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Menstrual Clots, Normal or Serious?

Who Could Get Menstrual Clots?

Menstrual clots, also known as menstrual blood clots or uterine clots, can occur in individuals who menstruate. It is a normal part of the menstrual cycle for many people especially during child bearing age.

Menstrual clots can also be experienced by people with various underlying conditions, such as:

Uterine fibroids:

These are non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, leading to the formation of clots.

Adenomyosis:

This condition occurs when the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow into the muscular wall of the uterus. It can cause heavy bleeding and blood clots during menstruation.

Endometriosis:

This is a condition in which the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. It can cause heavy and painful periods, including the passage of blood clots.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle, leading to irregular or heavy bleeding and the formation of clots.

Hormonal imbalances:

Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as oestrogen and progesterone, can affect the uterine lining’s shedding during menstruation and result in clots.

Miscarriage:

In cases of early pregnancy loss or miscarriage, passing clots or tissue may be experienced along with bleeding.

It’s important to note that while menstrual clots can be a normal part of the menstrual cycle, if you are experiencing unusually large or frequent clots, severe pain, prolonged bleeding, or any other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

What Are Menstrual Clots?

While every menstruation cycle can vary in length, amount and frequency, finding your first menstrual blood clot can be a scary experience especially if you don’t know what it is.

Menstrual Blood Colt on a Feminine Hygiene Pad.

Menstrual clots are jelly-like or solid masses of blood that can be passed during menstruation. They resemble stewed strawberries or the clumps of fruit you may sometimes find in jam and vary in colour from bright to dark red.

Menstrual clots can vary in size, ranging from small specks to larger masses. They are often dark red or maroon in color and have a gelatinous or jelly-like consistency. Some individuals may experience occasional small clots, while others may pass larger or more frequent clots.

While the presence of menstrual clots is generally considered normal, excessively large clots (bigger than a five pence/quarter), prolonged or heavy bleeding, severe pain, or other concerning symptoms may require medical attention, as they could indicate an underlying condition or hormonal imbalance.

When Are You Likely See Menstrual Clots?

The presence of menstrual clots can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience them. Here are some instances when you might see menstrual clots:

Heavy flow:

Menstrual clots are more likely to be seen when the menstrual flow is heavy. If you have a heavier menstrual flow, you may notice the presence of clots in your menstrual blood. Bleeding is considered heavy if you change your tampon or menstrual pad every two hours or less, for several hours.

First few days of the bleed:

Menstrual clots are often more common during the first few days of the period when the flow is typically heaviest. As the uterus contracts and expels the menstrual blood, clots can be passed along with the flow.

Large clots:

If you have larger clots, they may be more noticeable when you have your bleed. Large clots are generally more common when the flow is heavy and the blood is expelled quickly, allowing for clot formation.

Irregular periods:

Some individuals with irregular periods may experience a heavier flow when they do have their periods. This increased flow can lead to the formation and passage of menstrual clots.

If the clots are small and only occasional, they’re usually nothing to worry about. Unlike clots formed in your veins, menstrual clots by themselves aren’t dangerous.

It’s important to note that while the presence of menstrual clots is generally considered normal, excessively large clots (larger than a five pence/quarter), prolonged or heavy bleeding, severe pain, or other concerning symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions or abnormalities.

Marvellous Tip: You should seek immediate medical help if you’re passing clots and think you could be pregnant. That could be a sign of miscarriage.

Where Do They Come From?

Menstrual clots originate from the lining of the uterus called the endometrium. During each menstrual cycle, the endometrium thickens in preparation for a potential pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the body releases hormones called prostaglandins, which trigger the uterus to contract and shed its lining.

When the uterus contracts to expel the menstrual blood, it also expels the endometrial tissue. The blood vessels in the endometrium rupture, leading to bleeding. The blood released mixes with the shed tissue and other fluids, forming menstrual blood.

Sometimes, the flow of menstrual blood is faster and more forceful, which can hinder proper anticoagulation (prevention of clotting). As a result, the blood within the uterus may coagulate and form clots before being expelled. These clots are composed of coagulated blood, fragments of the endometrial tissue, and other components.

This mixture is then expelled from the uterus through the cervix and out the vagina.

Why Do They Happen?

Menstrual clots, also known as menstrual blood clots or uterine clots, can happen due to several factors related to the menstrual cycle and the physiology of the uterus. Here are some reasons why menstrual clots occur:

Heavy menstrual flow:

Menstrual clots are more likely to occur when the menstrual flow is heavy. Heavy menstrual flow can result from various factors, such as hormonal imbalances, uterine abnormalities, or certain medical conditions like uterine fibroids or adenomyosis. When the flow is heavy, the blood is expelled from the uterus more quickly, which can hinder proper anticoagulation (prevention of clotting) and lead to the formation of clots.

Rapid uterine contractions:

During menstruation, the uterus contracts to shed its lining. If the contractions are forceful and rapid, the blood is expelled more forcefully, increasing the likelihood of clot formation. These rapid contractions may occur due to higher levels of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) or increased sensitivity of the uterus to prostaglandins.

Prolonged menstrual duration:

Menstrual clots are more likely to form when the menstrual duration is longer than usual. If the bleeding continues for an extended period, the blood within the uterus has more time to coagulate and form clots before being expelled.

Hormonal imbalances:

Fluctuations or imbalances in hormonal levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can affect the uterine lining’s shedding during menstruation. Hormonal imbalances can lead to heavier or prolonged bleeding, increasing the chances of clot formation.

Uterine abnormalities or conditions:

Certain uterine abnormalities or conditions can contribute to the formation of menstrual clots. Examples include uterine fibroids (non-cancerous growths in the uterus), adenomyosis (when the tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscular wall), or endometriosis (the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus). These conditions can cause heavy bleeding and lead to the passage of clots.

It’s important to note that while menstrual clots can be a normal part of the menstrual cycle for many individuals, excessively large or frequent clots, severe pain, prolonged bleeding, or any other concerning symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out underlying conditions or abnormalities.

If you regularly pass large clots, there are many effective treatments your doctor may recommend to help control heavy bleeding and reduce the clots.

Bloody Marvellous Limited goes to great lengths to ensure that, to the best of its knowledge, the information provided on this website and its social media channels is correct at the time of publication and/or subsequent modification. This information is solely for general purposes. It has been prepared in order to provide information, education and related products/services offered by Bloody Marvellous and Associated Organisations.

Menstrual Cramps As Bad As A Heart Attack?

Who could suffer from Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea can affect women and girls who experience menstruation. It is estimated that up to 90% of menstruating women experience some degree of dysmenorrhea at some point in their lives. The condition often starts during adolescence, shortly after a girl begins menstruating, and can continue into adulthood. It is important to note that while dysmenorrhea is more common in women, transgender men and non-binary individuals assigned female at birth who still experience menstruation can also be affected by dysmenorrhea.

What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is a medical term that refers to painful menstrual cramps that occur just before or during menstruation. The condition is more common in younger women and often improves with age or after childbirth.

John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, says patients have told him the cramping pain is “almost as bad as having a heart attack.”

While the exact cause of dysmenorrhea is not always known, it can be associated with certain factors, such as:

  1. Primary Dysmenorrhea: This is the most common type of dysmenorrhea and typically occurs in the absence of any underlying pelvic disorder. It usually begins within a few years of starting menstruation. Primary dysmenorrhea is thought to result from the release of certain hormones called prostaglandins, which cause the uterine muscles to contract and can lead to pain and cramping. The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person.
  2. Secondary Dysmenorrhea: This type of dysmenorrhea is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), adenomyosis, or ovarian cysts. It can occur at any age, even after many years of pain-free menstruation. The pain associated with secondary dysmenorrhea may be more severe and persistent compared to primary dysmenorrhea.

The common symptoms of dysmenorrhea include:

  1. Menstrual pain or cramps in the lower abdomen or back.
  2. Intense, throbbing pain that may radiate to the thighs.
  3. Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  4. Headaches or dizziness.
  5. Fatigue or weakness.
  6. A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the abdomen.

When Is It Likely To Affect You?

Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstrual cramps, typically occurs just before or during menstruation. The timing of dysmenorrhea can vary from person to person, but it commonly starts a day or two before the onset of menstruation and may continue for a few days into the menstrual period.

In the case of primary dysmenorrhea, which is not caused by an underlying medical condition, the pain often begins shortly after the menstruating bleed starts, typically during her teenage years. It can persist into adulthood but may improve with age or after childbirth.

Secondary dysmenorrhea, which is caused by an underlying medical condition, can occur at any age, even if a person has previously experienced pain-free menstruation. The timing and duration of pain in secondary dysmenorrhea may be influenced by the underlying condition responsible for the symptoms.

It’s important to note that the severity and duration of dysmenorrhea can vary among individuals. Some may experience mild discomfort, while others may have more severe pain that significantly impacts their daily lives.

Where could it affect you physically & mentally?

Dysmenorrhea can have both physical and psychological effects on individuals who experience it. Here are some ways dysmenorrhea can affect both aspects:

Physical Effects:

Menstrual Pain:

Dysmenorrhea is characterized by painful menstrual cramps in the lower abdomen, which can range from mild to severe. The pain may be throbbing, cramping, or sharp and can last for hours or even days. It can interfere with daily activities and disrupt sleep.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms:

Some individuals with dysmenorrhea may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. These symptoms may be caused by the release of prostaglandins, which can affect the digestive system.

Fatigue and Weakness:

The pain and discomfort associated with dysmenorrhea can lead to fatigue and feelings of weakness. This can impact a person’s energy levels and ability to engage in daily tasks.

Headaches:

Some individuals may experience headaches or migraines as a result of dysmenorrhea. These headaches may be related to hormonal changes and the release of prostaglandins.

Psychological Effects:

Anxiety and Stress:

Dealing with chronic pain and discomfort can lead to increased anxiety and stress levels. The anticipation of monthly pain and its impact on daily life can contribute to feelings of worry and distress.

Mood Changes:

Dysmenorrhea can be accompanied by mood swings, irritability, or emotional sensitivity. Hormonal fluctuations and the physical discomfort can contribute to these mood changes.

Depression:

In some cases, dysmenorrhea can contribute to or worsen symptoms of depression. The chronic pain and disruption to daily life can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and decreased enjoyment in activities.

Impact on Daily Functioning:

Severe dysmenorrhea can limit a person’s ability to participate in social, academic, or work-related activities. This can lead to frustration, isolation, and a sense of reduced quality of life.

It is important to seek medical advice if dysmenorrhea significantly impacts your physical or mental well-being. A healthcare professional can provide appropriate diagnosis and management options to help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

Why does it matter to deal with it?

Getting medical help for dysmenorrhea is important for several reasons:

  1. Accurate Diagnosis: A healthcare professional can help determine the cause of your dysmenorrhea. While primary dysmenorrhea is common and typically not a sign of an underlying medical condition, there are instances where secondary dysmenorrhea may be present. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for appropriate treatment and management.
  2. Rule Out Underlying Conditions: Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), adenomyosis, or ovarian cysts. These conditions may require specific medical interventions or treatments. By seeking medical help, you can rule out or diagnose any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your dysmenorrhea.
  3. Pain Management: Medical professionals can provide guidance on managing and alleviating the pain associated with dysmenorrhea. They can recommend over-the-counter pain medications, prescribe stronger pain relievers if necessary, or suggest other pain management techniques.
  4. Lifestyle Recommendations: Healthcare providers can offer advice on lifestyle modifications that may help reduce the severity of dysmenorrhea symptoms. This can include dietary changes, exercise, relaxation techniques, heat therapy, or alternative therapies.
  5. Hormonal Options: For some individuals, hormonal interventions such as hormonal birth control pills, patches, or intrauterine devices (IUDs) may help regulate menstruation and alleviate pain associated with dysmenorrhea.
  6. Fertility Concerns: If you are experiencing difficulties conceiving or have concerns about fertility, medical evaluation and management of dysmenorrhea can help identify any underlying reproductive issues that may be affecting your fertility.
  7. Emotional Support: Dealing with chronic pain or a disruptive menstrual cycle can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Seeking medical help can provide you with emotional support and resources to cope with the physical and psychological effects of dysmenorrhea.

Marvellous Tip: Do not let your healthcare professional only prescribe Hormonal Options without getting checked for Underlying Conditions, it could save Fertility issues later.

It is important to remember that dysmenorrhea is a common condition, but if your pain is severe, significantly interferes with your daily activities, or worsens over time, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your individual situation, provide appropriate treatment options, and help improve your overall quality of life.

Ways To Relieve Dysmenorrhea

There are several pain relief methods that can be helpful in managing dysmenorrhea. Here are some common approaches:

  1. Over-the-counter pain medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, are often recommended for relieving menstrual pain. These medications help reduce inflammation and alleviate cramping. It’s important to follow the recommended dosage and guidelines provided by the package or your healthcare professional.
  2. Heat therapy: Applying heat to the lower abdomen can help relax the muscles and relieve pain. You can use a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or take a warm bath or shower. Heat therapy is generally safe and can provide soothing relief.
  3. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): TENS involves applying mild electrical pulses to specific areas of the body using electrode patches. It can help alleviate pain by blocking pain signals and promoting the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals.
  4. Exercise and physical activity: Engaging in light exercise, such as walking or gentle stretching, can help improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate menstrual pain. Regular physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle may also help prevent the severity of dysmenorrhea.
  5. Relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or guided imagery, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which may help manage menstrual pain.
  6. Dietary modifications: Making dietary changes can potentially alleviate dysmenorrhea symptoms for some individuals. This may include reducing the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in salt, as they can contribute to water retention and worsen bloating and discomfort.
  7. Herbal remedies: Some herbal remedies, such as ginger, cinnamon, or chamomile tea, may provide relief from menstrual pain. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before using herbal remedies to ensure they are safe and appropriate for you.
  8. Prescription medications: In cases of severe dysmenorrhea or when over-the-counter options are not sufficient, your healthcare professional may prescribe stronger pain medications or hormonal treatments, such as birth control pills or hormonal patches, to help manage the pain and regulate your menstrual cycle.

It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of pain relief methods can vary from person to person. It may be helpful to try different approaches or a combination of methods to find what works best for you.

Bloody Marvellous Limited goes to great lengths to ensure that, to the best of its knowledge, the information provided on this website and its social media channels is correct at the time of publication and/or subsequent modification. This information is solely for general educational purposes. It has been prepared in order to provide information, education and related products/services offered by Bloody Marvellous and Associated Organisations.