So how can you decode what a blood clot might mean? We chatted with Dr. Sara Twogood, obstetrician and gynecologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Group, California, US, to understand exactly what happens to your body during a period, why some people have period blood clots, and when to go see your doctor if you have any concerns.
It can take two weeks or more to completely expel the tissue naturally. Your doctor will review with you typical bleeding patterns to expect. If you have heavy bleeding lasting several days or any signs of infection, you may need medical treatment.
A blood clot in the deep vein (also known as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT) is a medical condition that typically occurs in the lower leg, thigh, pelvis or arm. When a DVT is left untreated, a part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, causing a blockage called a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE can stop blood from reaching the lungs and can be deadly. Although blood clots are preventable, a PE is one of the most common causes of pregnancy-related death in the United States.
Implantation bleeding. You may experience some normal spotting within the first six to 12 days after you conceive as the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus. Some women don't realize they are pregnant because they mistake this bleeding for a light period. Usually the bleeding is very light and lasts from a few hours to a few days.
Premature labor. Vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy may just be a sign that your body is getting ready to deliver. A few days or weeks before labor begins, the mucus plug that covers the opening of the uterus will pass out of the vagina, and it will usually have small amounts of blood in it (this is known as "bloody show"). If bleeding and symptoms of labor begin before the 37th week of pregnancy, contact your doctor right away because you might be in preterm labor.
Because vaginal bleeding in any trimester can be a sign of a problem, call your doctor. Wear a pad so that you can keep track of how much you're bleeding, and record the type of blood (for example, pink, brown, or red; smooth or full of clots). Bring any tissue that passes through the vagina to your doctor for testing. Don't use a tampon or have sex while you are still bleeding.
My clot was broken up and I was treated for some time afterward with blood thinners, but I knew that in the future I would need to take proactive measures if I were to become pregnant or have surgery. Blood clots during pregnancy are a concern for many expectant mothers, but as I learned, it is possible to manage your high risk.
This can happen in any blood vessel in the body. However, the most common place for abnormal blood clots to occur is in the deep veins of your legs. This is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The major concern is that the clot can break free and travel to other parts of the body (lungs are most common), which can lead to serious complications or even death.
In the first trimester of pregnancy (first three months), women may bleed as a result of implantation (where the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall) or due to early pregnancy loss (miscarriage). Implantation bleeding is usually light and not enough to soak a pantiliner. While not all cases of passing clots within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are indicative of a loss, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can be indicative of a complication.
Blood clots that develop in the body can increase the risk of miscarriage, or loss of a fetus prior to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Signs of a miscarriage include vaginal spotting or bleeding, abdominal cramping, back pain, and passing fluid, tissue or blood clots from the vagina. Light vaginal bleeding often occurs during the first trimester, but if you are bleeding or passing blood clots or tissue, seek immediate medical attention and bring the discharge to your provider.
When it comes to DVT in pregnancy, prevention is key. In my own case, I was known to have a higher risk due to a thrombophilic disorder, as well as a history of previous clots. This meant that I was given an injectable low-molecular-weight Heparin (LMWH) drug (Fragmin coupons | Fragmin details) for the duration of my pregnancy as a preventive measure.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
In this article: ?What causes you to have a period during pregnancy?Spotting or period bleeding?Period-like bleeding during early pregnancyPeriod cramps during pregnancy third trimesterCan you be pregnant and still have a period?Period during pregnancy FAQs
Around 15% to 25% of pregnant women experience bleeding during the first trimester. Light bleeding and spotting can be perfectly normal, especially if it occurs around the time you would have had a period. Heavy bleeding or clots could indicate something more serious. You should always let your obstetrician or midwife know if you're bleeding during pregnancy.
You should let your doctor know immediately if you have any bleeding during pregnancy. The treatment for blood clots will depend on the cause. Your doctor may test to determine the cause and best course of treatment for you. These tests may include a vaginal exam, blood tests, or an ultrasound.
Tranexamic acid is a type of medicine called an anti-fibrinolytic. It helps prevent fibrinolysis by stopping the fibrin from being broken down. This helps blood clots stay in place where they are needed.
People with regular nose bleeds or heavy periods can take tranexamic acid long term, over several months or years. However, they usually take it just for a few days or a week at a time when the bleeding is a problem.
Antiphospholipid (AN-te-fos-fo-LIP-id) syndrome is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly creates antibodies that attack tissues in the body. These antibodies can cause blood clots to form in arteries and veins.
Blood clots can form in the legs, lungs and other organs, such as the kidneys and spleen. The clots can lead to a heart attack, strokes and other conditions. During pregnancy, antiphospholipid syndrome also can result in miscarriage and stillbirth. Some people who have the syndrome have no signs or symptoms.
Contact your health care provider if you have unexplained bleeding from your nose or gums; an unusually heavy menstrual period; vomit that is bright red or looks like coffee grounds; black, tarry stool or bright red stool; or unexplained abdominal pain.
It's possible to have the antibodies associated with antiphospholipid syndrome without developing signs or symptoms. However, having these antibodies increases your risk of developing blood clots, particularly if you:
Heavy menstrual bleeding (formerly called menorrhagia) is when your periods are extremely heavy or prolonged. "Heavy" means that your period lasts longer than seven days or that you lose more blood than is typical during menstruation. You may bleed so much that you have to change your tampon or pad every hour for several hours back-to-back. You may pass blood clots the size of a quarter or even larger.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be serious if you lose so much blood that you show signs of anemia. Anemia is a condition arising from having too little iron in your body. Anemia can be life-threatening without treatment.
Also, some of the conditions that can cause heavy period bleeding, like cancer, require early medical intervention. Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss any risks related to your period bleeding.
Heavy menstrual bleeding interferes with your quality of life. Many people with heavy periods assume that periods are supposed to be inconvenient and uncomfortable. They may have watched people in their families live with heavy periods without seeking care and followed their example. But periods should never cause you to restrict activities or accept inconvenience.
Treatment depends on what's causing your bleeding, how severe your bleeding is, your health, age and medical history. Also, treatment depends on your response to certain medicines and your preferences. For instance, you may not want to have a period at all, or you may want to reduce your bleeding. In addition, your plans to get pregnant will affect your treatment options.
You can't prevent all causes of heavy period bleeding. But talking with your healthcare provider to get diagnosed and treated can help you manage your bleeding so that it doesn't interfere with your quality of life.
Left untreated, heavy periods can interfere with your life. In addition, heavy menstrual bleeding can cause anemia and leave you feeling tired and weak. Other health problems can also arise if you don't get help. With proper treatment and assistance from your provider, you can manage heavy periods without compromising your well-being.
You should call your provider if you're experiencing the symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding or anemia, or if your period bleeding has become abnormal. Tracking your periods using a calendar or app can help you identify if your periods are heavier and longer-lasting than usual. Share these notes with your provider.
Just because heavy periods are common doesn't mean that you have to learn to live with the discomfort they cause. If managing your blood flow is getting in the way of your emotional and physical well-being, speak with your provider. They can provide a care path that will provide relief.
The length of time you have symptoms of perimenopause can vary between a few months to many years. The decrease in estrogen also can lead to bone thinning or changing cholesterol levels. Continue to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider to keep an eye on your health. 2b1af7f3a8