Blood clots, for lack of a better phrase, are nasty. Visually, they’re clumpy and can make an already aesthetically unappealing period feel that much worse. Whether or not you want to have them, you’ll likely experience a clot or two over the course of your lifetime with your menstrual cycle. But fear not, as getting clots is actually incredibly normal and we’re here to break it down for you. For more about what menstrual clots are, what they mean, and how to deal with them, keep reading below.
What Are Menstrual Clots
The scientific term for these pieces of blood is a menstrual clot. We all know how during our periods our uterus sheds a lining. Well, those clots you’re seeing downstairs are actually part of that lining—they are a mixture of blood cells, proteins that are found in blood, and tissue + cells from that aforementioned lining (endometrium). It’s not uncommon to see them during the first few days of your period when the flow is the heaviest.
Fun fact, the blood clotting that happens (and would happen naturally with any other open wound or open blood flow) actually helps the body lose less blood (so buckets and buckets of it aren’t pouring out of you, although it might feel like that at times). Think of it like this: A heavy flow means more blood is coming out. The more blood that’s coming out, the more likely you are to see clots as your body is reacting to that “hemorrhage,” if you will, accordingly.
What Menstrual Clots Mean
Don’t freak out if and when you see them, as they’re a normal part of the menstrual cycle. Getting them does not mean that there is something wrong with your body. However, if you’re seeing clots regularly (so think every day of every flow), they happen with pain, and are quite large (larger than a quarter), that might mean you have a health condition.
Endometriosis might be a possible cause for those large and frequent clots. This condition is usually paired with severe pain in the lower back and pelvis, along with painful periods. If you think you might have endometriosis, contact your healthcare professional.
Another less severe condition of which clots might be a symptom is a hormonal imbalance. Again, if you think you’re suffering from a hormonal imbalance, consult your doctor.
Other conditions include an enlarged uterus, pregnancy loss, anemia, adenomyosis uterine fibroids, and more. Be sure to get in touch with your healthcare professional immediately should you find or feel that any of these reasons are causing your clots.
How to Deal With Clots
Rest assured, everyone, as clots are manageable. Remember, however, that getting clots is normal, so there’s no need to run to the medicine or herb cabinet the first time you see one.
However, if you’ve been diagnosed with one of the less intense above conditions, these tips can help.
Take an Iron Supplement
Incorporating an iron supplement into your diet, as per your doctor’s recommendation, can help those who are losing lots of blood or are at risk of anemia.
Ah yes, water, the age-old cure-all. When in doubt, get your normal eight glasses per day in to help with clots.
Get on the Pill
The birth control pill can help reduce your flow and ultimately help reduce clots. If you’re not already on the pill and are interested in starting it, get in touch with your doctor to find out more.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Our diets can affect us in many ways. By keeping up a healthy diet of iron-rich foods, one can help herself manage her blood clots.
Medication is a bigger step and is a remedy for a bigger condition. If you think you need medication to help manage your clots, contact your doctor.
These are just a few tips to help you and your body manage any pesky clots. However, always (we can’t say this enough!) be sure to get in touch with your healthcare professional should you think the clots are being caused by something more severe.