As a teenager I remember the first time I looked down at my feminine napkin and saw a blood clot. I immediately thought I was dying and after bawling my eyes out right there in the bathroom I searched for my mother to find out what was happening to me. My mother knew about passing blood clots during your period, but she had no idea why she passed those clots and neither did any of my friends. It wasn’t until much later in life that I actually learned why my body, and the bodies of other women, produced clots.
The Normal Menstrual Period
During the normal menstrual period, the lining of the uterus is shed out of the body in a flow of blood. Anticoagulants are released and mixed with menstrual blood to prevent clotting. This creates a natural, even flow of blood that lasts three to seven days, on average.
The Heavy Menstrual Period
If blood flow is heavier than normal the blood does not have enough time to mix with anticoagulants. Blood clots rather quickly so clots, usually smaller than a quarter, can form and pass onto your feminine napkin or out of the body when you are changing a tampon. Small clots are normal for many women. Passing multiple clots can cause menstrual flow to appear thicker or darker.
The Abnormal Menstrual Period
If clots are larger than a quarter or menstrual blood appears excessively dark or thick you should contact your gynecologist for an appointment. There could be an underlying medical condition causing irregular clotting or abnormal periods.
Just like no two women are alike, no two periods are alike. Periods are even different from one woman to the next. Passing small clots during the heaviest days of your period is a normal part of the menstrual period, but it is not normal to pass larger clots regularly.