Here’s a gross topic, but one I felt compelled to write because it just happened, and it kind of freaked me out. Ever had a really unusual amount of clotting during your period? I mean the kind that makes you call your OB just for verification you aren’t going to bleed to death? I just did. I will spare you the graphics, but I was actually concerned, so I called my doctor’s office to speak to a nurse and here is what she told me:
Normally, the body produces anticoagulants to maintain a consistency of blood flow. Some months, the uterine lining is shed more quickly than others, and the blood flow is heavier, (especially on day one or two). If the blood flow is heavy, the anticoagulants may not have had a chance to thin the blood, so you may pass blood clots, and the blood may be brighter red than you are used to seeing. Passing clots larger than the size of a quarter on a regular basis is not normal, however, and could be caused by a number of factors.
A delicate balance of hormones controls the menstrual cycle. If the balance is disrupted, the uterine lining may be thicker one month than another, and this can cause heavier bleeding and clotting. Hormones can be effected many things, such as by menopause, certain medications, or drastic weight changes.
Another possible factor is a past pregnancy. After pregnancy, the uterus is supposed to shrink back to its normal size. If it does not completely return back to normal, blood may pool in the uterus before being passed, especially at night when the body is at rest. In the morning, the combination of gravity and movement passes that pooled blood, and voila! For the first few hours of the day, it seems like your entire uterus is coming out...
can also cause irregular periods, and excessive clotting. (Endometriosis is a condition caused by tissue that normally grows only on the inside of the uterus growing on outside of the uterus.) It can cause many reproductive problems, but is treatable with medication or, in some cases, surgery.
So, with my fears allayed, and while I was talking to the OB nurse, I scheduled my annual wellness exam and Pap smear. One of the best ways to make sure your reproductive health is maintained is with regular check ups!