Blood clots during menstruation are common. In general, they respond to temporary hormonal changes, but in some cases, they require medical supervision. In this article we explain its most frequent causes.
Blood clots during menstruation cause concern among women. Before its appearance, fear is common because you think you are suffering from a very serious pathology.
However, it is good to know that, usually, blood clots during menstruation are of hormonal origin. As such, once the hormonal imbalance has passed, menstruation returns to normal.
It is also true that there are times when more intensive control is required. With less prevalence, blood clots during menstruation can be a warning of uterine pathologies.
Remember that we call menstruation to the event by which the endometrium is shed to the outside. The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus and cyclically, if there is no pregnancy, it sloughs off to begin the formation of a new layer.
Detachment is what is externally manifested with bleeding. In regular conditions, the bleeding is red in color without clots, with progressive onset.
On the other hand, let us also remember that clots are the mechanism with which the human body stops bleeding. Faced with an injury or the possibility of heavy blood loss, the clot tries to stop the process.
Clots, in whatever organ they form, are usually darker than fluid and jelly-like blood. They are formed under the appearance of a small ball that agglutinates the blood elements.
When blood clots appear during menstruation, it is assumed that the body forms them due to some cause. Clotted menstrual bleeding becomes darker and, of course, less fluid.
Uterine causes of blood clots during menstruation
The causes localized in the uterus that cause blood clots during menstruation are:
- Uterine polyps: Polyps are formations of tissue that protrude into the cavity of the uterus. They modify the endometrium by pushing it and obstruct the outflow of menstrual blood. Clots are formed by blood that remains held in the uterus longer.
- Adenomyosis: When the muscle of the uterus is enlarged by other surrounding tissues that invade it, something similar happens as with polyps. The modification of the endometrium and the obstruction to the exit conclude in clots.
- Endometriosis: it is a pathology where endometrial tissue grows in organs other than the uterus. As it is an endometrial disease, a symptom can be blood clots during menstruation.
- Uterine hypertrophy: the uterus can become enlarged due to physiological causes or diseases. A normal and expected reason for your enlargement is pregnancy and the months after delivery. With more surface area of endometrium and more room to collect blood, clots can form spontaneously.
- Abortions: pregnancy losses have among their signs the expulsion of clots via the vagina as if it were a menstruation. Although it is not strictly a normal menstrual cycle, if it happens very early in the gestation the dates tend to overlap and cause confusion.
Extrauterine causes of blood clots during menstruation
There are situations that exceed the uterine organ as such and are systemic or external. These conditions that can lead to the appearance of blood clots during menstruation, can be:
- Hormonal changes: the most common and most benign cause. In general, it is solved only with the passage of time, without the need for medical intervention.
- Coagulation diseases: when a woman suffers from a hematological pathology linked to blood clotting, her menstruation is affected. A common example is Von Willebrand’s disease. Although it is a coagulation deficit, by producing abundant bleeding, blood is stored in the uterus, which then coagulates.
- Intrauterine device: known worldwide as IUD, this contraceptive method has among its adverse effects blood clots during menstruation. If adverse effects are persistent and alter quality of life, the IUD should be removed.
- Anemia: It has been scientifically established that anemia causes blood clots during menstruation. A vicious circle is generated in the woman who suffers from it. Heavy menstruation leads to iron loss anemia, which leaves less iron availability in the body. Without that adequate iron, the uterus reduces its clotting power, increasing the amount of blood lost.
When to see the doctor
Most women with blood clots during menstruation will not require medical consultation. However, there are warning signs that should be brought to the consultation. Among these signs we have:
- The frequent repetition of a menstruation with clots.
- Accompanying severe pain in the pelvic region or abdomen.
- Presence of vaginal discharge with a change in color or odor.
If you have doubts, you should consult your doctor or specialist. It is preferable to analyze the characteristics of menstrual blood and rule out anemia in time. Complex complementary methods are not necessary to arrive at the diagnosis.