Clots of blood are commonly passed during the menstrual cycle, especially during the more complex or heavy days of a woman’s menstruation.

Most women will pass clots at a certain point in their life. However, severe bleeding and the passage of big clots are sometimes a cause for concern and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Is it common to get massive clots of blood during your period? What additional signs should you be aware of to ensure more severe health issues aren’t developing? This article discusses some causes and symptoms of heavy period blood clots and when you should seek medical assistance.

Understanding heavy menstruation clots

Abnormally excessive or protracted menstrual flow is medically referred to as menorrhagia. Although most women worry about menstrual bleeding, only a tiny percentage experience menorrhagia-level hemorrhage.

When you have menorrhagia, your period causes such severe blood loss and cramps that you can’t function normally. You should consult a medical professional if you suffer from severe monthly bleeding and find it stressful. Of course, the condition is manageable through various treatment methods.

What it means to have period blood clots

Though it may surprise, period blood clots are common and regular. As a rule, it is not causing alarm but can indicate a severe medical issue.

The formation of blood clots is an integral aspect of the body’s immune response. Clots during menstruation are thick and jelly-like to stop excessive bleeding. When any type of tissue injury occurs, like a laceration or a cut, the body responds by clotting the blood.

When do blood clots form?

Clots form when there is excessive blood loss from the uterine lining. Blood clots form when it collects in an inflamed area, such as the vagina or uterus, just as blood accumulates in open wounds.

Menstrual blood changes from period to period in terms of its consistency. In some months, a person’s period will be heavy and include clots, while in other months, the flow will be lighter and clot-free.

What are the symptoms of period blood clots?

The symptoms of menstrual bleeding are:

  • Long-term bleeding (more than a week)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Expelling blood clots the size of a quarter
  • Limitations in everyday life because of menstrual flow
  • Having to use two pieces of menstruation protection at once
  • The inconvenient necessity of a nighttime sanitary change

Indicators of anemia like tiredness, weakness, and a lack of energy are all common. The symptoms of pica, a disorder often associated with anemia, may also be present. You may have pale skin, hair loss, and an obsession with eating non-food objects. If you are experiencing any of these, you must see a doctor.

Image alt text: period blood. A medical pictorial of blood clot in the heart.

Author credit: By Kalumet – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Should I be worried about a heavy period?

Extreme blood loss during menstruation, manifesting as anemia, is a significant complication. Due to a deficiency of iron, anemia can develop, and it’s potentially fatal if not treated.

Heavy menstrual bleeding can signify serious health issues like cancer that need prompt medical attention. Therefore, you should discuss the risks associated with your period bleeding with your healthcare professional.

Causes of abnormally thick periods?

The fact that your period is becoming heavier and that you are passing atypical period clots are symptoms that can be caused by various disorders and factors. Fortunately, many of these conditions and factors are both common and treatable.

Hormonal Imbalance

During a regular menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows and then falls off. This process is controlled by the hormones progesterone and estrogen. When hormones are out of balance, the endometrium grows too much and must be shed, usually through excessive monthly bleeding.

Many medical issues, such as obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid difficulties, and insulin resistance, can all contribute to hormone imbalances. Also, extreme weight gain can cause hormonal disruption, which might cause heavy menstrual flow.

Ovulatory dysfunction

Ovarian insufficiency is a disorder in which the ovaries do not function properly. Without an ovulation event (anovulation), your body won’t create progesterone like during a regular menstrual cycle. Due to the resulting hormonal disruption, menorrhagia may occur.

Certain medications

Both prescribed or OTC drugs can increase the risk of blood clots during menstruation, much like birth control. Hormonal medicines such as progestin, estrogen, and anticoagulants can also have a role in menstrual irregularities and abnormal bleeding.

If you’re experiencing massive period blood clots, taking stock of your prescriptions and discussing the possible adverse effects with your doctor is a good idea.

Inherited abnormalities of blood clotting

Abnormal menstrual bleeding can be a symptom of a bleeding disorder such as von Willebrand’s disease, in which a critical blood clotting factor is missing or weakened.

Issues arising during pregnancy

A miscarriage could cause a sudden, weighty period late in the pregnancy. A low-lying placenta, also known as placenta previa, is another potential cause of excessive bleeding during pregnancy.

Also, menorrhagia is a common problem among women who use intrauterine devices that don’t rely on hormones to prevent pregnancy. Your doctor will assist you in formulating backup plans in case the first treatment fails.

Fibroids or polyps in the uterus

Uterine polyps are small fibroids, benign growths that can develop on the uterine lining, causing an obstruction. Because of the block, the uterus may not generally contract, so the blood won’t be expelled as rapidly as usual.

Another potential outcome of this clog is increased blood pooling due to the increased flow. Abnormalities in the uterus might cause obstructions. Though they are noncancerous uterine polyps and fibroids can potentially cause serious health problems if not treated in time.

People with uterine fibroids or polyps may experience symptoms like:

  • Dyspareunia, or pain during sex,
  • Having a bloated sensation
  • Chronic pain in the lower back
  • Problems conceiving or infertility


This medical disorder manifests in the abnormal outward growth of uterus lining tissues. As a result of this condition, a woman may experience a variety of signs and symptoms, some of which may be particularly unpleasant during menstruation.

Common endometriosis symptoms include:

  • Sexual distress or agony
  • Problems conceiving
  • Lower back and pelvic pain and cramps
  • Difficult menstruation, also known as dysmenorrhea
  • Menstrual bleeding that is very thick; menorrhagia

You may also experience period blood clots due to the following:

  • Adenomyosis: Heavy menstrual bleeding or period blood clots are common symptoms of endometriosis, which happens when endometrium glands get embedded in the uterus muscle.

What are the contributing factors of menorrhagia?

Some women are more likely to develop menorrhagia as they age, while others may have preexisting medical issues.

During a regular cycle, the body produces progesterone in response to the ovarian release of an egg. This hormone is primarily responsible for the regularity of menstruation. A lack of progesterone might result in heavy menstruation if there is no ovulation.

The most common cause of menorrhagia in teenage girls is an absence of ovulation. During the first year following the onset of menstruation, adolescent females are most vulnerable to experiencing anovulatory periods (menarche).

Uterine abnormalities, like fibroids, polyps, and adenomyosis, are the usual culprits in the development of menorrhagia in women past the childbearing years. Uterine malignancy, bleeding disorders, adverse drug reactions, and liver or renal disease are possible additional causes.

Diagnosing and Managing Heavy Menstrual Flow

An atypical menstrual clot’s underlying cause can be determined using a combination of a patient’s history, physical exam, and diagnostic procedures (such as blood work or imaging).

The doctor can then advise on the best course of treatment based on the underlying cause. If a doctor thinks a patient is shedding excess blood or is at risk of anemia, they may recommend the patient take an iron supplement.

They might also recommend measures that can be taken in the comfort of one’s own home, such as:

  • Not taking aspirin because it could increase bleeding risk
  • Healthy eating that contains iron-rich foods
  • Keeping active consistently
  • Staying hydrated for better health or taking sufficient water for maintenance of bodily moisture


Heavy menstruation can be managed with the help of hormone-balancing medicine prescribed by a doctor. One or more forms of contraception may be recommended. Some birth control tablets and progestin-containing intrauterine devices (IUDs) may help minimize bleeding.

To alleviate period-related cramping, discomfort, and irritation, your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) that may assist with bleeding. Those who would rather avoid hormone replacement therapy may benefit from anti-clotting drugs. Seek medical advice on this matter.


Normal menstrual clots are a sign of a high menstrual flow. However, heavy bleeding or clotting should be taken seriously, and medical attention should be sought if accompanied by other symptoms.

Disturbed menstrual cycles can result from several underlying conditions. Consult a medical professional to investigate the causes of your menstrual clots and discover appropriate treatments.