When Heavy Periods With Blood Clots Are Not Normal
The standard period clot’s size should usually be less than a quarter, bright or deep red, and should typically last for initial 2-3 days of periods when bleeding is heavy.
One should only be concerned if anything is different from the description mentioned above. Following are some symptoms that indicate abnormality:
- Period blood clots larger than a quarter.
- Golf ball-sized blood clots during period.
- Erratic or infrequent periods. The average cycle is of 22 – 28 days.
- A blood flow requires you to change sanitary napkins every 2-3 hours.
- Unbearable pain during periods.
If ignored, large pieces of tissue during menstruation than standard size and increased blood loss can also cause amnesia and result in:
- Fatigue and weaknesses
- Difficulty in breathing
You should consult a doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms that indicate an abnormality, different from normal blood clots during periods.
Are Blood Clots Normal During Your Period
Most of the time, blood clots are simply just a part of menstruation. A usual cycle is anywhere between 21 and 45 days and can change potentially on a monthly basis, explains Carrie Coleman, M.D., a clinical instructor in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. A usual flow may last anywhere from three to five to up to seven days and it may start off light, get heavy, and slowly resolve.
Small blood clotssay, dime- or nickel-sized on your heaviest flow daysmay appear during menstruation and thats not uncommon, especially if you feel fine otherwise and youre not experiencing any other unusual symptoms during your period. Its also typical for the color of these clots to vary from light to dark shades of red.
What Causes Blood Clots During Period With Pain
If you have prolonged periods and pain, then it may be due to an infection, endometriosis, adenomyosis or a sign of dysmenorrhea. Both adenomyosis and endometriosis can cause period blood clots with pain. However, this can be relieved with analgesics like ibuprofen or naproxen. If you have an infection, then antibiotics and pain relief drugs will help.
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How Menstrual Clots Form
Your menstrual period starts when hormones trigger your body to shed the lining of the uterus . As the lining sheds, small blood vessels bleed.
To prevent too much blood from being lost, your body forms blood clots using a combination of plasma and platelets .
Mixed into the menstrual blood are also bits of tissue from the uterine lining. Thus, what appears to be a blood clot may actually be a clump of endometrial cells. Or, it can be a mixture of both endometrial cells and blood clots.
Dark red or blackish clots may appear during the first few days of your period when the flow is heaviest. Your period may start or end with bright red blood clots, too. This means the blood is flowing quickly and doesnât have time to darken.
When your menstrual flow is heavier, blood clots tend to be bigger because thereâs a larger amount of blood sitting in the uterus.
In order to pass larger blood clots, the cervix has to dilate a bit, causing pain that can be quite intense. This partially explains why, if you have a heavy flow, youâre more likely to have cramping.
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The Restricting Effects Of Fibroids
Fibroids are generally believed to prevent the uterus from contracting the way it needs to. Menstrual bleeding, therefore, is in a sense left unchecked. This explains why flow is so much heavier in women who have these growths.
Additionally, fibroids can produce proteins that activate blood vessels within the uterus. Those vessels, in turn, bleed more freely into the uterine cavity. Remember that this is the source of blood clots during the period, forming when the body cannot produce enough anticoagulants to keep pace with flow. The number of clots you pass during menstruation, therefore, becomes more numerous.
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What Foods Stop Heavy Periods
Try eating iron-rich foods like meat, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables. Eating foods with lots of vitamin C like oranges, bell peppers and broccoli can help your body absorb the extra iron in your diet. Also, do your best to avoid foods with processed sugar, trans-fats and starchy carbs.
How To Prevent Blood Clots During Your Period
Hormonal birth control can help keep your period in check, says Dr. Coleman, but if youd rather not use hormonal contraception or are trying to conceive, taking ibuprofen up to three times a day on your heaviest days can reduce your flow and ease cramping.
A healthy diet and lifestyle can actually help balance out hormones and excessive bleeding that is related to hormonal changes, says Dr. Gupta. However, if bleeding is due to actual anatomical problems such as fibroids, then those will need to be addressed.
Your best bet? See your OB/GYN if you think the blood clots during your period may be pointing to something more serious. He or she can help provide an individualized treatment plan for you.
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What Does A Period Blood Clot Feel Like
Blood clots during your period look like blobs of red or maroon gel and normally manifest during the very beginning or very end of your menstrual cycle.
Passing very small, e.g. tip of your finger, blood clots during your period is normal and many women do not ever feel them exiting their bodies. Other women will feel a clot come out after standing up from a chair, getting out of bed, or using the bathroom.
Passing period clots is usually uneventful, however, large blood clots can not pass out of the uterus without the cervix dilating which can cause strong cramping and pain.
When To Seek Medical Attention
While blood clots during periods are often normal, there are certain circumstances when itâs important to seek medical attention. These include:
Signs of heavy bleeding: If you are soaking through pads or tampons every hour or experiencing other signs of heavy bleeding, itâs important to seek medical attention.
Other symptoms: If you are experiencing other symptoms such as dizziness or shortness of breath in addition to blood clots during your period, itâs important to seek medical attention.
Risk factors: If you are at higher risk for bleeding and blood clots due to factors such as age or family history, itâs important to seek medical attention.
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Hormonal Contraceptives And Other Medications
Hormonal contraceptives can inhibit the growth of the uterine lining. A progestin-releasing intrauterine device may reduce menstrual blood flow by .
Hormonal contraceptives also can be beneficial in slowing the growth of fibroids and other uterine adhesions.
For women who cant or dont want to use hormones, a common option is the medication tranexamic acid , which affects blood clotting.
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Iron Deficiency And Anaemia
If you have heavy periods each month, one of the key things to watch out for is iron deficiency. One of the most common causes of iron deficiency is prolonged or heavy periods. This can leave you feeling tired and lacking energy. In some cases, this can even lead to anaemia.
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When To See A Doctor
Period blood clots are a normal part of your menstrual cycle. But when you notice any changes to the size and amount, it could point to an underlying condition. When speaking to your doctor, be prepared with the following information:
- How long your period usually lasts.
- How heavy your usual flow is.
- If youve been bleeding between periods.
- If youve noticed changes over time.
- If youve been experiencing pain.
- If theres a chance you might be pregnant.
- A list of medications you are currently on.
- A list of other medical conditions.
Expect your doctor to do a pelvic exam. They may also want to do a blood test, a pap test or an ultrasound during your visit.
After an exam and testing, your doctor may prescribe the following based on the results, how severe the clots are and your other symptoms:
Causes Of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
While in many cases it is not possible to determine the exact cause, there are a number of reasons a woman may experience abnormal uterine bleeding. Some of the known causes of abnormal uterine bleeding include:
- spontaneous miscarriage in pregnancy
- ectopic pregnancy lodgement of the fertilised egg in the slender fallopian tube instead of the uterine lining
- hormonal disorders conditions such as hypothyroidism , polycystic ovarian syndrome and hyperprolactinemia can disrupt the menstrual cycle
- ovulatory dysfunction this is when the ovary does not release an egg each month. Most commonly, this occurs at either end of a womans reproductive years, either during puberty or at menopause
- endometriosis the cells lining the uterus can travel to, attach and grow elsewhere in the body, most commonly within the peritoneal cavity
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How Is The Cause Of Menstrual Clots Diagnosed
To determine the underlying cause of your menstrual clots, your doctor will likely ask you about things that impact menstruation. For example, they may ask if youve had previous pelvic surgeries, use birth control, or have ever been pregnant. Theyll also examine your uterus.
Controlling heavy menstrual bleeding is the best way to control menstrual clots.
How Should You Treat Period Blood Clots
If youre finding it difficult to soothe any pain associated with period blood clots, or theyre interfering with your life, then treatments are available, but you need to determine whats causing the clots first. Your doctor can help determine this by talking through your medical history with you. They may also need to do some extra tests, such as physical examinations, scans, blood work, and hormone checks.
Dr. Twogood gives the following examples of possible medical treatments for period blood clots that your health care provider may bring up in conversation with you:
- Hormonal medications, such as birth control pills
- Hormonal intrauterine devices
- Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen
- Prescription nonhormonal medications, such as tranexamic acid
- Occasionally, surgical procedures
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Treatment For Abnormal Period Blood Clots
Treatment for abnormal period blood clots may include iron supplements, contraception and other medications, andin some casessurgery.
Your treatment will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Whats causing your large blood clots and/or heavy bleeding
- How severe the clots and bleeding are
- Whether or not other painful symptoms accompany your period
- Your age and plans for reproduction
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Is It Normal For Period Blood To Come Out In Clumps
During my period most of my blood comes out in quarter-sized clumps. My periods are normally heavy, but do these clumps mean that something is wrong?Jessica*
Its perfectly normal to notice some clumps from time to time during your period. These are blood clots that may contain tissue. As the uterus sheds its lining, this tissue leaves the body as a natural part of the menstrual cycle. So clots of tissue are usually nothing to be concerned about. But if you notice large or frequent clots, talk to your health care provider to make sure your period is normal.
You also mention that your periods are heavy. If your period soaks through more than one pad or tampon every 12 hours, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner. Its also a good idea for a girl to get checked out if her periods last for longer than a week or if she is having a lot of pain with her periods.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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How Otc Medications Can Help
Some OTC pain relievers can help reduce blood loss during your periods. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Motrin, or aspirin.
NSAIDs dont lighten bleeding as well as prescription drugs, but you can combine them with other medications for better relief. These drugs may also help relieve painful cramps.
High doses or long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to unwanted side effects. You should always have your doctor monitor your dose, and never take NSAIDs if youre allergic or have been told not to.
If you see your doctor about your heavy periods, theyll likely start by prescribing one of the following medications:
In about half of women with heavy menstrual bleeding, no underlying reason is found.
But there are several conditions and some treatments that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some conditions of the womb and ovaries can cause heavy bleeding, including:
Other conditions that can cause heavy periods include:
Medical treatments that can sometimes cause heavy periods include:
Possible Consequences Of Menorrhagia
Menorrhagia is a condition so extreme that you shouldnt take it for granted. Heres what your doctor might tell you about the consequences of playing ignorant.
- Anemia. It is an obvious consequence. Losing more blood than you replace every month will cause you to turn pale to the whims of anemia before long. This happens in two forms. Blood loss leads to reduction in the number of red blood cells being circulated. This turns you pale and also reduces hemoglobin which helps in oxygen transportation to tissues.
Now when it comes to iron deficiency anemia, you find out that this occurs in the bid for your body to replace the red blood cells it lost by using up your bodys stored up iron to produce hemoglobin that will help transport oxygen to your body tissues. This causes iron depletion.
- Severe dysmenorrhea. Menstrual cramps come naturally with your periods and therefore causing you to witness painful menstruation. But menorrhagia makes dysmenorrhea look like an amateur when it comes to causing painful cramps because then it becomes so severe due to heavy menstrual bleeding with clots larger than a quarter that you might need to be evaluated medically.
Nobody wants to live through this much pain, you definitely dont want either. So make sure youve got timely medical help.
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And Happen Alongside Irregular Periods
Most menstrual cycles last between 21 to 35 days, with the average cycle lasting 28 days. Because each woman’s menstrual cycle is unique to her, what is considered normal will vary from woman to woman.
Irregular periods have widely been accepted as those who fit the following criteria: occur more or less frequently than every 21 or 35 days heavier or lighter menstrual flows bleeding lasting longer than seven days spotting in between periods or periods are accompanied by pain, nausea, vomiting, or cramping.
Women who suffer from irregular bleeding with clots larger than a quarter could have a condition called menorrhagia, the medical term for periods with unusually heavy bleeding.
Diagnosis Of Underlying Conditions
If you see a healthcare provider about period blood clots, they will begin their evaluation by asking you some questions that can help guide their next steps:
- How long does your period last?
- How heavy is your usual flow?
- Have you noticed changes in your flow over time?
- What size are the clots?
- Have you been pregnant before?
- Have you ever had pelvic surgery?
- Do you use birth control and, if so, what kind?
- What medications are you on?
If the clots seem abnormal or there isn’t an obvious cause, they will perform a pelvic exam. They may also want to do some tests to figure out what might be causing your blood clots.
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How Are The Causes Of Menstrual Causes Clots Diagnosed
To effectively diagnose the cause of abnormal menstrual clots, the doctor will ask you questions about some factors that might be responsible for them. For instance, you might be questioned about any history of pelvic surgery, use of birth control, or past pregnancy. In such cases, uterus examination becomes all the more necessary.
Your doctor might conduct a blood test to check for any hormonal fluctuations. An MRI or ultrasound can also be conducted to check for the presence of any fibroids, tumors, endometriosis, etc.
How Can I Reduce Clots In Menstruation
There is no clear way or method for the occurrence of clots in the period. However, it is advisable to lead a healthy lifestyle that allows for proper overall blood circulation. It is recommended to reduce stress and consume foods rich in bioflavonoids such as broccoli, grapes, citrus fruits, cherries, tomatoes, or green peppers to help strengthen blood vessels and reduce clotting.
On the other hand, if the appearance of clots is very common or is accompanied by pain, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Normally, in these cases, the specialist will prescribe some medication to help control vaginal bleeding such as birth control pills, aspirin, or mefenamic acid.
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What Does Period Blood Clot Treatment Look Like
Treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding depends on the underlying reason youre having a heavy flow and clots in the first place, Dr. Greves says. Here are a few options your doctor may recommend:
Regardless of whats behind your heavy bleeding, Dr. Minkin stresses that you cant get help if you dont tell your doctor whats going on. Seeing a trusted physician is your first step any time something feels a bit off with your body, especially when it comes to your vaginal health.