It might have happened to you to notice blood clots during your period. You probably started worrying and typing on the internet about why you see big chunks of jelly-like blood lying on your pad or menstrual panty. You might be stressed thinking that it is a sign of a more critical condition… don’t worry, it has happened to everybody!
In reality, noticing blood clots during your period happens to every menstruated person in their reproductive years and is entirely normal! Periods also have a different level of viscosity, some of them tend to be very liquid, and others are pretty thick and tend to form clots. The thickness of your period can also vary during your period. So if you usually have a very fluid and light flow and notice blood clots appearing on the heaviest day of the cycle, rest assured, there is nothing to worry about!
Why do I have blood clots during my period?
A prevalent misconception is that blood clots are actually pieces of flesh… that is not true. Clots are nothing more than clotted blood that your body hasn’t made more fluid. Especially if you experience a hefty flow, you will likely notice most blood clots forming in the morning. Period blood tends to stagnate at night, and it might also become thicker and takes a dark red or brownish colour.
However, blood clots, especially if they are substantial and come in large quantities, might indicate iron deficiency. Therefore, it is imperative to remember the importance of including iron-rich foods in your diet to recharge your batteries, especially during your period!
Be careful! Suppose you notice a lot of blood clots when you have never had one before. In that case, we suggest you talk to your doctor to check for the possible presence of cysts or a more significant iron deficiency.
What are blood clots?
So what are blood clots, and how do they form? To answer this question, we need to take a step back and tell you everything you need to know about the reproductive system, focusing on the uterus. As you might know, period bleeding happens when the lining of the internal uterine walls (endometrium) detaches and is expulsed through the vagina.
The endometrium is a tissue full of blood vessels and thick with substances that would accommodate an embryo in case of fecondation.
So as we told you before, blood clots are not actually flesh coming from your uterus. Instead, it is a mix of stagnated blood and all the substances that make up your uterine lining.
What do blood clots mean?
Suppose you observe what is considered an average amount of blood clots to you. In that case, it is actually an excellent sign!
Indeed, your body is telling you that you are very fertile as the uterine lining was very thick and dense to accommodate an eventual fertilised embryo.
But what if your clots look very shiny and jelly-like? This happens because your tubular uterine glands have secreted glycogen (a mix full of good things used to nourish an embryo before its implantation)!
While talking about blood clots might seem "embarrassing" or "gross", observing your bleeding can give you natural information on your fertility.
What is the relationship between blood clots and heavy periods?
When menstrual blood flows in large quantities, it makes sure to coagulate (it thickens) so as not to flow too quickly and avoid haemorrhage.
As for menstruation, the blood flow must be naturally evacuated and therefore less thick. The body will then produce a kind of anticoagulant to liquefy the blood to guarantee a continuous flow.
When you have heavy periods, your body may find it challenging to produce enough anticoagulants. This is when you may observe larger clots at the bottom of your menstrual panties or when you go to the toilet. From a few millimetres, they can sometimes go up to 4 cm but don't worry! This is entirely normal!
So are period clots dangerous? First, beware of the pain that accompanies them.
As we previously said, blood clots are not dangerous. However, there are some exceptions in which we suggest you seek medical help right away.
If your period is very heavy
Suppose you observe blood clots and very heavy or hemorrhagic periods. In that case, it is best to consult your gynaecologist or your doctor to check that you are not suffering from menorrhagia (or hemorrhagic periods).
We remind you that we consider "very heavy" or "hemorrhagic" periods that:
- Your period lasts more than 8/7 days.
- Will make you change every hour for several hours or several days. Complete this table with the number of hygienic protections used daily to find your Higham score
- Will make you wake up at night to change your protection.
The copper IUD can also be a source of heavy periods, especially during the first few months after its installation. This is because it creates inflammation of the uterus and excessive growth of the endometrium, which causes heavy periods.
An iron deficiency can cause menorrhagia, but they can also hide other problems such as a polyp, a fibroid or even a hormonal imbalance. That's why it's essential to talk to your doctor if you think you're having a bleeding period.
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain
In this case, it is not the blood clot in itself that is problematic but relatively the abdominal pain if it is extreme. Nowadays, we know that having a lot of pain during your period is not necessarily normal. If you have painful periods to the point that they invalidate you from participating in daily tasks, consider raising the subject with your gynaecologist or doctor, as this may be a sign of endometriosis. In this case, it is common to have heavy bleeding and therefore clots together with this pain.
What size can blood clots be?
The size of blood clots can vary from a few millimetres to several centimetres. A large blood clot is not serious.
However, you can prevent anaemia by helping your body make your bleeding thinner (and therefore reduce clots).
How to reduce blood clots?
There is no actual treatment for blood clots, but here are some tips to help reduce them:
- Foods rich in omega-3, natural anticoagulants (fish, oysters, green vegetables, rapeseed or flaxseed oil, avocado, cauliflower, eggs, milk, almonds, etc.)
- To drink a lot of water.
- Food supplements to prevent iron deficiency, nettle soups or infusion for iron.
- Thyme infusion
- Sage infusion (no more than 3 cups per day)
- Natural sugars rather than refined sugars
We hope that this article has been helpful for you. Whether you notice blood clots in your period blood or not, we advise you to test our collection period panties. While it will not absorb the blood clots, it will keep you dry for up to 12 hours, even for heavy and hemorrhagic flows.