A Word about Clots

A clot looks like a tiny sample of raw liver or raw oyster, and often comes out with a heavy menstrual flow. Clots are normal and do not mean you're hemorrhaging and need to be rushed to the hospital. When you're sleeping during a heavy period, the blood will collect in clots and expel in the morning.

The only time you need to worry about clots is if you're passing them after your period is over, during a prolonged period, in mid-cycle, or while you're pregnant. (Similarly, if you experience bleeding when you're not on your period, you should see a doctor.)


Primary dysmenorrhea means you've always had painful periods, ever since you started menstruating. Secondary dysmenorrhea means that your periods have become more painful with time. In either case, painful periods are common, and there are medications that can alleviate cramps. Cramps are caused by uterine contractions, which is how the lining is pushed out. Some uteri contract more than others. If you're young, birth control pills can help. It's also important to distinguish normal cramping from unusual, debilitating pain.

Endometriosis, a serious disease, is often the culprit behind severe pain during your period. After you read the section below, if you suspect your dysmenorrhea is a sign of something more serious, let your doctor know your suspicions and request a confirmation of diagnosis. If your pain is severe enough to cause you to miss work, school, or pleasurable activities, there's a 40 percent chance that you may be suffering from endometriosis.



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