Q: My period isn't red. I actually think there's a green tint to it. I told my mom and she said it's normal for the first time, but is has been almost a year since I started. Should I see a doctor?

A: The color of the menstrual blood you see depends upon how old it is and how long it has been exposed to air (oxygen), because blood oxidizes when exposed to air. The color changes from bright red to dark red, then to reddish brown, brown and brownish green. You didn't say if you're using pads or tampons, but many young teens during the first year of their periods use pads. It is normal to see a greenish tint in the menstrual discharge on the pad; it just means that's older, drier blood. If your period is light and you change your pads less often, you are more likely to see this darker colored blood.

Some vaginal infections can cause greenish discharge but usually also have stinging, burning and odor. If you are having these symptoms or if you've had sex, then you would need to see your doctor.

It's always good to talk with your doctor when you have questions about your health. Puberty and the beginning of menstruation is an excellent time for a checkup with your health professional. If you haven't had your 11- or 12-year-old visit, do make an appointment. Your doctor will be happy to discuss any concerns about your period with you.

To have TeenGrowth's board of physicians answer your health question, visit the Web site (http://www.teengrowth.com) or e-mail feedback@teengrowth.com. TeenGrowth is a non-commercial Internet site that focuses exclusively on the educational health issues of adolescents.

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