Why on earth do you sometimes have large, dark clumps of jelly sticking to your menstrual pad or tampon? Shouldn’t menstruation blood be more of a liquid than a jam?
Well, just like blood running throughout your body can clot, so can your period blood. While a clot in your leg can be something to worry about, clots in period are completely normal and nothing to worry about.
WHY ARE THERE CLOTS IN YOUR PERIOD BLOOD?
Our bodies are engineered in a way that blood, with the help of internal chemicals, clots so that we don’t bleed to death. When anticoagulants are released by the body during menstruation, it stops the clot of blood.
These clots are typically red or dark in colour and appear during the heaviest days of a woman’s period.
DO ALL WOMEN GET PERIOD CLOTS?
On the other end of the spectrum are perimenopausal women, whose ovulation and menstruation are beginning to occur further apart. When they finally do start bleeding, their periods might be heavier than they’re used to and contain clots.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOUR HEALTH?
Usually, period clots are nothing to worry about. But in some cases, it can be a sign of a bigger medical problem. It’s possible a sudden change could be due to a miscarriage, disease, or infection. Clot-filled periods could also be a sign of uterine fibroids or small, non-cancerous growths in the uterus.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR?
There are some instances when you should talk to a medical professional. For example, clotting that’s accompanied by weakness and fatigue could be a sign of anaemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen. Teens who experience heavy, clot-filled periods which leave them pale and light-headed should consult a doctor to rule out von Willebrand disease (VWD), a condition that prevents blood from clotting properly, which affects two to four million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women should also consult a professional if they notice a sudden change in their period or if they’re experiencing overall discomfort. Some people might think that ‘normal’ is being miserable, which it doesn’t have to be. Hormonal contraceptives including the pill, patch, and IUD are effective ways to alleviate heavy periods—and the clots that go with them.