Last updated on July 27th, 2018 at 12:58 am
Are you experiencing painful period with blood clots? Is this the first time you’re noticing it, or it has been happening for a while now? Are you also bleeding much more than normal during periods?
If you suddenly experience a painful menstrual period, you should not be too concerned. Most women, especially young girls, will get tummy pain during menstruation
This pain feels like your belly is contracting and occurs because hormone forces your uterus to contract, thereby expelling menstrual blood through your vagina
Ordinarily, while some women will experience mild to moderate cramps during periods, some other women may be unlucky and experience very severe pain in their abdomen.
Are blood clots normal?
During menstruation, it’s not abnormal that you will have blood clots coming out of your vagina. Usually, your body breaks down blood clots through fibrinolysin, an enzyme that ensures that your period does not contain clots.
However, if you start having a heavy flow, it becomes difficult for fibrinolysin to completely break down clots, resulting in blood clots you may see sometimes.
The truth is, it’s not entirely abnormal that you get to see small clots in your period. This is usually common in the first or second day of menstruation as the flow is heavy. Towards the end of your period, you will notice bleeding is not so heavy without clots.
Having said that, if you have a painful period with big clots, it could signify something more serious.
Common causes of a painful period with clots are uterine fibroids, vaginal infections, endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and cervical stenosis.
On the other hand, pain threshold during menstruation will vary from woman to woman. In some women, the pain will not be severe and can easily be controlled with over-the-counter medications. While in others, pain may even require hospitalization.
In fact, women that are under the age of 20 will experience much more painful period. If your mother or sister also have very painful menstruation, it’s likely you will feel such pain too.
Then again, after childbirth, women that usually had intense period cramps, will notice less pain during periods.
This article explains causes of painful menstruation with blood clots, and when you must inform your doctor.
What causes painful period with blood clots?
1. Normal menstruation
It’s common to panic when you get to see clots coming through your vagina during your period. However, you should not. Your body works by breaking down blood clots naturally and quickly before it comes out through your vagina.
Sometimes, during the first days of period, menstrual flow might be heavy, resulting in small blood clots in your period.
What to do?
Don’t panic yet. It’s important you observe the size of clots and when they occur. Furthermore, you should monitor the length of your period too.
A normal menstrual period will last for a maximum of seven days. This implies that, if your period is now lasting longer than usual, it could be a sign of something wrong.
Also, if you notice golf-sized blood clots coming from your vagina, surely, something is not okay. Quickly inform your doctor.
2. Uterine fibroid
If you experience a painful period with blood clots, it could be due to a large uterine fibroid. Uterine fibroids are benign growth within and outside the uterine muscle.
Depending on where a fibroid grows in the uterus and the size, it may cause serious symptoms. One major problem with uterine fibroid is vaginal bleeding.
A fibroid can be found outside the uterus (subserosal fibroid) or attached to the out side of the uterus (pedunculated fibroid) or within the muscle of the uterus (intramural fibroids)
Women that have fibroids, especially the submucous type, are more prone to vaginal bleeding with clots
So what causes women to have fibroids?
If you are experiencing a prolonged period that won’t stop after seven days, there is a chance you have a fibroid. The exact reason why fibroid grow is still not very clear, though there is an increased risk if
- You are black (fibroid are more common in black women than Caucasians)
- You experience very early first-menses (before the age of 11)
- You’re taking so much alcohol
- Your mother or sister has been diagnosed of a fibroid
To be frank, about 70 percent of women will have had a fibroid before the age of 50. However, most of these women will not get any symptoms. In symptomatic women, here are some signs to watch out for
- Mass in the abdomen that continues to grow
- Irregular spotting between your periods
- A painful period with blood clots
- Frequent urination and occasional constipation
If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor. A large uterine fibroid will require surgery, though drugs like mefenamic acid, naproxen, mifepristone and low dose oral contraceptive pills will ease symptoms for a while.
Endometriosis is a common cause of painful period with blood clots.
Endometriosis means, your endometrium that covers inside of the uterus, is now settled in different parts of your body. Commonly, it can be found in the ovary, fallopian tubes, abdomen, vagina, and cervix.
Endometriosis is quite common (affecting around 10 percent of women), though, most women will not have symptoms at all.
Symptoms of endometriosis are
- Painful periods
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Chronic pelvic pain before period and after period
- Severe low back pain
- Painful urination
If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor. During your clinic visit, your doctor will clinically examine your abdomen; sometimes a mass may be felt.
Other tests to help in diagnosis are abdominal ultrasound, laparoscopy, and blood tests.
Treatment is through pain medications; However, at the moment, there is no cure for the disease.
Covering the inner surface of the uterus is the endometrium. The endometrium can be forced into the uterine muscle resulting in pain. This is called adenomyosis and usually cause painful menstruation in women.
If you are already in your 40’s and have children, it’s possible your painful period are due to adenomyosis. Risk factors are childbirth and cesarean section.
Other symptoms (apart from painful menstruation) are
- Prolonged periods (lasting more than 7 days)
- Pain during intercourse
- Massive blood loss during period with blood clots
Treatment is by Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), oral contraceptive and surgery.
5. Vaginal infections
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a consequence of poorly treated vaginal infections. Women with vaginal infections are prone to experience irregular menstrual bleeding with lower tummy pain.
Symptoms of pelvic infections are
- Vaginal itching
- Soreness of the vulva
- Pain during intercourse
- Smelling vaginal discharge
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