Period Clots: What They Are and How to Manage Them
3 February 2023
Heavy periods can be so hard to manage. They lead to lots of worry about leaking, needing to know where toilets are, worrying that pads can be seen through clothes and sometimes it just feels easier to stay home to avoid flood risks!
Heavy periods can cause you to be anaemic, leaving you tired and weak.
It can help to use a period tracker to keep a note of when you are expecting your period and try to plan work and outings around it to minimise worry.
This months blog is perfectly timed for me as I am just back from a GP visit to discuss options for my perimenopausal flooding and clotting.
What are Period Clots?
Period clots are coagulated menstrual tissue and blood. Your body produces blood thinners (anticoagulants) during your period to allow your shedding uterine lining to easily pass through your cervix.
A normal period follows a 25 to 28 day cycle and last for between 2 and 7 days with the heaviest bleeding in the first two days. It is normal to lose between 20-90mls (1-5 tablespoons) of blood - some women have heavy menstrual bleeding. It is normal to have some period pain too as the uterus contracts.
If your flow is very heavy, your body can't keep up and clots are formed to try and stem the flow and control the bleeding.
What Causes Period Blood Clots?
Period blood clots are caused by heavy periods - periods are considered heavy if you bleed through a heavy flow tampon / pad / pants every hour for several hours or are longer than seven days.
Large clots (bigger than a 10p) are also a sign of heavy periods.
Are Blood Clots Normal on Your Period?
It depends, blood clots are normal on your period if they are small and infrequent. Larger, frequent clots can be a sign of an underlying issue - a blockage in your uterus, endometriosis, fibroids, miscarriage, hormone imbalance and even cancer.
Visit your GP if you feel your period is heavy enough to worry you or interrupt normal life. Make sure to ALWAYS attends your smear when invited too.
There are treatments you can be prescribed to help. The oral contraceptive pill or hormonal IUD with progesterone both inhibit the build up of the endometrial lining so your periods are lighter.
Tranexemic acid which stops blood clots being broken down can be taken over the heavy days of your period to stop bleeding with most reporting zero side effects and at least a 50% reduction in flow - I will report back this month when I try it out!
In addition, a procedure called endometrial ablation may help. This is not currently available on the NHS, however Bupa and private health operators can offer this service. It removes the lining of your uterus and will greatly reduce or stop your periods, so is only suitable for women who have finished having children.
How Does Period Underwear Work with Clots?
Period Underwear works really well with blood clots, as the leg rounds ensure that there is no leakage. The fluid from the clots soaks into the washable pants just as it would with a disposable or reusable pad and then any excess tissue can be wiped away when you go to the toilet.
Opt for heavy flow menstrual underwear like our high waisted Feeling Fearless bamboo or Feeling Free heavy. If you prefer pads go for night or maternity pads and wear them in the day if needed.
I find reusable knickers and washable pads handle clots far better than disposable pads due to moisture wicking fabric and I have had some awful experiences with clots and tampons (those suckers can fly!)
Totally worth it! I'm so pleased with my Cheeky products! The period pants are fab, so comfy and not a single leak (and I have very heavy periods after two babies!) Also pleased with the pads for lighter days. Interestingly I also haven't suffered any period pain at all since using the products... I'm a total convert! Rebecca Jan 23 trustpilot
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As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch to reusable sanitary products and period pads, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!
Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.