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Blood clots during your period: what do they mean?

Normally, period fluid should be liquidy and burgundy or dark red in color, but many women observe menstruation clots of blood after waking up or sitting still for a long time. This happens when blood starts coagulating. Find out what menstrual clots might be a sign of in this article.

Menstrual discharge consists of old parts of endometrial tissue, blood from small vessels that get damaged when the uterus sheds its lining, and mucus from the cervical glands.

Blood contains anticoagulants, which are enzymes that keep it from clotting. Thanks to these enzymes, the discharge is liquid and comes out quickly.

With a heavy period, anticoagulants fail to do their job; blood coagulates and clots appear.

Normally, in one period, the number of clots should not exceed 10, their size — 0.4 in (1 cm), and the total amount of discharge is not more than 2.7–3.4 fl oz (80–100 ml).

If clots appear every month, this may indicate some gynecological disorders or blood diseases. In this case, you should remember their color, size, quantity, and consistency, and share this information with your doctor.

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When preparing for pregnancy, for instance, you should monitor your menstrual flow very closely, in particular, to see if there are clots.

Clots can be the norm during the first days of heavy bleeding (usually days 1–2 of menstruation, but not every cycle). Otherwise, they may indicate certain gynecological disorders:

  • polyp or endometrial hyperplasia
  • uterine myoma
  • adenomyosis (abnormal growth and shedding of the endometrium)

Clotting might also be associated with oncology and blood coagulability disorders.

All these diseases can affect the ability to conceive. In this case, clots signal a problem in the body.

Therefore, with regular clots, consult a doctor on day 5–7 of the cycle.

To take timely measures and not to miss any severe health condition, you should know what period clots are considered to be normal/abnormal. 

If the blood clots during period are not larger than a quarter and happen occasionally, you have no reason to worry about. Also keep it in mind that period clots are not life-threatening, unlike vein clots, for example. 

Sometimes you may notice that blood clots change in color from red to almost black. This change is absolutely normal. 
Also, if you believe you’re pregnant and have noticed blood clots, it’s a sign to visit your doctor as soon as possible to exclude the risk of miscarriage. 

However, if you notice large clots on a regular basis, you’d better make an appointment with your ob-gyn to check for any complications. 

Normal clots:

  • Have a small size
  • Occur occasionally, usually somewhere at the beginning of your menstrual cycle.

Abnormal blood clots:

  • Are larger than a quarter
  • Occur frequently.

Blood clots are a normal part of our reproductive system. While some of them at times may look scaring and alarming, even larger clots aren't worth your attention unless they happen on a regular basis.

If you regularly notice large blood clots, period with excessive blood loss, or any other extraordinary symptoms, visit your healthcare provider for the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. 






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