Difference Between Normal Menstrual Clots And Abnormal Menstrual Clots
Clots that are small and are around the size of a quarter or less are normal in the menstrual cycle. If they are occasional and infrequent, it is not something you need to worry about. Normal menstrual clots occur usually at the beginning of your menstrual cycle. It is usually the clots that form in the blood vessels that are dangerous as they are capable of blocking the blood flow. But the clots during the menstrual cycle are not the same as the venous clots and hence not harmful to the female body.
But if the blood clots in periods are frequent and larger than the earlier mentioned size, it can be a sign that you need medical attention. Abnormal menstrual clots occur not only in the beginning and more frequently.
What Causes Abnormal Clots Outside Of A Period
Clot formation can last longer in those with heavy menstrual flow. About 33% of people with a uterus have periods so heavy that they soak through a pad or tampon every hour for several hours.
Possible medical causes for passing clots when not on your period 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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Pink Period Blood Color
It’s common for period blood to look pink at the beginning or end of your period when your bleeding is lighter. The color change comes from normal mucus mixing with the blood.
Pink blood during other phases of your cycle may be caused by:
- Significant weight loss
- An unhealthy diet
See a healthcare provider if you suspect any of these causes may be affecting your period blood. You may also benefit from seeing a nutritionist.
How Are Heavy Periods Treated
There are several options available to treat heavy periods. Your doctor will recommend options that are right for you based on your age, your medical history and whether you would like to be pregnant in the future.
Some medicines may lighten blood loss. These include anti-inflammatory medicines, tranexamic acid and the oral contraceptive pill . A hormonal intrauterine device placed in the uterus may also lighten bleeding.
Sometimes heavy periods are treated with surgery, for example to remove a fibroid or to reduce the lining of the uterus. The uterus can be removed in an operation known as a hysterectomy.
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What Do Period Blood Clots Say About My Health
Usually, period clots are nothing to worry about , and they just come with heavy-ish periods. But in some cases, a heavy flow can signal a bigger medical problem.
Keep in mind: Many of these issues are accompanied by pain and other symptoms not *just* period blood clots.
For example, sometimes period blood clots are a sign that you could be anaemic, which is when youre low on healthy red blood cells, sometimes due to too little iron or vitamin B12 .
Other times, menstrual blood clots are related to down-there issues such as uterine fibroids , pelvic inflammatory disease , endometriosis , or adenomyosis .
Polycystic ovary syndrome , a common health problem caused by out-of-balance reproductive hormones, is also linked to blood clots during your period.
Susan also says if you experience heavy periods with clotted blood that also leave you pale and light-headed, you should consult a doctor to rule out von Willebrand disease , a condition that prevents blood from clotting properly.
Possible Health Conditions Causing Clots
Some health conditions exist that could cause you to experience abnormally large blood clots frequently. They include:
Hormonal Imbalances – Hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome , perimenopause, and menopause can cause irregular shedding of the uterine lining, resulting in clotting and heavy bleeding.
Miscarriage – Clotting and bleeding are common symptoms of pregnancy loss.
Uterine Fibroids – Noncancerous growths in your uterus are common and can cause heavy bleeding.
Endometriosis – It causes the endometrial tissue in your uterine lining to grow outside your uterus, usually onto your fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Adenomyosis – Causes the endometrial tissue in your uterine lining to grow into your uterine wall, often making your uterus larger.
Cesarian scar – This could lead to abnormal bleeding associated with the scar from their cesarian section.
Cancer in the uterus/cervix – Potential but less likely source of blood clots.
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Uterine Causes Of A Giant Blood Clot During Period
The causes located in the uterus that cause blood clots during menstruation are:
Uterine polyps: Polyps are formations of tissue that protrude into the uterine cavity. They modify the endometrium by pushing it and obstruct the outflow of menstrual blood. Clots are formed by the blood that remains retained inside the uterus for longer.
Adenomyosis: when the uterus muscle enlarges because of other surrounding tissues that invade it, something similar happens with polyps. The modification of the endometrium and the obstruction at the exit conclude in clots.
Endometriosis: is a pathology where endometrial tissue grows in organs other than the uterus. As it is an endometrial disease, a symptom may be blood clots during menstruation.
Uterine hypertrophy: the uterus may enlarge in size due to physiological causes or diseases. A normal and expected reason for its enlargement is pregnancy and the months after delivery. With more endometrial surface and more space to accumulate blood, clots can form spontaneously.
Abortions: pregnancy losses include the expulsion of clots vaginally as if it were a menstruation. Although it is not strictly a usual menstrual cycle, if it happens very early in pregnancy, the dates tend to overlap and cause confusion.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
Speak to your healthcare provider if you notice a potentially concerning period blood color or anything that is out of the norm for you.
Changes in your menstrual bleeding can be a symptom of another health issue, including polycystic ovary syndrome . Not all of these conditions are serious or need medical attention, but a professional should weigh in.
Signs that you should see a healthcare provider about your period include:
- Missed periods: Not bleeding for more than three months when you know you’re not pregnant
- Irregular periods: This includes periods that are too close together or far apart, as well as periods that last for longer or shorter than normal.
- Unexpected bleeding: Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Heavy bleeding: Normal periods can vary from one person to the next. But if you are bleeding so much and so quickly that you flood your menstrual products or need to change them more than once an hour, you should be evaluated. This is particularly true if you have a family history of a bleeding disorder or have ever had anemia.
- Clots in period blood that are > 1 inch: These may be a sign of uterine or cervical fibroids, polyps, or cancer a hormonal imbalance endometriosis miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Severe pain during your period: This goes beyond the discomfort of typical menstrual cramps.
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Changes In Your Periods
Your periods can change for example, they may last longer or get lighter. This does not necessarily mean theres a problem, but it does need to be investigated.
You can see your GP, or visit your nearest womens clinic or contraceptive clinic.
Bleeding between periods, bleeding after having sex, or bleeding after the menopause needs to be checked by a doctor.
It might be caused by an infection, abnormalities in the neck of the womb or, in rare cases, it could be cancer.
You could be pregnant if you miss a period and youve had sex. See your GP if youve taken a pregnancy test and the result is negative and youve missed 3 consecutive periods.
They will investigate the cause and recommend any necessary treatment.
Read more about stopped or missed periods.
What Are Period Clots
During menstruation, the hormones in your body cause the lining of your uterus to begin shedding. During that process, small blood vessels bleed. To prevent your body from losing too much blood, plasma and platelets work together to form blood clots.
Blood clots will form anytime you have a certain amount of blood that just sits there, Dr. Zanotti says. Blood clots are supposed to happen to some degree, like when you cut yourself. But with period clots, what happens is if youre having a good amount of bleeding, it collects inside your uterus and as it sits there it will make a clot.
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What Health Conditions Cause Larger Period Blood Clots
Even though a variety of health conditions may cause period clots larger than quarter-size, they usually have other characteristics that give them away.
This hormonal disorder can cause incredibly heavy periods, according to the Mayo Clinic,6 because the hormone imbalance involved can prevent you from menstruating for some time. When your period does finally arrive, you may have accumulated many months worth of tissue. PCOS can cause irregular periods , hormonal acne, male-pattern baldness, and excess facial or body hair. Research suggests the condition is also associated with metabolic complications, increasing the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.7 If your doctor suspects your symptoms are due to PCOS, they may recommend a physical exam, a pelvic exam, blood tests, or an ultrasound to confirm a diagnosis.
At this point the general medical consensus is that endometriosis happens when the tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow on other organs. However, some experts believe there may be other causes behind endometriosis, as SELF previously reported. One theory is that people with endometriosis grow misplaced tissue that is similar to the endometrium, but that it responds differently to hormones. No matter the cause of endometriosis, frighteningly heavy bleeding is one possible symptom.8
Blood Clots During Period Cycle Are Mostly A No Matter Of Concern However In Some Cases They Can Indicate A Medical Condition
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Its usual to experience a heavy blood flow at the beginning of a menstrual cycle. Due to this, weve all sometimes leaked through a pad or tampon or noticed blood clots during our periods. But are blood clots making you a little more worried? Do not be alarmed. Passing blood clots throughout the monthly cycle is a common occurrence. But if youre wondering when you should be worried about it, come let us try and help you understand.
Passing large blood clots along with heavy blood bleeding may be a sign of something wrong.
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Do You Have Irregular Periods
Its pretty common to experience irregular periods, meaning your cycle varies by more than 7 to 9 days in length.
If this is the first time your period is hanging around too long, you can try to track the days youre bleeding for a few months to see if theres any rhyme to your cycles reason.
If youve had your period for over a week, youre bleeding heavily, or if youre experiencing sharp pain, its a good idea to talk with your doc. Theres a bunch of causes that could be behind your endless flow.
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Another Potential Culprit For Menstrual Blood Clots
Your copper IUD.
While birth control often lightens up your period, the copper IUD can actually cause heavier bleeding, especially during your first year, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .
If youre taking blood thinners like warfarin or enoxaparin, you may also have heavier-than-usual periods, and in turn, you might see clotting.
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What Is The Prognosis For Living With Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Left untreated, heavy periods can interfere with your life. In addition, heavy menstrual bleeding can cause anemia and leave you feeling tired and weak. Other health problems can also arise if you dont get help. With proper treatment and assistance from your provider, you can manage heavy periods without compromising your well-being.
A Word About Menstruation
Menstrual consistency can vary at any time, including during the same period and from one period to another. This means you may see many clots and a heavy flow one month, but no clots and a lighter flow the next. Variation is completely normal, and you can chalk up these changes to lifestyle factors and diet.
Also of note, the body normally produces anticoagulants, or blood thinning agents, that help endometrium fragments and blood freely move to the cervix and then out of the body. Stress and lifestyle factors like starting or stopping an exercise routine can impact this process. But when blood clots are experienced regularly with every period, the more common culprits are fibroids.
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What Is A Normal Period
What’s normal for you may not be what textbooks define as a “normal” period. Generally speaking, though, a period is considered normal if it:
- Comes anywhere between every 24 day to 38 days
- Varies as much as 20 days over the course of the year
- Lasts between four-and-a-half to eight days
- Includes between 5 milliliters and 80 ml of blood
Are Period Clots Serious
If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, it can be serious. But Dr. Zanotti says it depends on each situation. Doctors will consider the size and frequency.
A lot of women have really small clots that might be a dime-size or a quarter-size during their period and thats normal for them, she says. Its problematic if youre passing golf ball-sized clots and passing them every couple of hours.
You should also be concerned if you must change your pad or tampon about every hour.
You may have heavy bleeding if youre soaking through your pad in an hour and it happens for a couple of hours in a row, says Dr. Zanotti. Thats a significant amount of bleeding.
Its also possible to become anemic or have low blood pressure after losing too much blood, says Dr. Zanotti.
If heavy bleeding happens once during a cycle and its not repetitive, thats not so concerning, she says. You have to look at the pattern of how frequently its happening and how long its actually lasting.
If youre pregnant and experience blood clots, contact your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room. You may be having a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening.
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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.
What Does Big Blood Clots In Period Mean
Blood clots in period may not always be a problem, especially during the first days of menstruation. However, big clots in period is abnormal. During normal period, blood loss is less than 80mls. If you have prolonged periods with big blood clots then you should see your doctor immediately.
Possible causes are
What should i do? Inform your doctor. If its too heavy Get a menstrual cup.
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When Should You Worry About Blood Clots During Your Period
Menstrual bleeding that lasts more than seven days, known as menorrhagia, can be a signal of a larger health issue. If your clots are accompanied with any of the following symptoms, you should reach out to your gynecologist:
- New blood clots that havent appeared in the past
- Blood clots larger than a quarter
- Bleeding for more than seven to 10 days
- Heavy bleeding that requires you to change your pad/tampon every hour
- Consistent spotting in the middle of your menstrual cycle
- Excessive pain or cramping
Use Of Intrauterine Devices
If you experience prolonged periods after inserting an IUD, which is a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy, then it may be the cause. Should I worry about it? Not yet. Prolonged periods after IUDs are common in the first few months of inserting it. If it gets persistent with really heavy bleeding, then you should let your doctor know.
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