Having a period is an amazing way your body stays healthy, clears your uterus and vagina of unwanted materials, and prepares your body to get pregnant if you want to have a baby. Periods are empowering, but they can also be seriously strange.
If you’ve ever changed a pad and wondered why your period blood looked different than normal, you understand. Period blood changes in color and consistency may change depending on the day or month.
Take a deep breath. Most of the time, whatever you see on your pad or experience during your period is completely healthy. The range of “normal” for period blood color and consistency is very wide. Let’s talk about period blood consistency and why it’s sometimes stringy.
What Is On My Pad?
If you’ve never asked yourself this question, we’re calling your bluff. We’ve all woken up to a maxi pad that has a strange consistency or color. It can put you in a seriously big mood and have you frantically Googling what it means.
Period blood color and consistency range from person to person and period to period. What you experience this month may be different next month. In terms of consistency, virtually anything goes. Here’s a quick look at what’s normal and what isn’t.
Normal period blood is usually somewhere between the consistency of water and tomato sauce, like a slightly thicker liquid. Your period blood will usually stay the same consistency for years at a time unless you have life changes like menopause or pregnancy.
However, you will notice isolated changes to the usual flow almost every period.
Gel-like. The discharge you experience before you start your period can be thick, white, and sometimes clear. It can also look a little gelatinous. This can happen during your period, too. Normally, you’ll only see this during your period if you are passing a blood clot.
Blood clots can be normal during your period, especially at the very beginning and very end.
- Liquid. On your heaviest flow days, your period blood is probably very thin and closer to how you bleed when you get a cut on your finger. This is kind of like the normal period blood consistency “home base.”
Thick, mucousy. Toward the end of your period, you may experience heavier flow, with a consistency that more resembles strawberry jam. This is also another indication that you could be passing a clot.
While clots are normally perfectly fine, there are some cases when you should see your doctor, which we’ll talk about below.
When To See Your Doctor
Most of the time, the consistency of your period blood is perfectly normal, especially if the change in consistency you see is minimal and isolated during your period. If, however, you notice a change in the consistency of your period blood that seems semi-permanent, it could mean there’s an underlying issue.
Blood clots happen when you shed more blood than you normally do and when blood collects in your uterus or your vagina. This can happen overnight while you sleep. Blood pools in the vagina or uterus and clots, and the next morning you wake up to discover you’ve passed a clot.
You’ll usually see blood clots during especially heavy periods, and that can be normal. However, the CDC says any clot that is larger than a quarter needs to be reported to your doctor. Also, if you experience blood clots consistently throughout your period, let your doctor know.
Thin and Watery Period Blood
Period blood can be thin, especially if your flow is heavy, but if you notice it thinning and decreasing in color (i.e., it gets lighter and lighter), it could be a symptom of a uterine fibroid or cyst.
If you have a discharge that looks like water, it’s a good idea to get it checked with your doctor. While it is probably an isolated incident, getting treatment early can save you from experiencing pain and discomfort if you do have a cyst or fibroid.
You Have Bloody Discharge When You Aren’t on Your Period
Some spotting when you aren’t on your period can be normal. It can also be normal to start and stop your period within a day or two of your scheduled start or stop date. But if you are frequently experiencing bleeding when you are not on your period, you should see your doctor.
What About Stringy Period Blood?
Stringy, mucousy, or slimy, sometimes your period blood can be seriously crazy looking and make you wonder if everything is okay down there.
When you see stringy discharge on your period, don’t worry. Stringy period blood usually just indicates a regular blood clot. Your period blood doesn’t clot like normal blood, which is good because it wouldn’t leave your body if it did. When it does clot, the clots form differently than clots elsewhere on your body.
Period blood clots form more loosely than other clots, leaving them looking stringy, lumpy, or like gelatin. We know it’s not something you like to see, but it’s completely normal and natural.
What Causes Period Blood To Change?
Several different triggers can cause period blood changes. Hormones and lifestyle are the biggest factors that can cause changes that you notice in your flow. Even super stressful times during your life can lead to periods that change in color and consistency.
Here’s what you should know about what can cause changes in your periods.
They change more than just your skin and body; hormones change virtually everything.
Your hormones change daily, and hormone changes can change your flow’s consistency (and color). Major hormonal changes like menopause or having a baby can change how you experience your period, from the flow to the length of time you have it.
When you’re stressed, your hormones are affected by cortisol, changing period consistency and flow. Learning to manage your stress can keep your period (and your mood) a little more predictable and consistent.
Sometimes our lifestyle can change the way we have our periods. If you’re extremely active, for instance, your period consistency and color may change. If you aren’t getting enough calories to make up for exercise, you could lose your period altogether, which is called amenorrhea.
Your lifestyle plays a major role in your period, and changing from sedentary to active or active to sedentary can change the way your period happens.
What To Do About Stringy Period Blood
You don’t have to do anything differently when you experience stringy period blood, but you might want to switch up your period care products if your favorite method isn’t working. Here’s why.
Tampons are absorbent, but they don’t work very well for thicker blood, including clots and stringy consistencies. Clots and stringy blood can slide right past a tampon and leak out. If you’re having a day experiencing a lot of clotting, opt for a pad or liner instead.
The cup is a great solution for people who experience occasional stringy period blood and clots. The cup is a flexible, silicone cup that sits inside the vagina to catch your flow. Rael’s menstrual cups can hold your flow for up to 12 hours, which is a great way to stay present in your day-to-day activities and think less about your period.
Rael’s menstrual cups are available in two different sizes, so you can use a cup no matter what phase of life you’re in.
Have you tried period panties yet? They’re seriously amazing. Period underwear is made just like your regular underwear but with a super-absorbent core and waterproof backing. Rael’s period underwear can hold as much flow as up to three tampons.
When you’re experiencing more clots than normal, period underwear to the rescue, they’ll keep you protected and make it easy to clean up.
Stringy period blood? No worries. It’s just your body’s way of flushing out unneeded material and keeping your cycle going. You can feel confident knowing that period consistency changes a lot, but it’s nothing to worry about most of the time.
When consistency changes and the method of period care you normally use doesn’t work as well, grab something else and get back in the game. At Rael, we offer period care products that help keep you confident, comfortable, and protected no matter what your period gives you.
You can have an empowered period, no matter what kind of consistency you experience with your flow. Rael has you covered with holistic products that are gentle on your body and give you peace of mind knowing you’re protected.