There are some instances when you should talk to a medical professional. For example, clotting thats accompanied by weakness and fatigue could be a sign of anemia, a condition in which your body doesnt produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen. Wysocki also says that teens who experience heavy, clot-filled periods which leave them pale and light-headed should consult a doctor to rule out von Willebrand disease (VWD), a condition that prevents blood from clotting properly, which affects two to four million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (She says women typically discover if they have VWD during adolescence due to how annoying and disruptive the periods are.)

Wysocki also notes that women should also consult a professional if they notice a sudden change in their period or if theyre experiencing overall discomfort. Some people might think that normal is being miserable, which it doesnt have to be, she says. Hormonal contraceptives including the pill, patch, and IUD are effective ways to alleviate heavy periods-and the clots that go with them.