When Should I Be Concerned About Blood Clots In My Period
If you need to change your tampon or pad after less than 2 hours or you pass clots the size of a quarter or larger, that is heavy bleeding. If you have this type of bleeding, you should see a doctor. Untreated heavy or prolonged bleeding can stop you from living your life to the fullest. It also can cause anemia.
Why Do Period Blood Clots Form
Our bodies are engineered in a way that blood, with the help of internal chemicals, clots so that we dont bleed to death, explains Susan Wysocki, a nurse practitioner and board member of the American Sexual Health Association.
Typically, anti-coagulants released by the body during menstruation fend off period blood clots. But sometimes, especially if you have a heavy flow, not all of your uterine tissue is able to be broken down, which leads to clots forming and being released during menstruation. These clots are typically red or dark in color and appear during the heaviest days of your period.
What Causes Blood Clots During Periods
Although small period blood clots may be normal in most cases, there can be several underlying health issues that may cause them. Large blood clots during periods typically indicate an underlying issue, therefore, its important to be aware of any new changes in your cycle. To determine what is causing your period clots, we recommend tracking your symptoms and sharing detailed descriptions with your doctor.
Health conditions that can cause blood clots during periods include:
- Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome , may explain the appearance of period blood clots as well as the onset of menopause or perimenopause.
- Pregnancy: Although not always the case, vaginal blood clots can indicate a miscarriage. If you are pregnant and notice blood clots of any size, please seek emergency medical care.
- Endometriosis: This painful condition of the reproductive tract occurs when uterine tissue develops outside of the uterus. Symptoms include severe menstrual cramps, lower back and pelvic pain, digestive issues, abnormal bleeding, and infertility.
- Adenomyosis: Your menstrual blood clots may be caused byadenomyosis, which occurs when the inner lining of the uterus grows into and thickens the muscular walls of the uterus. Common symptoms include severe cramps, abdominal pressure, bloating, and heavy periods.
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Other Diseases That Affect The Endometrium
Other endometrial diseases such as endometrial hyperplasia, which is the overgrowth of the endometrium, or endometrial polyps, which is the formation of polyps in the endometrium, can cause you to have a period with clots due to the growth of the uterus.
What to do: you should see your gynecologist to identify the problem correctly. Treatment can be done with the curettage of the endometrial tissue or with the use of progesterone.
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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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.
Expert Management For Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
For most women, menstrual cycles occur about every 28 days, and periods last four to seven days. Abnormal menstruation includes problems such as heavy bleeding, known as menorrhagia, irregular menstrual bleeding, and pain during periods, known as dysmenorrhea.
UT Southwestern gynecologic surgeons, specialists, and their teams are nationally recognized for their expertise in womens health care. We participate in research to improve diagnosis, management, and treatment for heavy, irregular, painful periods. Our specialists are also faculty members, dedicated to educating future womens health doctors and other care providers.
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Causes Of Abnormal Period Clots
The potential reasons for abnormal period clotting are similar to those for heavy menstrual bleeding, since the two symptoms usually go hand in hand: Heavy flow usually equals more clotting and larger clots.
side bar, I dont think this is normal
Abnormal period clots can be a sign of:3
Uterine polyps or fibroids: Both benign uterine fibroids and polyps can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding and clotting.
PCOS or other hormone imbalances:Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and other hormonal imbalances can delay your period for months as a result of anovulation . This long buildup can lead to unusually heavy periods and large period clots.
Endometriosis:Endometriosis is a disease characterized by an overgrowth of endometrial-like tissue outside of the uterus, i.e. elsewhere in the pelvis or on the outside of other reproductive organs. It can cause very heavy and painful periods with intense cramping and large clots.
Cancer: Rarely, period clots are a sign of cervical or uterine cancer. Getting regular pelvic exams and Pap smears is important for preventative screening, but talk to your doctor about any alarming changes in your period even if youve recently had a negative Pap.
Adenomyosis: Adenomyosis is a condition in which the uterine lining grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, often causing heavy periods and blood clots.
Common anticoagulant drugs include: apixaban , dabigatran , edoxaban , rivaroxaban , and warfarin .
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 doesn’t have time to darken.
When your menstrual flow is heavier, blood clots tend to be bigger because there’s 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, you’re more likely to have cramping.
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How Large Ought To Interval Clots Be
For essentially the most half, interval clots are a totally regular a part of menstruation, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D.,3 a medical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical College, tells SELF.
However if you happen toâre seeing clots the scale of 1 / 4 or bigger, it is best to go to your physician, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention .4
âIf somebody is passing quarter-size clots, that tells me that there may very well be one thing fallacious the uterus that wants additional investigation,â Dr. Ruiz says. Youâll be able to even take an image of what youâre seeing in order that your physician can look throughout your go to. âIt helps present me the magnitude of whatâs been happening,â Dr. Ruiz says.
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Diagnosis Of Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
UT Southwesterns experienced gynecologists conduct a thorough evaluation, which includes a:
- Physical exam
- Review of personal medical history, including details of the patients menstrual cycle
- Discussion of symptoms
Patients should bring information about the dates and lengths of their last several periods. For sexually active patients, a pelvic exam will be performed to check for infections and to examine the cervix.
To diagnose heavy bleeding and painful periods, our doctors usually recommend one or more tests, such as:
- Blood tests to look for signs of iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, or blood-clotting abnormalities
- Ultrasound: Diagnostic tools that use sound waves to produce images of the pelvic organs. Used to look for any abnormalities
- Pap smear: Sample of cells from the cervix that are examined under a microscope for infection or changes that can lead to cancer or already are cancerous
- Endometrial biopsy: A test that samples a small amount of endometrial tissue for examination under a microscope
- Magnetic resonance imaging scans: Equipment that uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce detailed images of pelvic organs
Based on the results of these tests, we might recommend further testing, such as:
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Whats Considered A Heavy Period
You might be surprised to learn that about one in five women experience menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy periods. Because each womans period is unique, it can be tricky to know if what you think is normal for your cycle is actually excessive bleeding. In fact, half of women who experience menorrhagia dont realize they have it.
While the best way to know if your heavy periods are chronic is to talk to a doctor, you can keep an eye out for some common symptoms of menorrhagia.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, any of the following is considered a symptom of heavy bleeding:
- Bleeding for more than seven days
- Blood soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour
- You need to change your pad or tampon during the night
- You need to double up on protection to keep from leaking
- The blood clots in your flow are the size of a quarter or larger
When Ought To I Be Involved About Blood Clots Throughout My Interval
Interval clots the scale of 1 / 4 or bigger really point out that you justâre formally in heavy bleeding territory, often known as menorrhagia. In line with the CDC, different menorrhagia signs embody:
The rationale why all of this issues : Having heavy, drawn-out bleeding can result in anemia, a blood problem that may go away you feeling drained or weak, the CDC says. It can be an indication of an underlying well being situation that requires remedy .
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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.
How Is Heavy Bleeding Diagnosed
After a thorough history and clinical examination including a cervical screening test and swabs your doctor might order blood tests and/or a pelvic ultrasound to eliminate some of the possible causes listed previously. The gold standard is to perform a hysteroscopy and curette in all women over 35 years of age to rule out endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. This is where the lining of the womb is viewed with a telescope the hysteroscope and is then lightly scraped away and a biopsy taken for examination.
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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.
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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Uterine Polyps Or Fibroids
A blockage in the uterus may stop it from contracting as it should, meaning that it cannot force the blood out as quickly as usual. The blood will leave the body more slowly so it will have more time to pool and form clumps.
The blockage can also cause a heavier flow, which results in more blood pooling.
Blockages may occur as a result of growths in the uterus. These include uterine polyps and fibroids, which are not cancerous but can cause other health issues without proper management.
Uterine polyps and fibroids consist of either endometrial or muscular tissue that grows in the uterine wall. They can cause symptoms such as: