Blood clots in period blood! Am I sick?


Blood and blood clots from any part of the body always trigger an alarm for many! After watching too many tear-jerking movies on cancer battles of young couples, we can’t be blamed if we are a bit too vigilant about anything that has to do with blood!

In advertisements, periods are always depicted as a clean spread of blue fluid on a sanitary pad! Well, leaving aside the problematic blue colour, for now, such depictions create this expectation that period blood gushes out like that onto the pad and the pad has such a neat and tidy collection of blood. The realities of periods are far from it!

Very often we find jelly-like masses on our sanitary pads, especially on those days when we have heavy bleeding. And when we are cleaning ourselves after a change of pad, we find similar jelly-like masses coming out of our vagina. Does this mean we have something serious going on with our bodies? Are we sick?

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Jelly jelly blood clots

These jelly-like masses are blood clots. It can be ve scary to find blood clots during your periods. But we want to assure you that having blood clots during your periods is perfectly normal. Only under certain conditions, you need to be concerned about such blood clots.

Why are blood clots there in my periods?

Have you ever wondered why the body does not stop the uterus from bleeding? Well, any cut on any part of the skin results in bleeding. But after a few minutes or so, the bleeding stops! So, why is it that when it comes to monthly periods, the body allows the uterus to bleed away?

The mechanism by which the body prevents further bleeding whenever there is a cut on the skin is called coagulation. Well, that is a prim and proper scientific word! In common terms, coagulation is known as clotting. There is a whole cascade of activities that happen in the body to bring about clotting whenever there is bleeding. However, when it comes to periods, the body produces a substance called anticoagulant to help the blood get out of the uterus easily. 

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What exactly happens is, as the uterus sheds its lining and the blood vessels on the wall of the uterus start to bleed, the bottom of the uterus starts getting pooled with the blood. The body then brings in the anticoagulant to this area, such that it can act on the pooled blood and prevent the formation of any clots. Thus the blood gets thinner and it gets easier for the blood to exit the cervix and the vagina. Cervix is the bottom-most part of the uterus.  

However, when the quantity of blood that is pooled at the cervix is more, then the anticoagulants produced by the body are unable to catch up and act on all the excess blood. This is when the pooled blood will start forming clots. And these are the same blood clots that you find on your sanitary napkin later.

When you have heavy bleeding, the size of the blood lots can be larger than usual. But this again is not anything to be worried about.

When should you be concerned?

If you have blood clots in your periods under the following circumstances, then you must consult with your doctor to get a check up done:

  • Blood clots are larger than a coin size
  • Presence of blood clots on every day of periods
  • Heavy bleeding on all days of periods
  • Periods last for more than 7 days
  • Severe abdominal cramps

A doctor can help you by identifying any other underlying medical conditions such as Endometriosis, Uterine fibroids, that can also cause the formation of blood clots during your periods. 

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