Period Blood Clots: What Should You Do About Period Clots During Periods?
You’re doing morning yoga when you feel as if your period has suddenly become heavier. When you finally get to the bathroom, you realize your pad is completely soaked and there are large clumps of dark red blood. You begin to have a panic attack and try to tell yourself everything is fine. Clutching your phone, you quickly search online for your symptoms and realize what you’ve just experienced is called a menstrual clot.
If you’ve ever noticed blood clots during menstruation, you may be surprised or even scared. Period clots are gel-like lumps of coagulated blood and tissue expelled from the uterus, usually alongside thinner period blood. These menstrual clots can be bright or dark red; they often vary in size and consistency. Period blood clots tend to form toward the beginning of your period or on heavy days when menstrual blood flows faster than your body is able to use natural anticoagulants.
Although small ones are usually considered normal, passing big blood clots during periods may indicate an underlying problem, like the presence of uterine fibroids. Here’s what you should know about blood clots during periods, health conditions that can cause large ones, and who you can turn to for help.
Are Blood Clots Normal During Periods?
In most cases, passing small, occasional menstrual blood clots (no larger than a quarter) is considered normal and nothing to worry about. However, passing large clots –– especially when accompanied by other symptoms like heavy bleeding, severe cramps, and low energy levels –– can signal that something is wrong.
One common underlying health condition that may explain your period blood clots is the presence of uterine fibroids. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop within your uterus. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by age 50.
Uterine fibroids vary in type, size, and number. Additionally, they can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Heavy or prolonged menstruation lasting more than 10 days
- Irregular bleeding between cycles
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
- Period blood clots larger than a quarter
If you are experiencing any of the above issues, we recommend visiting a fibroid specialist. When fibroids are suspected, a non-invasive ultrasound or MRI can confirm their presence and set you on a path towards recovery. Give us a call at 855.615.2555 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your symptoms.
What Causes Blood Clots During Periods?
Although small period clots may be normal, there are several health conditions that can be responsible. Large blood clots during periods typically indicate an underlying issue; therefore, it’s important to not ignore new changes in your cycle. To determine what is causing your period clots, we recommend tracking any and all symptoms you may be experiencing and writing detailed descriptions so it will be easier to relay to your doctor.
Health conditions that can cause blood clots during periods include:
- Hormonal imbalance: If you have a hormonal condition such as hypothyroidism or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), or are going through menopause or perimenopause, this may explain your period blood clots.
- 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 by adenomyosis, 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.
- Cancer: Uterine and cervical cancers can result in blood clots during menstruation. Other issues to be on the lookout for include abnormal period bleeding, pelvic and abdominal pain or pressure, fatigue, weight loss, and digestive problems.
- Uterine fibroids: These common, non-cancerous tumors develop in or on the uterus and can lead to painful symptoms. They can also put pressure on surrounding organs and impact fertility. Women with fibroids often experience period blood clots, heavy menstrual bleeding, severe cramps, frequent urination, painful sex, or low energy levels.
Because many of the above health conditions have overlapping symptoms, it is critical to visit your doctor to receive an accurate medical diagnosis. Fortunately, once the underlying cause is determined, you can schedule an appointment with a fibroid specialist to determine what fibroid treatments can help alleviate period clots. For many, treatment can improve overall quality of life.
What Do Large Blood Clots During a Period Mean?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to know exactly what your large blood clots mean without a proper medical diagnosis. As discussed above, there are a range of reproductive health conditions that can be responsible for this unpleasant –– and sometimes concerning –– symptom.
The best way to discover what is going on with your individual situation is to obtain a proper medical diagnosis from a fibroid specialist. Once you understand the underlying cause of your period clots, you can seek appropriate treatment.
Period Blood Clot Size
You may still be unclear on what qualifies as a small or large-sized blood clot. Blood clots smaller than the size of a quarter are considered normal. However, if you notice period blood clots larger than a quarter, this may be abnormal.
Blood clots can vary widely in size. Some patients even report golf ball-sized blood clots during periods. While not necessarily a cause for alarm, it is important to figure out what is causing your large blood clots.
Many underlying health conditions require prompt attention or they can get worse. Fortunately, our women’s health experts are available to help today.
When to Talk to a Doctor About Period Blood Clots
Although your menstrual blood clots may ultimately be considered normal, the only way to know for sure is to discuss them with a medical professional. In general, we recommend contacting your doctor for a full evaluation when:
- You notice period blood clots arger than a quarter
- You have any concerns about your period
- You experience any changes in your menstrual cycle
- Your period clots are accompanied by other symptoms like heavy bleeding, severe cramps, frequent urination, bloating, digestive issues, low energy, or painful sex
- You are pregnant and pass any size blood clot; this is considered a medical emergency
To make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will discuss relevant symptoms with you, conduct a physical exam, and possibly order blood tests. Additionally, medical imaging studies like ultrasound or MRI are scheduled.
If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, we recommend visiting a fibroid specialist to explore your full range of treatment options. Fibroid treatment is usually recommended when symptoms are interfering with your career, social life, intimate relationships, self-esteem, or ability to perform daily activities.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we aim to inform women about both surgical and non-surgical fibroid treatments. Many believe that a hysterectomy –– the complete surgical removal of the uterus –– is their only option, but this isn’t true. Our fibroid experts specialize in a minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE can eliminate your symptoms without surgery, preserve your uterus and fertility, and quickly get you back to living life to its fullest.