Period blood clots: Potential causes and how to manage them

Period blood clots: Potential causes and how to manage them

Nov 19, 2021sophie nelson

Just like us, our periods are all unique. Some people are used to experiencing small blood clots in their period, while for others, the first sign of a period blood clot can cause sudden panic.

The good news is, period blood clots are pretty common and are typically no cause for alarm. Even less so with a pair of absorbent period underwear, as clots can usually be wiped off and flushed away. Easy as!

What are period blood clots?

The simple answer: clots are little blobs of coagulated blood and tissue that have been expelled from your uterus during menstruation. Healthline describes them as ‘gel-like’ and resembling ‘stewed strawberries or the clumps of fruit you find in jam’, varying in colour from bright to dark red.

What causes period blood clots?

So, what’s behind these jelly like blood clots during your period? It’s all about the inner workings of your body. When your uterine lining sheds, it mixes with blood, tissue and mucus. This then pools at the bottom of the uterus before being expelled through the cervix and out the vagina – that’s what you see as your period.

To help this thickened blood and tissue pass, your body releases anticoagulants. But if your blood flow is faster than your body’s ability to produce these anticoagulants, blood clots in your period are formed. The heavier your period is, the more likely you’ll experience blood clots.

Is it normal to have blood clots during your period?

In a ‘normal’, healthy cycle, you’ll only see blood clots occasionally. They’ll usually happen at the start of your period when your flow is the heaviest and be about the size of a 10-cent coin. If this is you, you likely have nothing to worry about. To summarise, according to Healthine, ‘normal’ clots are:

  • Smaller than a 10-cent coin
  • Occur infrequently, mainly towards the start of your period
  • Bright or dark red in colour

If you are passing blood clots regularly or they are bigger than a 10-cent coin, it might be a sign of a medical condition that needs treatment. If you’re worried, go visit your doctor to get it checked out as soon as you can.

What medical conditions can cause period blood clots?

While a heavy period is the most common cause, there are certain medical conditions that can make blood clots during your period more likely or frequent. It’s important to be aware of these and to know when it’s more serious. These potential causes include:

  • Fibroids

Fibroids are muscular tumours (typically not cancerous) that grow in the uterine wall. They can cause heavy or irregular bleeding, pain during sex, lower back pain, fertility problems and a swollen abdomen. As you get older, they become more common.

  • Endometriosis

Endo happens when cells similar to the uterine lining – called endometrial cells – grow outside the uterus where they shouldn’t be. Endometriosis can be debilitating. Often causing painful periods, pain during sex, fertility issues, pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding and sometimes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea during your period.

  • Adenomyosis

For sufferers of adenomyosis, the uterine lining grows into the uterine wall, causing it to thicken and enlarge. This often leads to longer periods and heavy bleeding.

  • Cancer

Cancer of the reproductive organs is a rare cause of heavy menstrual bleeding.

  • Hormonal imbalance

A common symptom of a hormonal imbalance is irregular periods. They could be more frequent, less frequent, shorter or longer than usual. Off-balance levels of either oestrogen or progesterone can also cause heavy bleeding. This could be caused by perimenopause, menopause, significant weight loss or weight gain, high-stress levels or other menstrual conditions.

  • Miscarriage

Early pregnancy loss – often before you even know you’re pregnant – can cause heavy bleeding, cramps and clotting.

When to seek medical attention

While period underwear can be incredibly helpful, there are situations where seeking medical advice is crucial. If your period blood clots are larger than 2cm in diameter, you're passing them frequently, or if you suspect any of the potential causes mentioned above, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional.

Additionally, if there's any chance you could be pregnant and you're experiencing blood clots, seek immediate medical attention.

How does period underwear work with clots?

Usually, period blood clots are more of an inconvenience than a cause for concern. To make your life (and the clean up!) easier, check out our range of leak-proof period underwear. The super-absorbent lining will absorb extra blood and make sure clots don’t leak out. When you’re ready, you can simply wipe them off or rinse out your pair and pop them in the wash to deal with later.

Choosing the best period underwear for blood clots

Because clots generally mean a heavy period, it’s best to go with period underwear that has moderate to heavy absorbency. Or if you often wake up to find clots have ruined your favourite undies, add a pair or two of our heavy overnight range to your collection to save the stress.

 

While blood clots during your period are generally common and no cause for alarm, it’s so important to stay attuned to your body and be aware of the potential medical conditions that could be contributing to them. Remember, if you have concerns or experience larger or frequent clots, seeking medical advice is always a good idea.



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