What is Menstrual Fluid and what does it Look Like?

What is menstrual fluid?june14tom3

Only about half of menstrual fluid is blood (the rest is cervical mucus, vaginal secretions and endometrial tissue). The blood contains sodium, calcium, phosphate, iron, and chloride. The vaginal fluids contain water, common electrolytes, organ moieties, and at least 14 proteins, including glycoproteins.

Is menstrual fluid safe?

Unless the person in question has a bloodborne illness (eg. HIV, HPV, Hepitis), menstrual fluid is harmless. No toxins are released in menstrual flow, as this is a lining that must be pure and clean enough to have nurtured a baby. Menstrual fluid is no more dangerous than regular blood.

What does menstrual fluid look like?

According to Wikipedia, “Menstrual fluid is reddish-brown, a slightly darker color than venous blood.” I think that this description is too narrow. Menstrual fluid varies enormously in colour and texture. The colour of menstrual fluid can be a bright red (the same colour as venous blood); or a darker red; or a reddish-brown (particularly at the start or end of a person’s period). Parts of it are even translucent, or slightly pink/orange. The texture/consistency of menstrual fluid varies greatly as well – sometimes it is thick and stringy/gloppy, at other times it is thin and watery. Menstrual fluid also often contains blood clots. These appear as dark clumps of blood that may look like tissue. As menstrual fluid dries it turns brown and can develop a shiny gloss to its surface.

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3 Responses to What is Menstrual Fluid and what does it Look Like?

  1. sunnysmile says:

    Reblogged this on Gratitude every day and commented:
    Today I am grateful for this “The Period Blog” and to all people – women and men who work for acceptance of menstruation in people’s lives, for menstruation to become a valued and sacred part of women’s lives.

  2. Jay says:

    Is menstrual fluid safe…depends on what you plan on doing with it and how you treat it.

    Drinking (yes, I said drinking) is potentially harmful both due to blood born diseases like HIV and iron in blood is toxic when ingested. It is often used to fertilise plants but on some straight menstrual flow will kill plants, also as a side note it attracts animals.

    • atozinco says:

      That’s an interesting point, I didn’t know that iron was potentially toxic. According to Wikipedia the therapeutic dose for iron deficiency anemia is 3–6 mg/kg/day (ie. 150mg – 300mg iron for a 50kg person). Toxic effects begin to occur at doses above 10–20 mg/kg of elemental iron (ie. 500-1000 mg iron for a 50kg person). Comparatively, it seems that blood has on average only 500mg of iron per liter. Menstrual fluid is only 50% blood, and on an average cycle about 35mls of menstrual fluid is expelled. Therefore the average amount of iron in the menstrual fluid of an average woman’s cycle is 8.75mg. Therefore it seems very unlikely that drinking menstrual blood could result in iron toxicity. NB. The average human contains a total of about 3000mg iron, and about 5 litres of blood.

      Regarding your comment that menstrual blood “attracts animals”, that’s something I’ve been wondering about a bit. My dog seems to like the smell of menstrual blood (she sometimes carries my menstrual pads around the house & tears them into pieces if I don’t hide them well enough! I now wrap my pads/panty-liners in a plastic bag before putting them in the bin so that my dog doesn’t smell them). I’m not sure whether blood is a good fertiliser – I’ve heard that it may be good for certain types of plants, and not so good for others.

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