Should I Worry About Period Clots?

Most women experience a menstrual cycle, which is a normal function of the female reproductive system.  Each woman’s body has its own rhythm, so the frequency and length of their menstrual cycle will be unique to them, along with any symptoms they may experience. Some women do not experience significant symptoms during their period, such as severe cramping, headaches, backaches, etc., and others suffer each month with these symptoms as well as changes in their menstrual flow.  They often deal with heavy or prolonged bleeding, sometimes accompanied by period blood clots.

Since most women do not sit around chatting about their menstrual cycles,  they do not know that some of these things are nothing to worry about, while others might be an indication that there is something else going on that needs to be looked into.  Are blood clots during your period normal, or should you be concerned?

Today we are going to talk about period blood clots and whether they are a sign of trouble or nothing to worry about.

What Are Period Blood Clots?

Every month, your uterus goes through a process of building up the endometrium, which is the lining. If this lining is not needed for the implantation and development of an embryo, it is then discarded through your menstrual cycle. This shed material in the normal flow of your period can be made up of a mixture of endometrial material, blood, and vaginal or cervical mucus and can contain blood clots.

Blood clots can be a normal part of your menstrual cycle, or they can be an indication of problems in the reproductive system.   Blood clots during your period can form when the lining being shed contains a large amount of blood. This blood can accumulate in your uterus and coagulate, forming blood clots that look like blobs of a thick gel-like substance and can vary in size.

Are Clots In Period Blood Normal?

Usually, passing some blood clots during your period is considered normal and nothing to worry about, especially for women who tend to have heavy periods regularly.  But when large blood clots resembling tissue chunks come out during menstruation, almost everyone feels concerned.  Don’t panic just yet.  Even though large blood clots during your period can signal that something is not right, they can also be normal under certain circumstances.

Some of the reasons you may experience blood clots during menstruation include:

  1. The most common reason women have period clots is menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). Normally, the symptoms include:
    • Your tampons or pads are soaked every 1-2 hours;
    • You are changing two pads at a time;
    • The bleeding lasts for more than 7 days;
    • Blood is “gushing” or “flooding” out;
    • You are passing large clots;
    • You feel constantly fatigued during your period.
  2. Hormone imbalances can be a reason for heavy bleeding. In particular, the appearance of large period clots may indicate that the level of hormones responsible for the growth of the endometrium has significantly increased.  Many women notice an increase in blood clots during their period due to changes related to perimenopause.
  3. If you have an IUD, your body may not accept the intrauterine device. Often, heavy periods with clots and mucus are the result of an incorrectly installed IUD.
  4. Another possible reason is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment, along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  5. Endometriosis can be the underlying cause of blood clots during your period.  This condition is characterized by tissue that makes up the uterine lining (the lining of the womb) and is present outside the uterus on other organs inside your body.
  6. Adenomyosis can be another possible reason. Adenomyosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Read more about adenomyosis here.
  7. Uterine fibroids. These are benign tumors in the uterus that affect the duration and nature of menstruation, including the possibility of clots. They are the most common reason why women have heavy periods.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization in Atlanta, GA

Should I Contact a Doctor about Period Clots?

Usually, small or moderately-sized clots are no reason for concern, however, there are instances when you should reach out to your doctor for further evaluation.  Large period clots may be an indication of a more serious health condition if:

  1. Your periods have become very heavy and last a long time;
  2. You are passing multiple blood clots and they are large;
  3. Your menstruation is accompanied by severe pain;
  4. You have discharge that has an unusual color or unpleasant smell;
  5. You pass clots that are gray-yellow in color.

A timely visit to your doctor will help identify the reason for period blood clots and if necessary, a course of treatment can be initiated.

If the underlying cause of blood clots during your period is uterine fibroids or adenomyosis, there is a procedure you can have that will help eliminate heavy bleeding and the issue with clots.  You do not require invasive treatment, or to have your uterus removed through surgery.

Today, there is an option for treatment through a procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) or uterine artery embolization (UAE).  This is done as a non-surgical outpatient procedure, so there is no hospital stay involved and far less recovery time than surgery.  And best of all, this nonsurgical treatment lets you keep your uterus!

To learn more about UAE/UFE from one of the world’s leading providers of this procedure, call the Atlanta Fibroid Center at 678-679-6206 or make an appointment online.

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