In general, these changes in the appearance of menstrual blood are common.

In some cycles, it may have a different color. It can also change color according to the day of menstruation, and may be darker or lighter if it is at the beginning or beginning.

Therefore, the search for a doctor becomes indispensable even when in addition to the darker bleeding there are other symptoms, such as:

  • Delayed menstruation;
  • Go without menstruating for more than 3 months;
  • Pain in the genital region;
  • Discharges;
  • Itch;
  • Cramps;
  • Intense menstrual flow;
  • Dizziness.

Is it possible to prevent dark menstruation?

It is difficult to establish a prevention for dark menstruation, as there are several causes and many of them do not indicate that there is anything wrong with a woman’s health. However, with the cause diagnosed, if it is a pathological case, it is possible to treat and prevent it, according to medical guidelines.

Paying attention to the menstrual cycle is essential to understand if everything is fine with your body. We know that the menstrual period is not always accurate, it can delay some days and this can be normal, without being indicative of a pregnancy.

Coloration is also a factor that can vary widely, with dark menstruation being largely normal.

In some cases, it can be related to illness and pregnancy, so it is necessary to know how to recognize when it is necessary to seek medical help.

Thank you for following our article and keep checking out everything about pregnancy and women’s health here at Hickey solution!