Sometimes, when women are menstruating and pass big clumps in menstrual blood, they get scared. Nevertheless, in most cases passing blood clumps while menstruating isn’t considered dangerous. Nor it is necessarily an indication of any problem. The matter is that when blood pools for a while within the uterus, it clots.
clumps in menstrual blood
Those women whose your menstrual periods are usually light probably won’t notice any clumping. But those who tend to be a heavy bleeder will. Since all blood has a clumping factor, in order to let women’s menstrual blood to flow freely and out of the body, their uterus produces a special anti-clumping agent. In those women who experience extremely heavy flow during menstruation, this anti-clotting agent could be used up before their period is finished and that’s when the menstrual blood starts clumping.
Why does this happen? The matter is that clumps of blood can be pooled in the vagina, and if a woman is lying down and then abruptly gets up, a clump of blood is likely to release from her vagina. Clumps in menstrual blood are simply the shedding of the uterine lining, and therefore shouldn’t be any cause for alarm. In addition, blood clumps can result from a woman’s hormones being in flux, i.e. clumps may appear because of hormonal imbalance. In other words, the wall of the uterus can get thick in case of hormonal imbalance, causing clumps formation.
There are a number of other serious causes of clumps in menstrual blood, for example, endometriosis. This is actually a painful condition leading to many unpleasant symptoms, including the passing of blood clumps. The endometrium (the lining in the womb) sometimes grows in the wrong place like the fallopian tubes. In this case, a woman will be suffering from endometriosis, but the lining will still react to the hormonal cycle and shed blood every month. Nevertheless, the blood attached to organs outside of the uterus doesn’t have a way to go, and will therefore stay in the abdominal cavity, causing scar tissue developing and pain.
Meanwhile, the redder your blood is, the faster it would reach the outside of the body. The darker blood has been in the uterus for a while, and if menstrual blood is accumulating faster than the body is able to rid itself of it, clumps will form.
Miscarriage is another worrying reason of formation of clumps in menstrual blood. In case you are passing large blood blots with a possibility of being pregnant, you might be miscarrying and urgently need to contact your health care provider. In case you have miscarried, you might need a D&C procedure.
Finally, young woman, who are still novices in menstrual periods, might be frightened to see blood clumps in the beginning. In case you pass only several blood clumps, there’s no reason to worry. In the meantime, if you experience passing clumps all day long wile also bleeding excessively, you are recommended to contact your doctor, who can check if everything is well or determine if there’s any problem.
If your menstrual blood is different in color and consistency during your monthly period, it usually means that it is normal. However, sometimes changes in color, thickness, or clotting may point at a menstrual blood problem.
clumps in menstrual blood
Some women might feel embarrassed to ask their doctor about such menstrual blood problems. However, it is very important to talk to a specialist if you have any concerns. Below you will find the answers on some of the frequently asked questions.
What’s going on during my period, and how long should it last?
During women’s menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus thickens, getting ready for pregnancy. After that, during women’s period, their body sheds the uterus lining along with blood, and the normal amount of blood and fluid lost varies from 4 to 12 teaspoons per cycle. On average, the menstrual cycle lasts four weeks (28 days). However, it may be shorter or longer: from 21 days to 35 days. An average period lasts from 3 to 5 days, but it might be shorter or longer as well: 2 to 7 days.
Is it normal to have thicker menstrual blood and clots during a period?
Lots of women sometimes face clots in their menstrual blood, bright red or dark. Usually, such clots are shed on the heaviest days of bleeding, while the presence of many clots in the flow may make you think that your menstrual blood is thicker or denser than usual.
Woman’s body usually releases anticoagulants in order to keep menstrual blood from clotting while it is being released. However, if your period is so heavy that your blood is being rapidly expelled, sometimes there is not enough time for anticoagulants to take effect, which causes clots formation.
In case you experience excessive clotting or your clots are bigger than a quarter, you are recommended to see a health care doctor in order to rule out any conditions that may be the reason of your abnormal period.
Is it normal that my flows are thicker and colors of menstrual blood darker?
From time to time you might notice darker menstrual blood – like brown or even almost black. This happens near the end of your period, and such color change is normal, as it means that this blood is older and isn’t expelled from your body quickly.
Temporary thick heavy flow should not be a cause for worry. Nevertheless, if you experience regular heavy periods, you might need to get a trip to the professional in order to check your blood counts. A lot of women get used to heavy periods, believing that they are normal. However, over time, the excess monthly blood loss can cause anemia and potentially lead to weakness or fatigue. Whenever you feel that something is not well with your period, immediately see your doctor.
What leads to menstrual blood problems?
Although color changes and thickness of menstrual blood are usually considered normal, there’re still several problems which may lead to abnormal clots formation in your menstrual blood or even cause color changes and thickness within your period. Do not forget that it is important to discuss any of your concerns with your health care provider. Among the problems which are able to lead to changes there are:
- miscarriage. Those women who have miscarried might pass blood clots or gray clumps of tissue from their vagina. If you think there’s any chance you are pregnant, see your doctor immediately in case of excessive bleeding or clotting.
- fibroids. Uterine fibroids are also known as leiomyomas, which are non-cancerous tumors forming in the uterus. They don’t necessarily cause symptoms. Actually, the doctors increasingly suggest that a lot of women having small “fibroid” tumors do not have any symptoms at all. However, women with fibroids might see more than usual amounts of menstrual blood. Women with fibroids may also have more clots in their period compared to what they had in the past.
- hormonal changes. Women’s body depends on a delicate balance of progesterone and estrogen. They are responsible for regulating the production and shedding of the uterine lining. If this balance is disturbed, it can cause the development of an excessively thick uterine lining, which may contribute to more bleeding than normal. In addition, it can lead to clots in the blood when the lining is shed.
There are a lot of reasons for hormone changes, for example:
- dramatic weight change.
- side effects from a number of medications, like steroids.
- large uterus. In case a woman’s uterus has been stretched within pregnancy and doesn’t return to its normal size, it might be permanently enlarged, and menstrual blood may have enough time to collect and clot before being released from the body. This can also lead to a dark color or thickening of the menstrual blood flow.
- obstruction of menstrual blood. Whatever hinders or blocks the menstrual flow from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body, it can cause problems like clots, changes in color and thickness of menstrual blood. For example, benign polyps in the uterus might change the flow of blood within your period, or the menstrual flow can be slowed before menopause, as the cervical canal becomes smaller when estrogen levels decreases.
- adenomyosis or endometriosis. Such conditions happen when the tissue forming the uterine lining is located in the wrong place. In case of endometriosis, it develops outside of the uterus, while in case of adenomyosis it would grow in the muscle making up the uterine walls. These related conditions are able to cause abnormal periods and heavy flow, which is likely to increase the menstrual blood problems like clotting or thickness.
How can menstrual blood problems be diagnosed?
According to your symptoms, your health care specialist might order a variety of tests in order to find out the reasons for menstrual blood problems, for example:
- vaginal ultrasound, which uses sound waves in order to take a picture of the inside of woman’s vagina and uterus.
- MRI, which is non-invasive procedure, able to provide an image of growths, like fibroids, which might cause the menstrual bleeding problems.
- blood work test can ordered to find out whether your blood is clotting properly. Such test will also help to make sure that you aren’t suffering from anemia – an iron deficiency caused by loss of blood.
- biopsy, during which your doctor removes a small tissue sample from the lining of woman’s uterus to analyze.
- dilatation and curettage, where the cervix is dilated and a surgeon will scrape off the lining of the uterus and cervix. Such procedure can be used in order to help alleviate excessive bleeding or get tissue samples for analysis.
When is it recommended to see a doctor?
Actually, menstrual bleeding problems are not often very serious. However, considerable blood loss can happen over time, going unnoticed as it is gradual. It is recommended to see the doctor if you have conditions like:
- wan skin and pale complexion.
- fatigue (with common activity).
- frequent bleeding in between periods or irregular periods.
- pale fingernail beds (not pink).
Remember that anemia can be simply diagnosed after a blood test, and iron pills help most women.
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