Is Heavy Bleeding After 50 Normal
Heavy bleeding is common among women transitioning into menopause, the point when your bodys reproductive system stops releasing eggs. One study found that among women ages 42 to 52, more than 90% experienced periods that lasted 10 days or more with 78% reporting their blood flow as heavy.
This is because when women approach menopause, there are fewer eggs to mature in the ovaries. The body releases higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone in an attempt to maintain normal ovulation, which produces more estrogen.
These greater levels of estrogen thicken the lining of the uterus, often resulting in heavier, longer periods. The time it takes for a womans body to complete this cycle can extend as well, leading to longer gaps between periods and more blood flow.
This change in reproductive hormone levels called perimenopause generally begins about four years before a woman has her last period. But the transition can start as early as 10 years before menopause.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Verywell / Emily Roberts
See your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:
- Blood clots are larger than a quarter
- An excessive amount of blood clots
- Menstrual bleeding that is heavy and requires you to change your tampon or pad every couple of hours
- Bleeding lasts longer than seven days
- Extreme abdominal pain with nausea or vomiting
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
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Are Heavy Periods With Blood Clots Normal
If you are having a heavier-than-usual period with blood clots, do not panic right away. Every womans body expels varying amounts of blood each month. Periods can last anywhere from 5-7 days on average and be a little longer sometimes. Menstrual bleeding can vary from person to person, and from month to month.
But if you experience heavy bleeding long after your period ends, there may be an underlying cause that has not been identified. In addition, you may face unknown health complications if the cause is not identified. Your gynecologist can perform tests to help you identify the reasons you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding. These exams give a clear picture of any problems so that the doctor can tailor a treatment plan for you.
Abnormal Period Blood Clots
Menorrhagia refers to heavy menstrual bleeding and menstrual bleeding that lasts more than seven days.
Your flow is considered heavy when you have to change your pad or tampon after less than two hours, or you are passing blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger.
Depending on your age and medical history, there are many conditions that could be increasing the volume of your menstrual flow and/or causing abnormally large clots to form.
Some of these conditions include:
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What Causes Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding can have many causes, ranging from hormone-related issues to various medical conditions and even stress.
The hormones that your body produces, like estrogen and progesterone, help regulate your menstrual cycle, including how heavy your periods are. Having a condition that causes your hormones to become imbalanced can lead to heavy period bleeding. Causes include:
- Birth control pills and injectables .
Failing to remove contraceptive devices when needed can also cause abnormal uterine bleeding.
Are Period Blood Clots Typical
Have you ever wondered what exactly is in your tampon, cup, or pad? Throughout your period, you will bleed about 2-3 tablespoons of blood. This includes the uterine lining, which is made of cells similar to skin cells, blood vessels, and glands . Every period is unique and each varies in frequency, heaviness, color, and texture. Clots or clumps on the heaviest days of a period may be typical for some people. Period blood clots can appear like clumps or chunks of blood, and/or a jelly-like consistency and can vary in size and number.
It’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider if you have clots that are 1 inch in length or larger .
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When Should I See A Doctor For Heavy Periods
Heavy periods arent something that you have to put up with. If your period affects your daily life by causing you to miss work or school, cancel social activities or plan your day around bathroom breaks, its time to seek treatment.
We recommend making an appointment with one of our womens health experts if you experience any of the the symptoms described above. An expert will be able to diagnose whats causing your heavy periods and recommend effective treatments. If youre not sure whether your period is normal, just ask.
When To See Your Healthcare Provider For Heavy Bleeding
Consider talking to your healthcare provider if you see any of the following :
No period bleeding for 3-6 months
Bleeding or spotting in between periods
Soaking one or more pads/tampons every hour
Bleeding for longer than 7 days
Bleeding or spotting after sex
Blood clots larger than the size of a quarter
Large grayish clots
Any changes that see out of the normal for your period
Consider seeking emergency care if you:
Feel lightheaded, dizzy, short of breath, or experience chest pain related to period bleeding
For some people, blood clots are most common on the heaviest days of their period. If you experience heavy period bleeding and are worried, you should consider talking with a healthcare provider. Even if you do not have the symptoms in this article, being worried is reason enough to check in with your healthcare provider. Consider talking with your friends about your periods, because sharing what each of your period blood looks like and how it changes cycle to cycle may bring reassurance to you all. You may see that what you’re experiencing is similar to your friends’ experiences too.
to track your bleeding and symptoms during your period to better understand what is normal for you, and to spot any changes.
An original version of this article was published September 27th 2017.
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How Can I Differentiate Normal Vs Abnormal Clots
Yes, menstrual clots are normal but a number of things could make them a cause for concern. A rule of thumb is if the clots are small and appear occasional, theyre usually nothing to worry about. While regularly passing large clots during your period could signal a medical condition that needs investigation.
Heres how to differentiate them:
Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Serious
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be serious if you lose so much blood that you show signs of anemia. Anemia is a condition arising from having too little iron in your body. Anemia can be life-threatening without treatment.
Also, some of the conditions that can cause heavy period bleeding, like cancer, require early medical intervention. Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss any risks related to your period bleeding.
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How Long Should You Use Progesterone
If you are getting close to actual menopause, you might be concerned that if you used hormones such as progesterone that it will prolong perimenopause or interfere with actual menopause. However, this is not the case. Women can safely use low levels of progesterone to manage symptoms without promoting monthly cycles.
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What Consistency Should My Period Be
Period blood looks and feels different for absolutely everyone, and it also changes depending on where you are in your cycle, so try not to get hung up on what it should look like. There are far too many variables. Jennifer Ashton, M.D. put it best when talking to Womens Health magazine when she said your period shouldnt be thin like Kool-Aid and it shouldnt be thick like ketchup. Somewhere in between is good.
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During The Third Trimester
Losing a pregnancy starting from the 20th week of pregnancy and into the third trimester is considered stillbirth, not miscarriage.
In general, the risk of stillbirth increases with maternal age.
If youve experienced a miscarriage, it doesnt mean youll have another, and it doesnt mean you cant have children.
Most people who experience a miscarriage can go on to have a successful pregnancy.
Miscarriage shouldnt affect your ability to get pregnant. You can ovulate and become pregnant within two weeks of an early miscarriage.
If you dont want to become pregnant again, you should use birth control right away.
About 1 percent of people have multiple miscarriages. If youve experienced several miscarriages, your doctor might recommend special testing.
Even if youve had three miscarriages in a row, theres a 70 percent chance your next pregnancy will be successful.
If Your Period Disappears
It may sound counterintuitive, but although PCOS and thyroid problems can make your flow heavier and last longer, the hormonal changes that in come into play with these two conditions might also make your period temporarily vanish. Stress too can throw off ovulation, which means you might skip a period or two.
Dont be surprised if your period disappears after losing weight. Extreme weight loss causes a decrease in body fat and estrogen production, making your periods lighter or nonexistent, Dr. Ross said. Hormone fluctuations that happen when youre breastfeeding and during perimenopause can also lead to erratic, unpredictable periods or an absent flow for months.
If you notice your period takes a break that lasts longer than three monthsand youre sure you are not pregnant and it cant be menopausetalk to your healthcare provider to make sure there isnt another reason for your periods disappearance.
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During The First Trimester
As many as 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester.
When a miscarriage occurs in the first five weeks after fertilization, its called a chemical pregnancy. Its so early that you might not have known you were pregnant.
Although your period may seem heavier than usual, there might not be any other noticeable sign of miscarriage.
Miscarriages in the first trimester often have to do with chromosome abnormalities that interfere with normal development. Missing or extra chromosomes are linked to 50 percent of all miscarriages.
Sometimes, a fertilized egg simply doesnt develop into an embryo .
It may help to know that having sex, exercising, morning sickness, and previous use of oral contraceptives dont cause miscarriage. Even an accidental fall doesnt necessarily cause it.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , smoking and alcohol consumption in the first trimester may result in a slightly higher risk of miscarriage. But the research on this is mixed.
Its also worth noting that drinking less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day doesnt appear to increase the risk of miscarriage.
Some things that may increase the risk of early miscarriage are:
- fibroids or other abnormalities of the uterus
- use of cocaine or similar drugs
Heavy Periods Arent Normal In Teens And Might Indicate A Serious Concern
Having heavy periods can be a dreadful experience for preteen girls and young women, from feeling embarrassed for needing multiple bathroom breaks to experiencing frustration when leakage ruins a favorite pair of jeans, to name just two uncomfortable situations. In fact, excessive bleeding can impact young womens lives on multiple fronts, affecting their academic performance, social interactions, ability to play sports, and more.
However, the most pressing concern is that when young women seek medical help for heavy periods, too many doctors brush the symptoms aside as normal during adolescence or misdiagnose it as a hormonal imbalance . Doctors often treat teen girls with hormone birth control pills and send them on their way, neglecting to test these patients for underlying conditions that also can cause heavy bleeding.
Teen girls with these symptoms need additional screening for serious bleeding disorders:
- Heavy periods that last more than seven days
- Passing large clots in the menstrual blood or experiencing a feeling of gushing on heavy days
- Soaking through pads or tampons within two to three hours
- Anemia symptoms, such as tiredness, dizziness, or inability to focus at school
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Excessive bleeding after surgery or dental procedures
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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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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 don’t get help. With proper treatment and assistance from your provider, you can manage heavy periods without compromising your well-being.
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What You Need To Know
For women who have symptoms of fibroids, life can be hard. Blood flow that is consistently heavy can lead to anemia, a condition that presents its own problems like dizziness and fatigue. This says nothing of the pain and cramping that can occur between and during periods.
Fibroids can also apply pressure to the bladder and cause frequent urination. If large enough, they can also apply rectal pressure that leads to constipation. And if big enough, as mentioned earlier, fibroids can cause the stomach to protrude so a woman looks pregnant. All of these effects can be both embarrassing and debilitating.
How Is Menorrhagia Treated
Treatment for menorrhagia depends on how serious the bleeding is, the cause of the bleeding, your health, age, and medical history. Also, treatment depends on your response to certain medicines and your wants and needs. You may not want to have a period at all, or just want to reduce the amount of bleeding. In addition, your decision to get pregnant or not will affect what treatment you choose. If you do not have anemia, you can choose to not have treatment.
Common treatments include:
- Hormone therapy to reduce bleeding
- Desmopressin nasal spray to stop bleeding for certain bleeding disorders
- Antifibrinolytic medicines to reduce bleeding
- Dilation and curettage to reduce bleeding by removing the top layer of uterus lining
- Operative hysteroscopy to remove fibroids and polyps and remove lining of uterus
- Endometrial ablation or resection to remove all or part of the lining of the uterus
- Hysterectomy to surgically remove the uterus and you will stop having your period
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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*
It’s 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. It’s 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.
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
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