What Are Vaginal Blood Clots?

A heavy menstrual flow with clotting could indicate a case of endometriosis.
There are a number of causes for vaginal blood clots.
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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2014
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Vaginal blood clots are thick collections of blood and uterine lining. These clots are expelled during menstruation and are usually seen on the days that a woman’s period is heaviest. In most cases, the woman’s body releases natural anticoagulants during menstruation, preventing formation of the clots. There are however, many reasons for these clots to occur, including miscarriage, abnormal growth of the lining of the uterus, the onset of menopause, or even just a particularly heavy period.

During normal menstruation, the lining of the uterus, also called the endometrium, is shed from a woman’s body through her vagina. Though the endometrium contains special enzymes that usually prevent blood clots from forming, it is not uncommon for women to have the occasional clot along with their normal menstrual blood. These clots are made up of blood cells that have stuck together. It is also possible for pieces of uterine lining to come through the vagina, undissolved, and often having the appearance of a vaginal blood clot, though they are made up of mostly endometrium and not blood.

Under normal circumstances, a woman can expect to have some vaginal blood clots on the heaviest days of her period. Clots that are less than 1 inch (25 mm) across usually cause no problems, though if there are many clots of this size, the woman should be seen by a doctor. A consistently heavy period with many clots can lead to anemia.

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It is common for a woman to have many clots after she has given birth. It can take a week or more to shed the uterine lining after a baby is born, and blood clots are commonly seen as the last of the tissue is expelled. A woman who notices them while she is pregnant should see a doctor immediately, as blood clots are a common sign of miscarriage.

A number of abnormal conditions can cause vaginal blood clots to form as well. For the most part, clots appear because there is an unusual amount of endometrium, such as when benign uterine tumors called fibroids are present, or when adenomyosis or endometriosis have developed. Menopause can also create particularly heavy periods with many blood clots. In all of these cases, if the vaginal blood clots are large, numerous, or continue for a few menstrual cycles, the woman should be seen by a doctor to make sure that she is healthy.

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anon320425
Post 7

I am 25 years old, and I just got off the depo shot in December 2012. I thought my period was back to normal last month, but this month I had two full periods with very heavy bleeding and blood clots. I bled for seven full days the first time. It was a very normal period.

I stopped for three days then started back again, but the second one is very heavy with a lot of blood clots, and I usually see only one to two, maybe even three throughout my whole period. With this one I see them every time I use the bathroom, and it's really bad in the morning. Is this caused from the shot? I have been on the shot before and never experienced this. Am I OK? I have been under a lot of stress the past week too. I'm just worried about the blood slots. Can anyone help me understand why this is happening?

anon320398
Post 6

I am 30 years old and I have had 3 kids by c section. My youngest child is 18 months old. I had my tubal done when I had her, and my periods have been normal up until now. I started five days earlier this month and on the third day I had an unusually long string of blood come out of me. It's dark in color and has a stronger odor. This hasn't happened before. What could have caused it?

anon312781
Post 5

I am 20 and I was a week late for my period and during that week I noticed I was feeling very light headed, like if I didn't stand up slowly I'd feel faint. Usually I have light periods that only last three or four days but this time it's extremely heavy, like there is so much blood and everything that is coming out is clots. Also, during that week I retained a lot of water or something because my stomach grew about eight inches and I looked six months pregnant. What is wrong with me?

anon262075
Post 4

I have bled as long as twenty some days straight with no relief. I recently had a biopsy, which indicated that I have multiple uterine fibroids. My most recent bout of bleeding between periods included large clumps of clots and pools of blood. I am forty-nine years old and can't imagine this is normal!

aviva
Post 3

My advise to any woman who is experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding and blood clotting during her menstrual cycles is to visit her doctor. It's not wise to put your life at risk by assuming anything when it comes to your health.

I don't want to sound like a know-it-all but I put off seeing my doctor over irregular symptoms for too long. I thought I was just over-stressed, extremely tired and going through the first stages of menopause.

After my symptoms had worsened I finally went to my doctor for testing and it turned out I had cancer of the uterus. It's so important to visit your doctor whenever things don't seem right with your body.

I underwent chemo for about six months before I opted to have a complete hysterectomy. I am completely recovered and cancer free now. Please don't do like I did and wait until it's too late. Visit your doctor and make sure your symptoms are normal.

bfree
Post 2

@ladyjane - I too have been having abnormal periods for awhile now. I went in for my yearly exam recently and was informed that nothing was wrong with me. My gynecologist said that it's normal to have heavier than usual menstrual cycles with blood clots at this age.

Isn't this fun? I thought at our age things were supposed to lighten up not get worse. Anyway I am relieved there isn't anything seriously wrong with me since my aunt had uterine cancer and died at the age of seventy-seven.

I'll just be glad to get past all of this so I can get my life back.

ladyjane
Post 1

I'm forty-seven years old and have been experiencing unusually heavy vaginal bleeding during my menstrual cycles for the past two years. My cycles have always been regular like clockwork every twenty-eight days and lasting for only about three to five days.

The last one I had had lasted for twelve days and I still had occasional spotting after-wards like it was never going to stop. I've even seen blood clots in my period more frequently than ever before too.

I'm getting a little concerned about it and was wondering if anyone else has or has had longer than normal periods at my age. Is this a normal perimenopause symptom?

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