It’s that time of the month again, but this time you notice clots in your menstrual blood. You’re thinking… this is new, and kind of scary, should I be concerned? If this sounds familiar, you are not alone!
Many women write to us sharing details about their monthly menstrual cycles and often express substantial concern about blood clots.
Clots during your period – What are they? Why do they happen? What can be done about them?
Let me set the record straight, period blood clots can be completely normal and are often NOT a cause for concern. The catch is that there are times when menstrual blood clots may warrant a check-up with your Gynecologist. Read on to find out why…
What is a Menstrual Blood Clot?
The body naturally releases anticoagulants to keep blood thin and fluid (moving freely). Clots are the body’s natural way of controlling excess bleeding. Menstrual blood clots consist of a coagulated mass of blood, fibrin and endometrial tissue.
Why Do Period Blood Clots Form?
Period blood clots are traditionally viewed by many holistic healthcare practitioners as a sign of uterine stagnation due to lack of uterine strength, which may cause menstrual blood to inefficiently exit during menstruation. There are, however, a variety of reasons for period blood clots to form…
Pooling or retained blood – blood that stays inside the uterus is likely to clot due to the following reasons:
- Endometriosis – symptoms are thickening of the uterine lining and heavier blood flow during menstruation that may contribute to excessive clotting during menstruation.
- Post childbirth uterine size, meaning the uterus doesn’t successfully shrink back to its normal size (about that of a pear). During menstruation, blood may pool and clot inside an enlarged uterus before it is expelled.
- Uterine obstructions – anything within the uterus that may impede proper menstrual blood flow, such as fibroids, polyps and adhesions.
- Adenomyosis – a condition where endometrial tissue grows within the muscles of the uterine walls resulting in part in heavy menstrual blood flow, prolonged bleeding, and passing period clots during menstruation.
Excessive menstrual bleeding – heavy or strong flow during menstruation can cause blood to accumulate within the uterus faster than the body can completely and properly expel it. When this happens blood pools and clots.
Hormonal imbalance – if progesterone and estrogen (the hormones that control how the body sheds the lining of the uterus) are out of balance, the endometrial lining of the uterus can grow too thick. A thick uterine lining may result in heavier blood flow and more period blood clots.
For some women, period blood clots may be inconsistent and come one cycle, but not the next, or for several and then not show up again. This can be due to hormone fluctuations, diet, or lifestyle changes, all of which may affect uterine lining thickness. When there is a variation in the thickness of the uterine lining from cycle to cycle, the amount of menstrual blood can change as well, causing the formation of clots.
When Should You Talk to Your Doctor?
It would be best to talk to your doctor to determine if there is a fertility-health issue affecting uterine lining health, or hormonal balance if…
- period blood clots are large
- many smaller blood clots are passed in a short period of time
- period blood clots are accompanied by a variety of other issues – fatigue, severe cramping or period pain, inflammation and swelling, bloating, prolonged periods, or excessive blood loss/flow, spotting or mid-cycle bleeding
The Best Ways to Naturally Support Uterine Health
There are a variety of herbs and natural therapies that are beneficial for increasing uterine health.
Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus, spp.) – An herb packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and E, calcium and iron, Red Raspberry leaf is astringent to body tissues and is known to tone the uterine muscle which may be supportive in times of heavy bleeding as a result of uterine weakness.
Self Fertility Massage – A series of massage techniques to support reproductive system health including increased circulation to the uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes, hormonal balance, endocrine and immune system health and in support of the body’s stress response.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy – This natural therapy is known to support proper circulation and immune response within the body. More specifically, Systemic Enzyme therapy has been found to help the body reduce and dissolve tissue build up within the uterus and to reduce occasional discomfort in the reproductive system by supporting a healthy inflammation response.
Hydration – Staying properly hydrated is important for healthy flow of all fluids within the body, including, menstrual blood.
- Drink Water! Start the day with a quart of room-temperature water, add some fresh-squeezed lemon juice for liver support too.
- Drink Fresh Juice! Fresh-squeezed juice using a variety of whole, organic fresh fruits and vegetables provides antioxidants, vitamin and minerals that boost fertility.
Support Hormone Balance – This is an important one because the uterus is a part of the hormone feedback loop. The uterus is not only affected by hormone imbalances, but if uterine tissue health is poor, it may contribute to hormone imbalance by being a “weak link” in the hormonal feedback loop.
There can be specific fertility health issues leading to an increase in the presence of period blood clots, ranging from endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine obstructions and/or size, and hormonal imbalance. These require specific attention in addition to naturally supporting the health of the uterus and its proper function. Period clots may be alarming, but fear not, they are not some “mysterious manifestation of a scary disease.” If menstrual blood is bright red, this means uterine tone is healthy and menstrual blood is quickly being expelled even if small clots are present periodically during menstruation. Take time to let your body naturally cleanse each menstrual cycle, rest, think positively and nourish yourself during menstruation. Know that the appearance of period clots may change from cycle to cycle and if they become worrisome don’t hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider.
1. Albee, Jr., MD, Robert B. “Menstrual Clotting: What Does It Mean?” Menstrual Clotting: What Does It Mean? Center for Endometriosis Care. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
2. Gallenberg, M.D., Mary M. “Menorrhagia (heavy Menstrual Bleeding).” Blood Clots during Menstruation: A Concern? Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
3. Rodriguez, Hethir. “Natural Guide for Menstrual Health.” Natural Fertility Info.com. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
5. “Womens Health Zone.” Are Blood Clots During Menstruation Normal? Women’s Health Zone, 22 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.