Through a blood clot?What it means if you’re not on your period

Most people with a uterus or uterus pass blood and gel-like blood clots, called clots, each month, lasting an average of 5 to 7 days. However, some people may have irregular menstrual cycles and may pass blood clots outside of their monthly cycle.

This article explains what blood clots are and when they may be of concern. It will also cover the causes, diagnosis and treatment options for abnormal blood clotting.

What does it mean when you pass a blood clot?

It is completely normal to notice some blood clots during your period.Also known as menstrual clotsthese are made up of blood and accumulated uterine tissue called endometrial lining. The color of the clot can vary from bright red to a darker crimson.

Menstrual clots usually occur when menstrual bleeding is heavy. They are more common during the first two days of your period, which is usually the heaviest part.

For those with heavy flow, excessive bleeding and clot formation may last longer than normal. About 33 percent of uterine patients have heavy periods to the point that they soak their pads or tampons for several hours every hour.

Menstrual clots greater than one-quarter are considered heavy bleeding. In general, the occasional smaller clot is less of a concern.

When should I be concerned about blood clots?

Spotting, where you bleed only a few drops between periods, is not uncommon. Bleeding between periods can become even more worrisome if you regularly pass large blood clots. This can be a sign of a medical condition, such as uterine fibroids, cancer, bleeding disorders, etc.

A blood clot is considered abnormal if it is larger than a quarter and occurs frequently. If you have heavy bleeding on or between periods, or if your clot is larger than a quarter, talk to a healthcare professional. Here are other signs of heavy menstrual bleeding:

  • Bleeding that seeps into the pad or tampon every two hours or less
  • Need to use both pads and tampons to control bleeding
  • Need to change tampons or pads overnight
  • Bleeding that prevents you from doing your usual activities, work, or school
  • Fatigue (feeling overly tired)
  • shortness of breath
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Spots between cycles are considered typical. However, if there is a large blood clot or heavy bleeding between periods, you will need to call your doctor.

What causes abnormal blood clotting?

Many factors and conditions can cause abnormal blood clotting, including:

  • uterine fibroids: These are noncancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus and can cause heavy or painful periods, as well as blood clots.
  • endometriosis: In this case, the lining of the uterus is located in other organs outside the uterus, such as the ovaries. This can lead to irregular periods and blood clots.
  • Adenomyosis: This is a condition in which the endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus breaks through and begins to grow into the uterine wall. This can lead to heavy periods and blood clots.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Perimenopause is the pre-menopause phase, which is diagnosed when your periods have stopped for at least a year, which causes irregular shedding of the lining of your uterus. This can lead to blood clotting and heavy bleeding.
  • Medical Conditions: Hypothyroidismwhich occurs when your thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)that is, when multiple cysts grow on the ovary, it can cause blood clotting and heavy bleeding.
  • Miscarriage: Miscarriage can happen very early, sometimes before you even know you’re pregnant. Clotting and bleeding are common symptoms.
  • Uterine or cervical cancer: This is a potential but unlikely source of blood clots.
  • Uterine or cervical polyps: These are growths on the uterus or cervical canal that connect the uterus to the vagina. These can cause massive bleeding and blood clots.

From spotting to bleeding: the spectrum of abnormal uterine bleeding

What are the risks of passing a blood clot?

Prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding is a common cause of iron-deficiency anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells in the body. In fact, one study found that about 63 percent of men who menstruate also suffer from anemia.

Symptoms of anemia may include:

  • fatigue or low energy
  • weakness
  • pale complexion
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty concentrating
  • dizzy

Consult a healthcare provider if you develop symptoms of anemia.

How is a thrombotic condition diagnosed?

Your doctor may ask you questions about your medical history and periods to find out what’s causing your irregular clotting. You may be asked to keep a period diary to keep track of the severity of your period, whether you have clots, and how many period products you use, such as pads or tampons.

Next, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam. They may also want to do some tests, including:

  • Blood test: This can be used to check for hormone and blood clot problems, as well as low iron levels.
  • Pap test: Your cervix is ​​swabbed to get a sample of cells to see if there are any unusual changes that could cause heavy bleeding and/or clots.
  • endometrial biopsy: During this procedure, a sample of tissue from your uterus is taken to check for abnormal cells.
  • Ultrasound: This procedure uses sound waves to check blood flow and look for fibroids or endometriosis in the uterus.

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To diagnose your condition, your doctor will take your medical history, perform a physical exam, and may order specific tests to better understand what’s going on.

How is a blood clot treated?

Treatment for blood clots will depend on the underlying cause and may include medication or surgery.

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Medication options may vary depending on the situation:

  • Hormonal contraceptive methods can often control heavy bleeding caused by endometriosis, PCOS, and fibroids.
  • Hormone therapy may help with heavy menstrual bleeding that occurs during perimenopause. This treatment reduces perimenopausal symptoms by replacing hormones that naturally stop being produced during this time.
  • Tranexamic acid is a prescription medication used to treat severe menstrual bleeding. It comes in tablet form and is taken every month at the start of your period.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)such as Advil (ibuprofen), may help with heavy bleeding, including blood clots, and relieve menstrual cramps.

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If you need to remove polyps or fibroids, surgery may be an option for you. Your doctor may also recommend surgery if medication doesn’t resolve the problem. Potential surgeries include:

  • Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) For the treatment of fibroids. In the UAE, blood vessels leading to the uterus are blocked, preventing the blood flow that allows fibroids to grow.
  • myomectomy It is surgery to remove uterine fibroids without removing the uterus.
  • hysteroscopy Can be used to remove fibroids or to stop bleeding caused by fibroids.
  • endometrial ablation Remove the lining of the uterus. It can stop or reduce menstrual bleeding.
  • hysterectomy It is surgical removal of the uterus. Hysterectomy is used to treat uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and endometrial cancer. After the uterus is removed, you will no longer have periods and will no longer be able to get pregnant.

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There is no need to worry about passing small blood clots during your period. However, often passing a large clot larger than a quarter and bleeding profusely between periods requires a call to your doctor.

Abnormal blood clotting can be caused by hormonal imbalances, certain medical conditions, and certain types of cancer.

To diagnose conditions related to blood clots, your doctor will take your medical history, perform a physical examination, and may order specific tests.

Treatment of abnormal blood clotting may include drugs and surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it normal to have a golf ball-sized blood clot?

    A blood clot larger than a quarter is not normal. If you develop large blood clots during or outside your period, you should talk to your doctor. The cause of the bleeding may be serious and should be investigated.

  • Why am I passing jelly-like blood clots?

    It’s completely normal to experience jelly-like blood clots on days with heavier periods. Jelly-like clots may include blood, dead cells, and the top layer of the endometrial lining.

  • Why am I bleeding suddenly if I don’t have my period?

    Abnormal vaginal bleeding may occur if you have perimenopause, fibroids, certain cancers, and problems related to hormone imbalances. It can also be triggered by a miscarriage or other pregnancy-related problems.