Do you pass blood clots during your period? Are they large or small? What color are they, bright red, purple or black? Do these clots cause pain or accompany heavy menstrual bleeding? These are some of the questions I ask when supporting ladies in our community to harmonize their menstrual cycles. More often than not, these women tell me that they do notice dark blood clots during their period, and that these clots are often accompanied by menstrual cramps and/or heavy bleeding.
What about you?
It can be alarming to see big, dark blood clots during menstruation. You may be asking yourself: Is it normal to pass clots? What causes this? And what can I do about it?
In this post, I’ll help address concerns you may have about clotting during your period.
Is it normal to have blood clots during your period?
To answer this question, we first need to know just what normal is. Perfect menstrual blood should have the following characteristics:
Color of the Menstrual Blood: Normal red, not too pale and not too dark
Quantity of the Menstrual Blood: Not too heavy and not too little, usually between 4 and 12 teaspoons each cycle
Consistency of the Menstrual Blood: Not too thick and not too thin, without clots
This is, of course, an ideal situation. In reality, many women do not meet the criteria for perfect menstrual blood. And by the consensus of the medical community, it’s considered normal to pass blood clots during your period, as along as:
The clots are not as big as the size of a quarter;
The clots do not accompany severe menstrual cramps or abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding;
And the clots do not occur in between periods or during pregnancy.
If your blood clots meet one of the criteria listed above, it’s important that you see your gynecologist and get a checkup.
What causes blood clotting during your period?
During menstruation, a woman’s body sheds the uterus lining along with blood. To facilitate the blood flow, our bodies typically release anticoagulants to keep menstrual blood from blotting. But when the period is heavy and blood is being expelled rapidly, there’s not enough time for anticoagulants to work, which enables clots to form.
Common causes of blood clots during periods include:
Hormonal changes. As you know, estrogen and progesterone regulate the production and shedding of the uterine lining. When this delicate balance is disturbed, it can lead to the development of an excessively thick uterine lining. This thickness can contribute to more bleeding than usual. It can also cause clots in the menstrual blood when the lining is shed. Hormonal changes can be related to weight gain, pregnancy, menopause, or lifestyle changes in a woman’s life. Learn more about hormone imbalance.
Uterine Fibroids. Uterine fibroids or leiomyomas are non-malignant tumors of the uterus. Women with uterine fibroids have increased menstrual bleeding and are also prone to pass blood clots during their period. Learn more about fibroids.
Endometriosis or Adenomyosis. In endometriosis, the tissue of the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, whereas in adenomyosis, it grows in the uterine muscle. Abnormal periods with heavy blood flow can occur in both of these conditions, so can blood clots.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). In PCOS, irregular hormone levels lead to symptoms such as weight gain, abnormal hair growth, irregularities in menstruation, prolonged or heavy bleeding during menses, and the passage of blood clots during menses.
How to prevent or reduce blood clots during your period
Now that you understand the likely causes of menstrual clotting, you can take steps to address these root causes. And when you do, you’ll not only take care of the blood clotting during your period, but also take care of the accompanying period pain, heavy menstrual bleeding and PMS.
Here are some tips:
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Keep warm during menstruation. Avoid exposing yourself to cold, damp environments, e.g., swimming, wearing midriffs, or sitting on a cold or wet floor during menstruation. Also avoid eating cold and raw foods during your period. Coldness constricts blood vessels, which can cause the formation of blood clots or make them worse.
Reduce stress and relax. Stress and unpleasant moods tense up the uterus and inhibit a smooth blood flow. So it’s very important that you keep yourself relaxed and calm during menstruation.
Take Fish Oil and Vitamin E Supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are anticoagulants, which means that they can help prevent and reduce the formation of blood clots.
Eat foods with high amounts of aspirin-like substances called salicylates. Salicylates is a natural blood thinner, which can be found in many spices, fruits and nuts.
Herbs and spices high in salicylates include:
Fruits high in salicylates include:
Other substances high in salicylates:
Try our Flow Tea (hawthorn berry, red date and ginger tea). Our Flow Tea helps break up blood clots, promotes a smooth flow of menstrual blood, and relieves period pain. It helps you achieve the dual purposes of menstruation -- releasing the old blood completely so new blood can be regenerated. Check out the benefits of hawthorn berry and the flow tea.
If you’re taking blood thinner medication or have any underlying health conditions, please consult your doctor as the above foods and supplements can thin your blood and interfere with certain medications.
I hope you find the information helpful. Please let me know if I’ve addressed your concerns, and if you have any further questions.