If your flow looks different from month to month, your body could be trying to tell you something. Variations in the consistency, color, or smell of your period blood can all be signs of other issues.

Here are eight of the most common things you may see during your time of the month, and what they could mean for your health.

1.) Watery and Whitish

Period blood that has a watery consistency and a whitish color could be an indication that you have a form of anemia. This condition is easy to test for and usually fairly easy to treat.

2.) Shades of Dark Brown

Generally, dark brown discharge is nothing to worry about. This is the color of old blood and pieces of the uterus that your body needs to flush out. This is a normal part of the menstrual cycle.

3.) Dark Red Without Clots

Dark red discharge that’s a normal consistency is usually just a sign that your period is coming to an end. At this point, your estrogen will rise again and your body will begin to normalize until it’s time for your next period.

4.) Bright Red Period Blood

Bright red is the natural color of healthy period blood. If this is what you see, and it’s consistent from month to month, you’ve most likely got nothing to worry about.

5.) Dark Red with Large Clots

It’s not unusual to pass some blood clots, but if you see clots that are larger than a quarter, you may need to see a doctor. Dark red period blood that’s the consistency of jam is sometimes a sign of a hormone imbalance. In this case, it’s likely that your estrogen is high and your progesterone is low.

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6.) Red-Gray with a Foul Smell

A red or gray color accompanied by a foul smell likely means you have some sort of an infection. If this happens, you’ll probably need a prescription antibiotic, so go see your doctor as soon as possible.

7.) Orange Color with Foul Smell

Your period should never come with a foul smell. If your monthly discharge is orange in color, doesn’t have a slippery texture, and smells bad, it could be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Visit a doctor right away for a proper diagnosis.

8.) Light Pink with Low Blood Flow

If your flow is light pink in color and you aren’t experiencing much discharge, you may have low estrogen. Irregular periods and missed months can also point towards an estrogen deficiency.

Remain Aware

While periods are never fun, keeping an eye on them can help you notice problems right away and take the necessary steps to stay healthy. If you notice any drastic changes, it’s usually a good idea to seek medical attention. Your doctor can run a few simple tests and get you the treatment you need to get back on track.

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