If you’ve never had stringy period blood during your cycle before, it can be confusing — or even scary — to see for the first time.
But blood that’s occasionally stringy, sticky, or clumpy is completely within the scope of what normal period blood can look like.
This article will cover everything about what’s normal, what’s not, and what you should be concerned about when it comes to the blood you see during your period.
Stringy period blood typically isn’t a cause for concern. In most cases, a “stringy” or gel-like consistency is just a blood clot leaving your uterus. Blood clots that are small (about the size of a quarter) are normal.
Remember that your “period” refers to the first days of each menstrual cycle, when the lining of your uterus is discarded by your body. Period blood is a mixture of this discarded uterine lining, blood, and vaginal fluid.
The first day or two of your period tend to be the heaviest days of bleeding. These are also the days that you’ll most likely notice varying consistencies in the blood your body is releasing.
Stringy period blood
Long strands of blood with a sticky, fluid consistency can be highly concentrated with the uterine lining that your body is shedding. This stringy period blood is typically dark or bright red.
Clumpy period blood
As your period continues, you may notice blood that’s jelly-like or broken up into thick clumps. This is typically caused by blood clots that are passing through your body. This is normal during any part of your period.
However, you may be more likely to see this on later days of your period as your flow begins to slow down. These clots may be bright red, dark red, or brown.
Watery period blood
Toward the end of your cycle, your period blood may appear watery and thin. It also may grow darker in color as the blood begins to oxidize.
Period blood that’s bright red and watery can be fresh blood coming straight from your uterus. This may indicate an injury or a miscarriage.
Seek medical attention if you notice bright red, watery blood coming from your uterus, especially, if there’s a chance you might be pregnant.
If you’re consistently passing large blood clots during your period, you should speak to your primary doctor or your gynecologist.
Larger, more frequent blood clots can be an indicator of an underlying medical condition. Heavy periods that last several days and consist of multiple blood clots can sometimes be a symptom of:
- uterine fibroids, muscular growths that line the wall of you uterus
- adenomyosis, a condition that involves a buildup of tissue in your uterus
- polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that causes cysts and swelling in your ovaries
- endometriosis, a condition that causes endometrial tissue to grow outside of your uterus
- polyps, which are small, benign growths in your uterus lining
- endometrial cancer, which causes malignant tumors in your reproductive organs
- bleeding disorders
- thyroid conditions
- complications from an intrauterine device (IUD)
- vitamin K deficiency
Everyone who has a monthly menstrual cycle experiences their period differently. Your period might even be different for you every time you have one, varying in how long it lasts, the symptoms that come with it, and how much you bleed.
Prolonged, noticeable changes in your menstruation cycle should be discussed with your doctor. Symptoms to look out for include:
- bruising easily, fatigue, or shortness of breath, all of which can indicate anemia
- increased cramping during your period
- pain or bleeding during or after sex
- clots that appear to grow larger in size as your period progresses
- soaking through pads every hour or soaking through your outer clothing
- watery discharge that’s bright red or gray
- heavy period bleeding that increases or continues after 7 days (menometrorrhagia)
Stringy period blood usually just means you’re at the part of your menstrual cycle where blood flow is the heaviest. Blood that’s sticky or clotting together is normal during this time of the month.
If you notice significant changes to your monthly cycle, including lots of large blood clots that you never noticed before, you should speak to a doctor about possible underlying conditions.