Period Blood Clots: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
There are lots of things going on when you’re menstruating. Women’s bodies deal with menstruation in different ways. Some women experience dizziness or unusual food cravings while others go on with their daily routines without ever feeling anything at all.
Because of this, it can be difficult for a woman to identify some serious period red flags during menstruation.
Blood clots during menstruation may not sound alarming for most women. From time to time, we have blood clots that we usually ignore because we believe they are not really a big deal.
Some women often have blood clots while others rarely have them. We are fully aware that our bodies respond in different ways. But it’s always helpful to not ignore signs and symptoms that may affect your reproductive health.
Here are some things you need to know about menstrual blood clots:
What are normal period blood clots?
Period blood clots are cells and tissues from your uterus. They feel like jellies that are sometimes bright red or very dark red. Some clots are even black in color. Normal blood clots are naturally smaller.
They’re quite normal in the first two or three days of your period, especially when you’re having a heavy menstrual flow.
The blood clots are considered abnormal when the period clumps are larger than the size of a quarter and you continuously experience blood clots for more than four days.
It is better to look for medical help when the period clumps are bigger and with unusual smell. It is also important to observe if you are in constant pain, along with the blood clots, when you are menstruating
Having a heavy menstrual flow for more than five days can be a cause of concern. If you change pads for five times in a day because of your heavy flow, then it’s recommended to talk to your doctor.
What Are The Causes Of Period Blood Clots?
Your uterine lining sheds every month. It aids a fertilized egg, helping your body be ready for child bearing. The shedding occurs only if you’re not pregnant, thus, causing you to menstruate. Your menstrual blood is a combination of mucus, tissue and other byproducts.
It comes from the uterus and releases it out of your vagina. Before your body is able to break down your thickened blood, it quickly releases anticoagulants and let the blood pass through. Thus, clots can be seen in your menstrual blood.
There is a high chance of having period blood clots when you have a heavy menstrual flow. Most women experience heavy menstrual bleeding because of their hormones. Sometimes, it’s also the lifestyle and the food that we eat.
There are 5 different factors that cause period blood clots. Here are some of them:
The first trimester or the three months is considered a critical period in a woman’s pregnancy journey. During the first trimester, expectant mothers are advised to take plenty of rest or stay at home. Having morning sickness and getting dizzy are part of an expectant mother’s routine.
The mother is physically and emotionally stressed, the baby inside her womb may also be affected. There are different causes of miscarriage, the most common is complications with the mother’s present health condition.
There are also high risk pregnancies that may result to miscarriage. When there’s miscarriage, your body will experience heavy bleeding and clotting.
The possibility of having fibroid is high for those women who are in their 50's and 60's. Fibroids are not cancerous tumors, they may sound harmless but they can be troublesome for most women. They cause period irregularities and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some women may also experience pain during intercourse. Another symptom is having back pains in the lower area of the body. Having fibroids may also lead to fertility issues which require treatment and medical attention for women who want to get pregnant.
3. Uterine Obstructions
There are certain medical conditions that may affect your uterus and cause period clots. Your uterus contracts and when it fails to do so, your blood will coagulate and form clots. This condition is called uterine obstructions. Uterine obstructions are related to fibroids, endometriosis and adenomyosis.
Your uterine lining normally grows inside the uterus. Endometriosis occurs when the lining grows outside. It is a type of disorder that includes your fallopian tubes, tissue lining and ovaries.
Endometriosis can be a painful health condition. It can cause severe pain when menstruating. A woman with endometriosis suffers from severe cramps and may become nauseous during her period. She also finds sexual intercourse painful. There is also irregular bleeding and worst, infertility issues.
5. Hormonal Imbalance
When you’re having irregular periods or not having any period at all for months, it may probably because of your hormones. Having too much or too little estrogen or progesterone causes hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance causes heavy menstrual bleeding.
Women who are close to being menopause have a higher risk of having hormonal problems. Other causes of such condition are stress and your physical and lifestyle changes.
How To Diagnose and Treat Causes of Menstrual Clots
Your doctors will ask you questions about your menstruation to help them identify the causes of your period clots. They will also check the health and condition of your uterus.
Some of the specific questions they’ll be asking would be your previous surgeries, pregnancy history and your use of birth control pills. Some doctors may also ask about your lifestyle and your job to ensure that you are not depressed or stressed at all.
Doctors can also determine if you have a hormonal imbalance through conducting a blood test. For other causes of period clots like fibroids and obstructions, they can perform an ultrasound and other imaging tests.
For most women who are not experiencing serious period clots, doctors usually recommend using hormonal contraceptives to restore their hormonal balance. An intrauterine device (IUD) can actually help with the heavy period flow. Medical practitioners suggest taking iron enriched vitamins for those women who have heavy flow during menstruation.
Many types of birth control can also help prevent the development of fibroids and other period related disorders. If you don’t want to take contraceptives, you can directly take a type of medication called tranexamic acid to avoid further blood clots.
However, there are cases when our bodies don’t react to any type of medication. When this happens, the doctors will then recommend a growth removal surgery.
For those women who have uterine growths, the type of surgery clearly depends on how big the growths are and where they are located. If you have bigger growths, myomectomy is performed.
In order to check your uterus, a large incision must be done, which means you need more time to fully recover.
Another specific information that your doctors need is your pregnancy history. When a woman had a miscarriage, doctors would immediately perform dilation and curettage (D and C).
Right after the surgery, the patient needs to wear sanitary pads because of heavy bleeding. The procedure is done by scraping the lining of the uterus.
Your doctor will do a series of tests and health assessments to provide and recommend the ideal treatment for your condition.
How To Deal With The Symptoms
1. Be prepared before your menstruation. Always bring pain relievers and anti-inflammatories with you especially if you are a working woman.
2. Be motivated to change your diet and switch to healthier food options. Eat foods that are rich in iron such as leafy vegetables, meat, etc.
3. Learn to exercise. Having a more active lifestyle may help reduce menstrual pains.
4. Always bring extra sanitary pads wherever you go. Having a heavy menstrual bleeding means having more extra pads inside your bag.
5. Most women who experienced menstrual pains resort to taking birth control pills to help them deal with their hormones. However, some women experience some side effects when taking birth control pills such as sudden mood changes, dizziness and weight gain. Other serious side effects include depression and irritability.
Having period clots is part of your menstruation. Before you consult with your doctor, you can take a moment to assess and check your symptoms.
Here are the general points to remember when you are having period clots:
- It’s not normal to have blood clots that are larger than the size of a quarter.
- Having small clots for the first three days of your period is perfectly normal.
- Miscarriage can cause heavy menstrual flow, which leads to blood clotting. Menstrual bleeding will last for a few days or a week.
- Your heavy menstrual flow is one of the major reasons why you have period clots. The heavier the flow, the higher the chance of having clots.
- It’s not normal to have heavy menstrual bleeding for more than five days. You can take note of the number of pads you can use per day.