It's that time of the month again. For some, cramps, fatigue and weakness make for daily discomfort until your menstrual period ends. While most women experience their monthly menstrual cycle, none of them are completely alike.
Age, size and activity levels all factor into duration, flow, and amount of blood flow. Hydration, diet, and hereditary aspects all have an influence on an individual's cycle and the level of discomfort (or not) experienced.
Are menstrual blood clots normal?
Some blood clotting during the menstrual cycle is considered normal, especially after the first day or two when the flow becomes more sluggish and intermittent. On average, a woman discards about 1 to 2 tablespoons of blood during that one week of her period every month.
During the menstrual cycle, blood clots of different shapes, sizes and color may occur. As the lining of the inside of the uterus is loosened and sloughed off, some of that blood may become thicker and cling to the lining. Eventually, these areas break off, just like a small, thick clot that forms on a laceration or tear on the skin. Eventually, the blood clot forms the foundation of a scab.
The color of blood clots also changes with timing in the cycle. Darker blood indicates the blood remained in the uterine lining longer than a blot with a brighter, redder tinge. Size of the clots may vary from pea size to safety pin size as well as different shapes.
When does menstrual clotting become worrisome?
Unless these clots become abnormally frequent or the clots tend to be larger rather than smaller during the menstrual cycle, menstrual blood clots are usually nothing to become alarmed about. The reproductive organs are made in such a way that hormones, hydration, activity level and other factors make this a normal and uneventful process.
Speak with your doctor about signs to watch out for such as excessive bleeding, large dark blood clots, and increased pain, which may indicate other issues. Maintaining a record of abnormal cycles will benefit your doctor and yourself in pinpointing possible causes that make for a difficult menstrual cycle. Practicing routine hygiene before, during and after your cycle will help maximize comfort and peace of mind during these times.