When you think about blood clots, you likely think about the ones that can form inside your veins and cause major health problems. But when you notice a blood clot during your period, it’s in a whole different category.
Menstrual clots aren’t composed entirely of blood—they are partially coagulated blood, but also contain some tissue from your uterine lining and dead skin cells. In many cases, these clots are part of a normal menstrual cycle, though they usually form when your flow is very heavy. And, as you may already know, a heavy flow can be a sign of other medical problems. So how can you tell if these clots are normal or something to worry about? Read on for answers!
When Should I Worry about Menstrual Blood Clots?
As it turns out, the key here is size. If a clot is small—between the size of a nickel and a dime, even on your heaviest day—you’re probably in the clear. Especially if you’re not experiencing unusual pain, cramping or other symptoms. And don’t worry too much about the color, either. Clots come in many shades, from light red to dark, all of which are normal.
So when should you worry about those clots? Once again, size is a factor, so anything larger than a quarter is worth discussing with your doctor. And, if your clots represent a change in your cycle, that’s also worth bringing up at your next gyno appointment. But there’s more. If you’re seeing clots and:
· Experiencing longer periods, lasting more than seven to 10 days
· Your flow is so heavy you have to change your pad or tampon hourly
· You are experiencing regular spotting
· You have lots of pain and cramping
It’s time to talk to your doctor ASAP.
Why am I clotting during my period?
As we discussed, some clots are just part of a normal flow. But other conditions could be causing those worrisome clots, including:
Uterine fibroids: These are tumors that develop in your uterus, but they are almost never cancerous. Still, they can cause symptoms like long, heavy periods, and extreme pelvic pain.
Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the endometrial tissue (it lines the inner portion of your uterus) grows outside.
Adenomyosis: Like endometriosis, this is a condition where endometrial tissue escapes the uterus. But with adenomyosis, the tissue grows into the muscular walls of your uterus.
Uterine polyps: These growths are attached to the inner wall of your uterus, and reach into the uterine cavity. They are not usually cancerous, but can change and become problematic.
Other conditions, including missed miscarriages and even cancer could be causing your large clots, so be sure and speak to your doctor if this is a concern. The good news is that many of these conditions, including fibroids and adenomyosis, can be controlled with minimally invasive treatment options. So get into the office today and start feeling better.