Have you ever looked in the toilet after voiding to see the color of your urine? Or looked at your stool to see its shape and color? It might sound kind of gross or bizarre, but looking at what comes out of your body can be beneficial for you and your doctors, especially when trying to provide information for diagnosis. Consider menstrual blood. We talk a lot about how the menstrual cycle feels, but what about color? Or flow? How about clots? Let’s talk about some of the things you see during your menstrual cycle and discern what is normal vs abnormal.
Flow: A typical menstrual flow is about 4-6 days long. The first couple of days tend to have a heavier flow, and then it begins to taper from there. Ladies might need a more absorbent pad or tampon for the first few days and then can comfortably go down to a normal or light version for the remainder. However, if the flow remains heavy into the fourth or fifth days or you need to change your tampon every one or two hours, this might be a sign something is wrong.
Color: Menstruation is usually a lot brighter at the start when the flow is heavier. As the flow begins to slow down, the color changes to a more earthy brown color.
Clots: Menstrual clots are small clumps of coagulated proteins. Although possibly alarming, small, occasional clots are normal. Large clots (think the size of a coin), painful clots, or recurring clots might be a sign to your doctor something is wrong.
If you notice an irregularity in your menstrual flow, jot it down in a book and show your doctor during your next appointment.