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Blood Clots During Menstruation: All You Need to Know

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Menstruation, commonly known as periods, is a biological process that occurs every month in women or Assigned Females at Birth (AFAB). 

It is a crucial part of women’s reproductive health and involves the shedding of the uterine lining when the egg remains unfertilized.

While menstrual bleeding varies from woman to woman, it has several common symptoms. One such common symptom of menstruation is blood clots.

Small blood clots during menstruation are common, but large and unusually thick clots may indicate a serious condition.

This article will discuss the signs and factors causing menstrual blood clots and when to seek medical help.

What are Menstrual Blood Clots

Menstrual blood clots are jelly-like or semi-solid lumps of blood, proteins, and tissues from the uterine lining that may pass through menstrual flow.

Normal blood clots during menstruation are small, frequent, and not a cause of concern. However, large clots may also happen in some cases, which is alarming. 

Additionally, they are often accompanied by period symptoms like increased menstrual flow, cramps, weakness due to blood loss, and mood swings.

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  • Signs of Normal vs Abnormal Blood Clots

    FatigueSource: Pixelshot
    Woman suffering from Fatigue

    During menstruation, it is common for women to experience blood clots with the menstrual flow. Yet, it is important to know the signs of normal and abnormal blood clots to get prompt treatment.

    Normal blood clots during periods are usually small (about 1 inch in diameter). It may vary in color, often appearing dark red or maroon.

    The frequency of these blood clots is occasional, and they are usually soft and easily break apart when touched.

    On the contrary, thick blood clots during menstruation are abnormal. These are usually bigger than the size of a grape.

    Abnormal blood clots are often followed by heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding. Sometimes, it may cause changes in the regular menstrual cycle.

    If a woman is experiencing abnormal blood clots along with symptoms like fatigue, fever, or bruising, it can be a cause of concern. 

    This requires prompt medical action since these symptoms often indicate underlying health conditions like tumors or abnormal uterus growth.

    Warning
    If you are experiencing golf ball-size-like blood clots during your menstruation, it is best to consult your doctor immediately. It is a sign of hypercoagulation and can be very dangerous.

    What Causes Blood Clots During Menstruation

    There are several causes of blood clots during menstruation. Some of the most well-known causes of blood clots during this phase of menstruation include:

    • Heavy menstrual bleeding: During periods, the body releases anticoagulants to thin the uterine lining so it can pass easily. When heavy menstrual bleeding happens, the body may not produce enough of these substances, leading to blood clots.
    • Hormonal Fluctuations: According to research, fluctuations in sex hormone levels can change bleeding patterns as a period symptom. Fluctuations in levels of sex hormones during Perimenopause or in conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are also common and can lead to blood clots.  
    • Uterine Polyps or Fibroids: Conditions like fibroids (growth of the uterus) or polyps (tissue growth in a part of the body) can disrupt the ability of the uterus to contract properly. This can cause the blood to collect and form clots due to blood coagulation within the uterus.
    • Underlying Health Conditions: Individuals with blood clotting conditions usually experience blood clots. Other conditions like Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can also result in heavy bleeding and cause blood clots.
    • Medications and Birth Control: Certain medications and hormonal birth control can affect hormonal levels in women. This can change the menstrual pattern and increase the risk of blood clot formation during periods.
    • Miscarriage or Ectopic Pregnancy: Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy can cause blood clots during periods due to the expulsion of fetal tissue or abnormal pregnancy material. It can lead to heavier bleeding and clot formation.
    • Other Reproductive Health Issues: In the case of other reproductive health issues like infections or structural problems of the uterus, heavy blood flow is natural. Women can often experience blood clots in these cases.
    Glossary
    Endometriosis is a condition where tissue, which is like the lining of the uterus, grows outside it. It can cause pain and sometimes fertility issues in affected individuals.
    Adenomyosis refers to a condition where the lining of the uterus grows into its muscular wall. It can lead to symptoms like heavy bleeding, severe cramps, and an enlarged uterus.

    Treatments for Menstrual Blood Clots

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsSource: getty_images
    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

    Popularly, doctors usually suggest hormonal contraceptives and other medications like Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). They can reduce the heavy menstrual flow by 50% and, in turn, prevent blood clots.

    Hormonal contraceptives may also be beneficial in slowing the growth of fibroids and other uterine problems causing blood clots.

    In severe cases, doctors may ask individuals to undergo surgery to remove the tumors or the extra growth of the uterine tissue. The type of surgery usually depends on the size and location of the growth.

    Conclusion

    Blood clots during menstruation are a common occurrence, but abnormal and large blood clots often indicate underlying health conditions.

    The blood clots are semi-solid or jelly-like masses accompanied by several symptoms. These symptoms include period cramps, high blood flow, weakness, and fatigue.

    These blood clots usually appear due to coagulation of blood due to heavy flow, fluctuations in hormone levels, or abnormal growth in the tissue of the uterus. Additionally, genetic disorders may lead to changes in blood consistency.

    Doctors usually prescribe hormonal contraceptives, NSAIDs, and surgery to keep the menstrual blood clots under control.

    Constantly avoiding prompt treatment can often lead to serious side effects. It may sometimes lead to infertility or serious blood conditions, posing a life threat.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is blood clots during menstruation normal?

    Yes, blood clots during menstruation can be normal. They often result from the shedding of the uterine lining and the natural clotting process. 
    However, unusually large or frequent clots may indicate underlying issues. It is best to consult a doctor in these cases.

    What tests are used to diagnose the cause of blood clots during menstruation?

    The tests that are used to diagnose the cause of menstrual blood clots include pelvic ultrasound to detect uterine abnormalities and blood tests to examine hormonal imbalances.
    Experts may also use imaging studies like MRI or CT scans to find any abnormalities in the reproductive organs.

    Can natural remedies completely stop menstrual blood clots?

    No, natural remedies cannot stop menstrual blood clots completely. However, dietary changes, herbal supplements, and heat therapy may help reduce its symptoms for some individuals.
    Thus, one should consult an expert first to receive proper treatment and experience relief completely.

    What are the long-term effects of experiencing blood clots during menstruation?

    The long-term effects of frequent or severe menstrual blood clots may include anemia due to blood loss, fatigue, and disruption of daily activities. 
    Additionally, underlying conditions that result in the clotting may lead to complications like infertility or an increased risk of certain reproductive problems.

    Can birth control impact blood clots during one’s periods?

    Yes, certain types of birth control can impact blood clots during menstruation. Hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills may regulate menstrual flow, reducing clot formation for some individuals. 
    On the other hand, hormonal IUDs or implants may cause irregular bleeding patterns, leading to increased clotting in some cases.

    Citations:
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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for CheapMedicineShop.com. With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for CheapMedicineShop.com, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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