The Thick of it: Period Clotting Explained

By Jennifer Gray
May 22, 2019

Whether you have a heavy flow, a low flow, or no flow, we all have a different experience when it comes to our periods. We’re here to unpack the reasons behind period clotting and the importance of opening up the conversation about periods more generally.

What are period blood clots?

Clotting is the body’s natural way of preventing excessive bleeding. While it might take us by surprise, it’s not uncommon to see jelly-like clots, particularly in the first days of your period when the flow is heaviest. Period clots are made up of the uterus lining, blood cells and proteins. Period clots form when blood begins to pool in the uterus or the vagina – much as it would in an open flesh wound. This is called ‘coagulation’.

Larger clots may look darker than non-clotted menstrual blood. Towards the end of a period, blood is also older so clots may appear browner in colour. Since we are all different, our menstrual bleeding is different too, and this can also vary, not only woman to woman, but cycle to cycle too. So while some periods may have many clots, others will have none.

Heavy period clotting

While period clots are a common and healthy part of many women’s cycles, extremely heavy period clotting can be a cause for concern. If you have bled through several pads or tampons for several hours in a row, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Extremely heavy periods are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as PMS and severe period cramps. If these begin to regularly disrupt your life, you should also speak to your doctor.

The stigma of talking about periods

We believe that in talking about subjects like period clotting we can help normalize the conversation around menstrual health. Why not read more about period sex, ovulation and talking about sex and birth control? Natural Cycles is on-hand to help bridge the knowledge gap when it comes to female health.

What is International Menstrual Hygiene Day?

Initiated by Wash United, International Menstrual Hygiene Day (IMHD) takes place on the 28th of May and is a global advocacy platform that aims to end the hesitation around menstruation by educating on menstrual hygiene and health.

Our stance on IMHD

Menstruation has for too long, been stigmatised. As a company grounded in science working to advance women’s health, Natural Cycles believes that it is time to not just acknowledge the importance of access to accurate and evidence-based information about menstruation, but also to draw attention to the unique and diverse experiences of menstruation. Individuals who menstruate have different experiences of menstruation and all stories, concerns and physiological needs, must be validated, respected and celebrated. On International Menstrual Hygiene Day this year, Natural Cycles underscores the importance of pushing boundaries to ensure that innovations serve personal and diverse needs, so that all individuals’ reproductive health can be realized.

Our research into the menstrual cycle

Our mission at Natural Cycles is to pioneer women’s health with research and passion – by empowering every woman with the knowledge that she needs to take charge of her health. We have a dedicated in-house team who are working on research into the menstrual cycle, helping us close the knowledge gap when it comes to female health.

Period tracking, birth control and more

Know your fertility, track your period and get regular updates on female health all in one place. Natural Cycles offers period tracking and fertility awareness for the digital age. No hormones, just science. Measure your body temperature in the morning as soon as you wake up and enter the data in the app to find out where you are in your cycle.

How does it work?Sign up