How Big Should Period Clots Be
For the most part, period clots are a completely normal part of menstruation, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D.,3 a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, tells SELF.
But if youre seeing clots the size of a quarter or larger, you should visit your doctor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .4
If someone is passing quarter-size clots, that tells me that there could be something wrong the uterus that needs further investigation, Dr. Ruiz says. You can even take a picture of what youre seeing so that your doctor can look during your visit. It helps show me the magnitude of whats been going on, Dr. Ruiz says.
When Should I Be Worried About Blood Clots
Spotting, which is when you bleed just a few drops of blood between periods, is not uncommon. Bleeding between periods becomes more of a concern if you regularly pass large clots. This could be an indication of a medical condition such as uterine fibroids, cancer, bleeding disorders, and more.
Blood clots are considered abnormal if they are larger than a quarter and occur often. Speak to a healthcare professional if you bleed heavily during or between periods or you have clots larger than a quarter. The following are additional signs that menstrual bleeding is too heavy:
- Bleeding that soaks through your pad or tampon every two hours or less
- Needing to use both a pad and tampon together to control bleeding
- Needing to change your tampon or pad throughout the night
- Bleeding that prevents you from daily activities, work, or school
- Shortness of breath
What Do Large Blood Clots During A Period Mean
For some women, the discomfort of menstruation can mean a day or two away from work each month. Symptoms like heavy flow, abdominal cramps, and back pain are made even worse by the presence of blood clots during period. Theyre frightening to see and difficult to understand. But the professionals at North Texas Fibroids in Flower Mound, Cedar Hill, and Dallas, TX, can ease your fears, answer questions, and even provide relief.
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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:
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.
Don’t 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 you’re 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 you’re sure you are not pregnant and it can’t be menopausetalk to your healthcare provider to make sure there isn’t another reason for your period’s disappearance.
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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.
When Heavy Periods With Blood Clots Are Not Normal
The standard period clot’s size should usually be less than a quarter, bright or deep red, and should typically last for initial 2-3 days of periods when bleeding is heavy.
One should only be concerned if anything is different from the description mentioned above. Following are some symptoms that indicate abnormality:
- Period blood clots larger than a quarter.
- Golf ball-sized blood clots during period.
- Erratic or infrequent periods. The average cycle is of 22 – 28 days.
- A blood flow requires you to change sanitary napkins every 2-3 hours.
- Unbearable pain during periods.
If ignored, large pieces of tissue during menstruation than standard size and increased blood loss can also cause amnesia and result in:
- Fatigue and weaknesses
- Difficulty in breathing
- Chest pain
You should consult a doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms that indicate an abnormality, different from normal blood clots during periods.
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Why Do You Have Blood Clots On Your Period
Is your period clotty by nature? Seeing a jelly-like blood clot during your period might freak you out. However, menstrual clots are actually very common and, in most cases, nothing to be worried about.
Period clots happen because, during menstruation, your uterus sheds more than just blood. The lining of the uterus that sloughs off contains a mixture of blood, blood byproducts, tissue, and mucus apologies if you were about to eat lunch.
This delightful mixture of bodily substances isnt pure liquid in form. As your period progresses, some of the endometrial buildup will accumulate at the bottom of your uterus. Your body produces substances called anticoagulants to help loosen up and liquefy this material. This makes it easier to flow through the cervix and out through the vaginal canal.
Sometimes, your body cant produce enough anticoagulants to keep up with the amount of fluid and tissue your uterus is trying to shed.1 As a result, clumps of gel-like clots pass through the cervix. These clots then wind up on your pad, stuck to the side of your tampon, or collected inside your menstrual cup or disc.
Theres still some debate among the scientific community as to whether period clots form in the uterus or vagina. Nevertheless, we do know that theyre a common and normal characteristic of menstrual flow.2
Read on to learn more about period clots and how to tell the difference between normal and abnormal clotting.
Is My Period Bleeding Heavy
Heavy period bleeding is common. This doesnât mean you should just live with it, because it can have negative impacts on your health. That is why healthcare providers call it âabnormal uterine bleedingâ . Heavy bleeding includes any of the following :
Soaking one or more tampons or pads in an hour for two or more hours
Clots larger than a quarter
Vaginal bleeding lasting longer than 7 days
Needing to change pad/tampon/cup during the night
Needing to wear more than one pad at a time
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Should I See A Doctor
To summarise, if you are regularly passing large clots during your period, or the consistency of your period blood has changed alongside accompanying symptoms, then it doesnt hurt to speak to your doctor.
In most cases, changes in period blood consistency are due to hormones, and will continue to change throughout your life. Get in tune with your flow and be aware when things seem different so you can reach out for help if needed.
Got a question about the consistency of your period blood? There are no embarrassing questions here at Yoppie! Feel free to chat about it in our private Full Stop FB group, or DM us on Instagram at . Don’t forget that our personalised menstrual cycle care box covers everything from organic tampons to hydrating face masks delivered regularly through your letterbox – so however your cycle is acting, we’ve got you covered.
The Restricting Effects Of Fibroids
Fibroids are generally believed to prevent the uterus from contracting the way it needs to. Menstrual bleeding, therefore, is in a sense left unchecked. This explains why flow is so much heavier in women who have these growths.
Additionally, fibroids can produce proteins that activate blood vessels within the uterus. Those vessels, in turn, bleed more freely into the uterine cavity. Remember that this is the source of blood clots during period, forming when the body cannot produce enough anticoagulants to keep pace with flow. The number of clots you pass during menstruation therefore become more numerous.
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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.
Pay Attention To Your Bodys Signals
Your period can be an indicator of your reproductive health. Paying attention to this each month will help you identify concerns, including blood clots. While some are normal, their continued presence can be a sign of uterine fibroids. The good news is that our office is well-equipped to treat fibroids with UFE, a minimally invasive therapy with fantastic results.to schedule your appointment.
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Everything You Need To Know About Period Clots
- Not to be confused with venous or thrombosis clots , period blood clots are perfectly normal and usually nothing to worry about
- Normal period clots are smaller than a quarter and red, brown, or black-ish in color they show up occasionally and are most common on your periods heavier days
- Keep an eye on your flow. Abnormal clots tend to be larger than a quarter and may be grayish in color. They may also be accompanied by heavy bleeding or unusual pain
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:
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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 Your Period Comes With Fleshy Tissue Tissue
Your period can also come with small pieces of fleshy tissue and this does not mean that the woman has had a miscarriage. These pieces of tissue are little bits of the woman’s own endometrium, but they are colorless. Just as the blood has red cells and white cells, the endometrium can also have this coloration.
If your menstruation has pieces of fleshy tissue for 2 consecutive cycles, see your gynecologist for assessment and ask if testing if necessary.
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Heres How To Read What Your Period Blood Is Telling You:
Image: Monika Kozub
Youre going to want to start having a look at your blood regularly during your cycle to see what colour and consistency it is. This is easiest when you use a moon cup, but is also possible with all other forms of blood collection. Natural or fabric pads that are light in colour are great as a background to look at blood colour. Tampons you can have a look at when you yoink them out. Period panties are a bit trickier just because they are usually black, but you can use some toilet paper to catch your blood when you sit on the toilet each time you pee, or at least watch the blood as it drops into the toilet. Try to get a good look one way or another!
Q: Are Menstrual Clots During Heavy Periods Normal
A. If you notice on heavy days of your period that blood seems extra-thick, and can sometimes form a jelly-like glob, these are menstrual clots, a mix of blood and tissue released from your uterus during your period.
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They can vary in size and color, and usually, they are nothing to worry about.
Most of the time, menstrual clots are normal, but some symptoms can signal other health concerns.
The color of a menstrual clot, which can range from bright to deeper red, doesnt matter as much as the size. If youre noticing menstrual clots larger than a quarter, especially if you are soaking pads every hour, talk to your health practitioner.
The clotting is the bodys way of protecting us, but if it happening frequently, you need to pay attention.
Watch for these other symptoms if you experience heavy flow and menstrual clots:
- Significant pain
- Accidents on clothing and sheets
- Clots increasing in size
Commonly, the cause of heavy bleeding is structural or hormonal.
Possible causes include fibroids, polyps, ovaries failing to release eggs, bleeding disorders, thyroid disorders, or, more rarely, uterine, cervical or endometrial cancer.
Treatment depends on the cause surgery may be needed if the problem is structural, while ibuprofen can help reduce bleeding and pain. Hormones may be helpful as well.
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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 symptomsnot *just* period blood clots.
For example, sometimes period blood clots are a sign that you could be anemic, 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.
And if youre trying to get pregnant and feel pain and cramping in your lower abdomen or back plus spotting, bleeding, or finding tissue passing from your vagina, those could be signs of a miscarriageas opposed to typical period blood clots.
Wysocki 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.
If youre taking blood thinners like warfarin or enoxaparin , you may also have heavier-than-usual periods, and in turn, you might see clotting.
Period Blood Clots: Whats Normal & Whats Not
Finding a clot in your tampon, pad, menstrual cup or menstrual disc does not mean you need to rush to your doctors office. Normal period clots are:
- Smaller than a quarter
- Occasional and usually on heavier days
- Bright red or dark red
- Blackish, especially if theyre larger
- Brown, especially later in your cycle
That said, sometimes, period clots can be a symptom of another condition. Look out for period clots that are:
- Frequently larger than a quarter
- Accompanied by heavier-than-usual menstrual bleeding
- Grayish and/or happening when you think you could be pregnant
- Accompanied by lots of pain that isnt normal for your period
- Accompanied by anemia or easy bruising2
At times, clots can form for other reasons including certain underlying health conditions. Knowing whats normal for you will help you decide whether or not you should see a healthcare provider. When in doubt, it never hurts to make a quick call.
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