What Every Woman Needs to Know About Blood Clots

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What Every Woman Needs to Know About Blood Clots

by Varci Vartanian – Reproduced with Permission – Originally Published in the Daily Muse April 8, 2012

What every women should knowKate, a 28-year-old development professional, was uploading snapshots of Mai Tais and Maui sunsets from her Hawaiian honeymoon when she noticed a pain in her calf that felt like a pulled muscle. At night, the pain was so intense that it woke her up, so she went to an orthopedic surgeon who ordered a scan.

The test didn’t show any issues, so she forgot about it, until seven months later, when the newlyweds hopped a plane to San Francisco. On the return layover, Kate exited the plane, felt dizzy, and passed out in the terminal. The alarmed couple rented a car and drove back home to North Carolina, where she saw a doctor again. He chalked it up to dehydration.

Then Kate started experiencing something new on her daily five-mile walks: “I was kind of short of breath. Since it was my first summer in North Carolina, I thought it was allergies or maybe that I was out of shape—so I would go extra hard on the elliptical machine.” She didn’t share her symptom with anyone and soon became preoccupied with packing for a family trip to Alaska and Seattle.

As she waved hello to Starbucks’ stomping grounds from the Space Needle, Kate was completely unaware of the killer in her right calf. A massive blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), had formed in her lower right leg and was releasing smaller clots that were traveling to her lungs.

These blood clots in the lungs, called pulmonary emboli (PE), “can be life-threatening and in 10-15% of cases, cause sudden death,” says Dr. Jack Ansell, MD, hematologist and member of the National Blood Clot Alliance’s Medical & Scientific Advisory Board. “The first sign of a PE can be death.”

As the trip progressed, Kate had an increasingly difficult time catching her breath. She couldn’t shake the feeling “that something was wrong,” but boarded the plane with a pack of M&M’s and told herself everything would be OK.

Mid-flight, she got up to use the bathroom and collapsed in the middle of the aisle. A group of firemen on board gave her oxygen, and upon landing, an ambulance whisked her to an Atlanta ER where she was diagnosed with dehydration and vasovagal reaction (a fainting episode). She immediately flew back to North Carolina and scheduled an urgent doctor visit. As she prepped for her appointment, she collapsed again after climbing the stairs.

“I called 911, and the [paramedics] didn’t think anything major had happened,” she recalls. “They said, ‘wait until your husband gets home and he can take you to the doctor.’”

Luckily for Kate, a mother’s instinct was on her side. Her mom (a nurse) suggested that a blood clot might explain Kate’s mystery malady. Her doctor ordered a V-Q scan (a specialized lung test), and found multiple PEs in both lungs. Kate—a healthy young woman whose only risk factors were a series of flights longer than five hours and the daily birth control pill she popped—was in danger of having a heart attack.

Although Dr. Ansell states that the actual frequency of DVTs is low in young people, he emphasizes that it’s essential to know about the risk. “This should not be called an epidemic, but about 100,000 people die each year as a result and there are upwards of 500,000-600,000 cases per year.”

Take a lesson from Kate’s story, and read on for what you need to know.

Acquaint Yourself With the Symptoms

Kate was lucky to escape with her life, but knowing the warning signs could have gotten her more immediate medical attention. Shortness of breath, chest pain (particularly with deep breathing), coughing up blood, persistent leg pain, or redness, swelling, or warmth in your lower legs (usually one-sided) can all be indications of a blood clot in the legs or lungs, and should never be ignored.

And, give yourself a break already. “Women tend to beat themselves up about losing weight,” she says. “But, if you’re short of breath, it may not mean you’re out of shape. Know the signs and symptoms—you are your own best advocate.”

Get to Know Your Meds (and Your Family History)

Using estrogen-based birth control (pills, patches, and rings) comes with a risk of blood clots, though it’s relatively small. “The overwhelming majority of women on birth control pills do not have problems,” says Ansell.

But, it’s important to note that smoking, being obese, or having a family history of clotting disorders while you’re taking estrogen can all increase the risk.

Check your family tree for clotting disorders before your next appointment for hormonal birth control—and communicate the findings with your doctor. The most common inherited disorder leading to blood clots is Factor V Leiden, which is typically suspected in “individuals who develop blood clots at a young age, who are white with European ancestry, have a family history of clots, or have blood clots in unusual sites,” says Ansell.

If you’re already on estrogen-based birth control, burn the list of DVT and PE symptoms into your brain. And if you feel strongly that something is amiss—trust your instincts and see your doctor.

Wiggle Your Way Across the Ocean

Those warnings you see in the back of airline magazines? They do warrant a few seconds of your attention. “Individuals who undertake long distance air travel (greater than five hours) and are relatively immobile have a slightly greater chance of developing a clot,” says Ansell. And, the possibility of travel-related DVT is amplified somewhat with pre-existing factors (like taking estrogen-containing birth control, pregnancy, or obesity)—however, it’s important to note that the overall risk of clotting with air travel still remains small.

Even so, if you’re traveling internationally or cross-country, it’s imperative to get out of your seat every hour and move. “Get in the habit of fidgeting when you’re sitting,” says Ansell. Point your toes downward and upward, make circles, and heck, even try spelling out the alphabet. The key is to keep the blood flowing.

And, although being well-hydrated (a.k.a. asking the kind flight attendant for ice water instead of extra ice for your vodka cranberry) is never a bad idea—there is no definitive evidence to show that dehydration increases DVT risk. Pushing fluids might, however, push you to get up more frequently to use the facilities, and reduce your risk that way.

While you don’t need to be overwhelmingly alarmed about your blood clot risk, you should definitely be aware.  The bad news is that we’re talking about 100,000 deaths per year from blood clots, but the good news is that most of them can be prevented.

Varci VartanianAbout the Author

Varci Vartanian is a jack (er, Jill) of all trades. After a successful career in healthcare, she traded her lab coat for her current position as chief temper tantrum tamer/play date consultant for her two-year-old. She also enjoys writing short stories, freelance magazine work, and carbohydrates.

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72 Responses to "What Every Woman Needs to Know About Blood Clots"

  1. Van meeteren Rebekka
    Van meeteren Rebekka Posted on July 26, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    what to Know I have a blood clot in my lung One night had a cramp in my left side went to bed could not turn over or sit up yelled got help jerked me up and we went to Hospital ones there i got terrible pain my heart stopped four times after many a test like m r i scan,s and more they found a blood cloth in my left lung I am now on warfarin for the rest of my life going to labb some times 3x a week I would like to know how or when does that blood clot dessolves or leave the lung? I have heard that often they might brake in to small pieces and make more clot,s so far Doctors have been unable to identify where the blood clot,s came from;however my left foot ,ankle and leg below the knee are swollen specially my ffot right leg is fine Can you tell me more? How can the clot in my long dissapear?

    • Sherry Leveck
      Sherry Leveck Posted on February 15, 2015 at 5:11 am

      There is a chance that you really do not want that blood clot in your lungs to break up into smaller particles. There are the unfortunate chances that they can go to the heart or brain. Either way, it is by far worse than what you have. Right now, if there is no change, there is nothing to be concerned about. At least not excessively for the time being. No change is good change. If there is a change, get to the doctor, immediately! Do not pass go and do not worry about that $200, as in Monopoly game.

  2. Christy
    Christy Posted on July 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Would it be useful to ask for a d-dimer if you suspect a DVT?

  3. Judy
    Judy Posted on July 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I’ve had numerous DVTs and P Es I finally was diagnosed with APS. I threw the clots to both lungs after a very active day riding horses. I am not overweight So please beware it does not necessarily happen when you are sedentary. I went to bed on a Friday woke up in the hospital on a Tuesday . My family could’nt wake me up, that episode was a PE one in each lung After 3episodes of PEs and 4 episodes of DVTs the only thing I can say is you just never know….

  4. Lolita
    Lolita Posted on July 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    This is not uncommon in young people. My daughter who was 23 at the time had a blood clot in her leg that traveled to her lungs. I know of another young lady and man that both died from blood clots! There are symptoms and i believe that should be a standard testing for blood clots when you present with certain symptoms. Shortness of breath, pain in the chest or pain in the lower limbs. We had to wait in the waiting room of the ER after her doctor told us to go there because she may have a PE, then we had to wait 15 min!! They told us our daughter was a ticking time bomb it could have been 2 hours or 24 hours but she would have died right on the spot and there was nothing we could do about it! More research and better screening has to be done.

    • Hunter
      Hunter Posted on March 25, 2015 at 4:40 am

      I am currently 21 years old. I got pregnant when I was 19. At the last month of my pregnancy, I started noticing swelling and pain in my left leg. It began to get worse over time. I went to my Obgyn and he claimed it was only a pinched nerve. He said there wasn’t anything the hospital could do for me with a pinched nerve being pregnant. 3 days passed and my leg was so bad that my fiance had to carry me places and help me take baths. Finally, I had enough. My fiance and I went to the hospital. They did and ultrasound on my leg and found a golf ball size blood clot in my groin area on my main vein. They immediately admitted me to the hospital. Of course, my obgyn had traveled to Italy 2 days prior. After careful thought and conversations, they decided to do natural birth. After delivering my daughter, I was immediately put on Coumadin and Lovinox shots. After six months of the blood thinners, I was taken off for 3 weeks. I was to return to his to check my PT /INR levels as well as run about 9 or 10 blood tests. These tests were to see if it was something hereditary or if the pregnancy caused it. Finally, I went back to see the doctor after he got the results. I was diagnosed with Leiden Factor 5. It is a hereditary disease that I had contracted. I am now currently having to take blood thinners for the rest of my life. I am one of the youngest people in Middle Ga to have contracted a blood clot at such a young age!

      • Jenna
        Jenna Posted on September 13, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        I actually developed at DVT blood clot in my left leg at the age of 19 as well! It is crazy how people think this can’t happen at a young age! Hope you are doing well, stay strong!

  5. Holly
    Holly Posted on July 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Great article – awareness is definitely the key! So many people are unaware that DVTs and PEs can come at any point in life and to anybody. I had 13 clots in both lungs in May 2012 with no major risk factor and have suffered another clot in my right lung 8 weeks ago. I am now on life long anti coagulants. They have done lots of tests for blood disorders all negative. More research definitely has to be done to provide more answers. The doctor said if i hadnt have gone in when i did the first time round I would of 100% died in 7 days because the main clot was nearly completely blocking the blood flow to my heart.

  6. Michael Wong
    Michael Wong Posted on August 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this article highlighting the dangers posed by blood clots and what every woman needs to know about them. This risk increases significantly for pregnant women. “For pregnant women, the risks of VTE is 4-5 times higher than women who are not pregnant,” says Dr. Andra James (Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine). “Moreover, this risk is at least twice as much following cesarean delivery.” For more on this and the safety checklist that is being developed for women following cesarean and vaginal delivery, please see http://ppahs.org/2013/05/02/preventing-death-following-cesarean-delivery/

  7. Ana Franco
    Ana Franco Posted on October 4, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Read this article…great info. Like others who have shared their stories, I have had issues with blood clots also. I got my first blood clot when I was 29. I was diagnosed with DVT after dealing with a horrible pain in my right calf for about 4 months. The first time my doctor ordered a scan and they found nothing. Two months later I went into the ER because I couldn’t sleep through the night anymore and I couldn’t even stand at my sink and wash dishes. I had to rest it on a chair. So this time, they found a blood clot. I spent 3 days in the hospital and they told me the only way I could be released was if I was willing to have someone inject me or inject myself with lovenox. Anyway, my doctor couldn’t understand why at my age I was getting blood clots. He had me see a hematologist and they ordered all kinds of blood tests. I was tested for this gene mutation called MTHFR which I tested positive for. Basically, I have this genetic mutation which causes my blood to be too thick so I’ll be on blood thinners for life. Just last year I got another clot….same spot. I had moved out of state and had to change doctors and get back on my warfarin sodium. So, now my new doc says I cannot stop taking my blood thinners or I’ll clot again….scary stuff and its nothing to mess around with. I’m lucky that my situation wasn’t worse.

    • Charlotte Lennon
      Charlotte Lennon Posted on August 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Ana ….I have the mthfr mutation as well so that makes me think that it is related to our clotting issues. I have also had many clotting problems and pulmonary embolisms. Just wanted to share that in my opinion the gene mutation matters. I have the c677t which is the more severe of the 2 types . The other being the 1298!

  8. Mark
    Mark Posted on November 9, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Ice and cold in this article, write about that ice and cold water to help with hemorrhoids.

  9. Tina
    Tina Posted on December 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t count on the D-dimer, mine came back negative when I had DVT and PE. False negative, doctors believed it and that almost killed me.

    • brittany
      brittany Posted on June 18, 2014 at 4:52 am

      I doubt anyone sees this but i also had a d-dimer ran today because when they did an ultrasound, it should scarring in my leg vein exactly where im having pain. Meaning they think i HAD a clot but its not there anymore. My d/dimer came back negative..shouldnt they have done extra testing just to be safe??! I feel so helpless because they seem to not care but the pain im in is as close to childbirth pain i can get! Ive had 2 babies by the way ! 8Lps and a 9 pounder !someone with experience in this or going thru the same please email me at lilbritt5467@yahoo.com !!

  10. April Lea
    April Lea Posted on January 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I too was diagnosed with DVT at 40 years old. I had started the week with a pain in my upper thigh. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle. My coworker even joked that I may have a blood clot and I laughed it off. The second day it was getting worse and felt warm. I tried to call a family dr and was told just go to the ER as they wouldn’t see me for those symptoms. My husband looked at the area when he came home from work and was shocked to find what he said felt like a pencil inside my thigh. Even at the hospital they first wanted to say it was probably just superficial. That is until the ultrasound tech found otherwise. I went home and had to have my husband inject me twice a day with lovenox, and was on warfarin. A specialist then switched me to xarelto and discovered that I had factor v Leiden, as well as I am also protein s deficient. I will now be on thinners for te rest of my life. The good news is my 23 year old daughter has now been tested and was positive for both, but this could have been life threatening for her as she was on birth control. My niece also has been diagnosed and has now been able to have her first child after two miscarriages. We were unaware this ran in our family, or that it can cause miscarriages. Please learn the symptoms.

  11. Jordan
    Jordan Posted on January 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    A few weeks ago I was hospitalized for acute PE caused by a massive blood clot in my leg after foot surgery. I am only 23 and healthy. It can happen to anyone, really. Yes, the surgery is what they suspect caused the blood clot, but please don’t ignore the symptoms even if you’re “not at risk”. I ignored them for days and was told I was very, very lucky I came to the hospital when I did. I had a very sore feeling in my leg that was unlike the pain I had while healing (obviously surgery hurts, but this was a new, dull pain that felt like a muscle pull). I started becoming short of breath and felt like I was beginning to get bronchitis when breathing. Then, the muscle pain in my chest and back started. It was painful to lay down or breathe because my muscles felt torn and even spasmed on me a few times. The muscle pain got worse (I was told it was lack of oxygen to my muscles causing this pain – it is like pulled muscles but very intense and for really no reason. This is when I should have gone to the hospital). Then, I got up to go to the bathroom a day later and my heart started pounding. I couldn’t breathe. I should have gone then but thought I was having a panic attack from the pain in my muscles. Even relaxing and taking deep breaths my heart rate would not go down. I finally went to the hospital with a heart rate of 160 and an oxygen count of 83. I was hospitalized for 5 days. Do not be me. Do not be stupid. If you are having unusual pain in your leg that moves to your chest, intense muscle pain accompanied by shortness of breath, go to the ER. They knew exactly what was up and rushed me back immediately. I very, very likely could have died. I’m lucky I’m young and my heart could handle it. I was told the blood clots were like “buckshot” to my lungs. I am now on blood thinners and have a normal expectancy of life, but please don’t risk it.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth Posted on December 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm


      Thanks for posting this. I’ve had leg and thigh pain the last two weeks, I’ve had a history of clots before, and last night I could not lie down, my left chest was hurting like a dull pressure which turned into pain. I was afraid to go to sleep, I felt nauseous and short of breath, I basically sat up for 6 hours waiting for the pain to go away. I thought maybe it was gas. I feel tired and drained right now, and I was not going to go to the hospital, but after reading this, I think I will go to the clinic. Thanks for writing this in a way that I couldn’t ignore.

  12. Melissa K
    Melissa K Posted on February 6, 2014 at 2:39 am

    I’m 46 and suspected I had a DVT when I developed pain in my calf a few days after surgery. It was confirmed yesterday by ultrasound. If anyone else has just been diagnosed with DVT and has been told little more than, “You have a blood clot. You might die. I’ll call in some blood thinners to your pharmacy,” I recommend watching the patient webinar ClotConnect on YouTube. Don’t skip to part 3 or 4–after the first two or three screens of stuff you probably already know, the thing is packed with info and answers to your most specific questions, including some you didn’t know you had. For example, I was relieved to hear that calf DVTs are less dangerous than thigh DVTs (still dangerous, but less so). Here’s another example: It hadn’t occurred to me not to fly. The presenter recommends not flying for 4 weeks after diagnosis, until the heparin/warfarin has time to do its work, but admits it’s still unclear whether flying with a DVT increases the risk of dislodging a clot. Anyway, I hope the info in the webinar is as helpful to someone else as it has been to me.

  13. Barbara Kornblau
    Barbara Kornblau Posted on February 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Melissa, you can see the most up-to-date information from the video of our live 4 hour workshop, Stop The Clot Forum that was held this past November in Boston. It answers all of your questions and one of the speakers is Andra James, an international expert who spoke on Women and Blood Clots. You can watch it here https://www.stoptheclot.org/news/stop-the-clot-forum-boston-2013.htm

  14. Donald
    Donald Posted on February 9, 2014 at 4:37 am

    I am in a hospital in Tokyo right now. I was diagnosed with PE on Jan 17 and admitted immediately.
    An echo exam on Jan 16 showed no sign of clots in my legs but an enlarged right ventricle.
    A CT Angiography on morning of the 17th, showed both aorta and pulmonary arteries covered in clots.
    Too many to count according to my cardiologist. IV Heparin treatment began immediately. Doctors were baffled
    by lack of clots in the legs and therefore of the genesis of the clots in the heart. I have suffered form UC for 30 years and it was active last fall with bleeding. they believe the clotting began there. Shortness of breath was my only symptom and like others I first thought I was just out of shape. Until one day I walked up a small hill near my home and had to gasp for air as I reached the top. After a week on heparin I developed HIT–which is why I am still in the hospital with a right leg now filled with clots..

  15. Ayla Becerra
    Ayla Becerra Posted on February 21, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Four months ago I hurt my knee really bad for a second time and I noticed that after those months the bruises on my knee are still there. I developed a pain on my thigh. I fear that I may have had a dvt on that thigh and that it has spread causing pain my body but only on the veins. I also had the same “muscle cramp” pain as Kate but on that upper thigh on the same leg I hurt my knee. My mother massaged it and it hurt a lot the pain still stayed and traveled to my calf and I started getting bruises which haven’t gone away to this day. this has been a month and the symptoms just worsen. It feels like a pinching/throbbing on certain parts of my arms and legs now. My veins are very visible and my body is tender. I have many bruises on my legs and arms and I have occasional pain on the right inside of my rib cage and sharp pain on the left of my chest (it feels like sharp stabs at my heart). I have also noticed that I have shortness of breath and odd pain on the right side of my head (like pulsing almost like a migrane but last for a short while) I have been having the headaches and heart pain constantly. I went to see my doctor but all he did was give me pain killers that just didn’t work. I did a blood test (that was extremely painful afterwards that caused the pain I have now on my arms) and I came out perfectly fine the doctor doesn’t seem concerned and tells me that it may be a cause of stress but my body has never reacted this way. He told me to wait another to week to see if the pain persists. I feel like something is severely wrong and I’m very afraid. The symptoms just get worse along with the pain as time passes. I’m only 19 years old and I understand that its not common for someone of my age to get a blood clot and I might be over exaggerating but this is not normal. I’m tired of feeling like I’m a nut case with my doctor and him not putting importance in my symptoms. I don’t know if I should go to the ER, I feel like they might tell me the same thing as my doctor.

    • Emma
      Emma Posted on March 9, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      .As u probably already know u r showing a lot of the symtoms of blood clots, travelling 2 ur lungs and heart.I’m not a dr but I have recently been diagnosed with a blood clot myself.my leg had swollen up and I went straight 2 A & E and was put on anticoagulants immediately.I got an ultrasound scan and the first one was clear.They offered a second scan a week later which I went for and it showed a clot.It dozn’t mattet how old u r.Go 2 hospital asap and xplain all ur symtoms and that u had a knee injury.Don’t worry about it being nothing .somerhing is causing these symptoms and if ithe sooner u get chkd the better..I dont want 2 over worry u but its a very severe condition.hopefully it won’t b that but there r treatments depending on where it is, the size and severity of it. Go 4 that 2nd opinion at A & E.Thats what there here 4.goodluck hen and godbless x

    • Kristin
      Kristin Posted on September 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      I am so happy to have found this site! Ayla, I have all the symptoms u said u had…the pinching n throbbing in my hands and legs also n my face is tingling on n off…I have pain in right side of my head like I’ve never had before…both of my feet and ankles are very painful n swollen…pain on back shoulder blade n travels to front of my chest…I’ve went to 2 different emergency rooms over the past 2 nights n NOTHING!! First night only did ultrasound which was negative…second night had chest xray n blood test n still NOTHING!!! I am losing my mind…I’m so frustrated n confused. Also my veins are very noticeable and enlarged n very very sensitive…everytime one becomes very visible I feel it.

      • Lily
        Lily Posted on November 2, 2014 at 4:54 am

        sorry i meant that reply for the other girl… but dude i turned 30 recently and it seems like i have weird pains all the time. hope things work out for you.

    • Lily
      Lily Posted on November 2, 2014 at 4:51 am

      you should get an ultra sound. No pain, and that tells you right away if you have one or not. Sure, go to ER. It’s worth the peace of mind.

  16. Ayla Becerra
    Ayla Becerra Posted on February 21, 2014 at 1:32 am

    I also forgot to say that I sit for large amounts of time since I work at the library in the evenings and go to school in the morning. I don’t know if this can also be a symptom for a blood clot but lately I’ve been having odd stomach aches that only last for a few seconds just like the heart pains.

  17. robin
    robin Posted on February 23, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I am 42 yrs old one year ago my left hand swelled I went to er they found a large blood clot in my bracial vain they put me on lovanox injections and 11.25 mg of warfin shortly after that they ran every blood test every scan possible to find cause but only found more clots total of 4 one in jugular one in bracial and 2 in abdomin all on left side and still no answer to what is causing this. The warfin made me feel very awful in alot of ways against hemotoligst better judgement I took myself off blood thinners and just looking out if I feel any signs or symptoms.

  18. Yvonne
    Yvonne Posted on February 25, 2014 at 5:29 am

    You can not stop. You need to keep taking call your doctor and tell him your problem. You may be able to change medication. You are playing with fire and you will lose.

  19. robin
    robin Posted on March 4, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Thank u for your reply unfortunately its the only thinner covered by my insurance the others are up their in price . Guess you could say this is ware my faith steps in. 🙂

    • cw
      cw Posted on April 9, 2014 at 1:41 am

      Your doctor may be able to petition your insurance company on your behalf to try to obtain a different medication, and also with more affordable pricing if the others are very high priced. It’s an appeal, and should take 30 days or less to have the doc’s request reviewed and receive a response from the insurance co. It can be worth trying, and is sometimes successful for getting the drug one needs as well as different pricing than one’s drug formulary indicates. Good luck. I know this is an older post, but thought I’d still reply. Definitely, you need to continue on medication for this problem. Go back to your doc, please, and explain your issues with it.

  20. Jasmine
    Jasmine Posted on March 14, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    My left calf muscle and leg is much bigger than my right. This happened years ago when I developed a massive ulcer in my calf muscle which over a year to heal and in the end, they thought it was caused by a white tip spider. But then, because of the obvious swelling of my left leg and my left calf in particular I was sent to a vascular surgery place where they could see my veins were not pushing my blood properly so they stripped some veins in my leg. That however, made my leg even more bigger and then no doctor could work out why so they put it down to lymphodema and then that was that. I’m 24 and healthy and . And my leg and calf is swollen. I’m laying in bed now reading this because my left calf is experiencing a weird pain inside, that I’ve never felt. It’s only when I move it around. When it’s resting I don’t feel it as much. I’ve been in and out of specialist and doctors since 2008 trying to figure my leg out. Should I go to the ER and explain this or will I get turned away?

  21. Jasmine
    Jasmine Posted on March 15, 2014 at 1:46 am

    And yes… I did indeed get turned away 🙁

  22. Tina
    Tina Posted on March 17, 2014 at 9:47 am

    What about pain that pulses in my left side of neck, comes and goes, but is sharp and has disturbed my sleep?

  23. Holley
    Holley Posted on March 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Im a 39 year female, who just happens to be in the hospital from bloodclots being in both lungs. I’ve also got them behind my left knee cap. Yes im scared..of dieing….I want them to go away. Will they? Will i be ok? Im taking blood thinners

  24. patty
    patty Posted on March 19, 2014 at 1:27 am

    I so wish I would have seen this a month or two ago.
    My mother in law just randomly died in her sleep because of a blood clot.
    Now reading this article so makes me think of all the aches she used to talk about.
    God bless rip mom (colleen)

  25. Julie Jones
    Julie Jones Posted on March 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I am 53 female, I have been getting a lot of cramp in my right calf at night and sometimes in my thigh and i get short of breath when i get up to use the bathroom and now my thigh and calf feel bruised when i walk and i do tend to sit on my leg most of the time … Please can any one help. many thanks Julie

  26. Julie Jones
    Julie Jones Posted on March 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Oh and i also get tingling in my hands and numbness in my arms and i cant raise them … Julie

    • Laura
      Laura Posted on May 16, 2016 at 8:41 am

      What was wrong with you last March tingling and numbness, pain) ?How are doing now ?

  27. linda
    linda Posted on March 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

    In 2004 I was 42 and woke up with a purple left arm. The short story. Was a clot in my biracial and another in my biracial/jugular. I am pretty stable on 5 mg warfarin. Recently I have been fluctuating and tonight my mid thigh pain woke me up. Dropped blood today for protime cause my neck has been hurting for 3 dayss.

  28. linda
    linda Posted on March 21, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Stupid auto correct -bracial

  29. robin
    robin Posted on March 23, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Well as I posted on feb 23rd I had stopped taking my blood thinners against my doctors better judgement well since this all started my left side gets weaker and weaker welll come to find out I have had a stroke and didnt know it this clotting thing is really a ugly thing your world changes over nite and it doesnt matter your age its feels like I just need to enjoy life with my kids and grand daughters because at this rate im not promised tommarrow. Each day I wake up and thank my god he allowed me one more day with all my babies. I thank you my god for keeping me in ur covenant …….

  30. Sue
    Sue Posted on May 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I am a 36 y/o single mother of 2. When I was 28 I was diagnosed with ITP – my spleen was destroying all my platelets quicker than my body could make them. So, after many trial and error attempts to boost my platelets I finally made the decision to have a Splenectomy. Almost immediately after surgery, when I came to I could not breath – felt like an elephant was on my chest. Because my spleen was no longer filtering the platelets my platelet count went from 0 – millions and I had multiple HUGE PE’s. Was kept in hosp for a while on heprin drip, sent home with lovenox and warfarin. Was on thinners for about 6 years when my beloved hema (Dr. D) passed away. I was forced to find a new hema who took me off the thinners. He was seeing me every 3 months and doing CBC’s and D-Dimers. Meanwhile I have this heart issue going on – my heart beats waaaaaaaaaay to fast and I found a GREAT heart doctor who was concerned it was a clot causing the rapid heart rate. He did a d-dimer and it came back positive. Did CT Scan and an US of my legs, nothing. Hema said d-dimers are very sensitive and he wasn’t concerned. 18 months later I started a new job, woke up one day and my left ankle was swollen, red and hurt very badly. Went to hema, did another US and nothing, he said it was cellulitus and gave me antibiotics and sent me on my way…that was Friday. Over the weekend the pain in my ankle was beginning to move up my calf and I couldn’t walk. Went to see regular pulmonary doctor who did blood work, turned out to be gout (which is odd cause I don’t drink alcohol at all). He gave me steroids and it eventually got better. As soon as I could walk again I went back to work. Noticed I was out of breath very easily. I’m overweight, I smoke and I hike but hadn’t in a while since there was 2′ of snow! It became so bad that just going up one flight of stairs and I had to sit down. It took some arm twisting but I got my regular pulmonary doc to set up CT Scan and to everyone’s amazement I had clots in both lungs, one of which was ‘HUGE’ and very, very close proximity to some major arteries. I was immediately started on Xerelto and went on my way. A few days later the pain and tightness in my chest led me to a walk in clinic (it was a Saturday). Due to the nature of the problems they made me go to ER. Turns out this trip to the ER saved my life because had I not gone in I’d be dead. I was hospitalized for 5 days on heprin drip and sent home with warfarin and lovenox. The hema I was seeing almost killed me and then proceeded to LIE about how he handled the situation. Needless to say reported his a$$ and I fired him and have a new hema. He’s running a bunch of tests to see what is causing all the clotting but so far no actual diagnoses. All the problems I have require (what feels like) a zillion specialist doctors. All I know is that I’d gladly be on blood thinners for life….those 18 months of no blood thinners were scary! Sometimes you have to be your own doctor and always trust your gut instinct!!!! RIP Dr. Kenneth Dressler – best hema on east coast 🙁

  31. K.Lisa
    K.Lisa Posted on May 18, 2014 at 8:36 am

    I was 17 years old when I found out I’m missing my inferior venae cavae vein and I was told it’s very rare and the only thing I needed to worry about was blood clots and sure enough a few months later I got a blood clot in my thigh. Should I be on blood thinners for the rest of my life? Or anything besides warfarin? (I’m now 20 years old)

  32. facebook login and password
    facebook login and password Posted on June 1, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Thanks for finally writing about >What Every Woman Needs to Know About Blood Clots | Blood Clots
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  33. Michelle
    Michelle Posted on June 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    yes never believe a d-dimer test i had a dvt in my right arm in march 2013 and was on 6 months warfarin. Had nothing but problems with my right arm since and my d-dimer is always raised. They send me for scans but doesn’t show a clot. D-dimer can be raised for other reasons not just blood clots.

  34. Vicki L
    Vicki L Posted on July 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you for writing this article! I was also given the run around and told I had a pulled muscle. One doctor even told me I was a waste of his time and to get out of his ER(yes he got into trouble for that) By the time they found what was wrong I had almost no blood flow in my leg. It was about 99% blocked off by clots. I had a build up of clots from behind my knee up to my belly button. The day I found out I had my 4 month old baby girl in her baby carrier sitting on the floor sleeping, waiting for mommie. My almost 3 year old was at Grandma’s and the doctor came in and told me to go home, talk to my husband and have everything in order for my kids to be taken care of because they had no idea how I was still alive or if I would make it through the night. I will never, ever forget that day. It has been over a year and I am still having issues. I was told today that I will most likely be on blood thinners the rest of my life because I am to high risk to be taken off of them. Please ladies, if you think you have these symptoms, DO NOT let anyone tell you it’s in your head. Be persistent!

  35. joema
    joema Posted on August 9, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    One day i woke up i have hard time getting out of bed my right hip is very tender and painful when i move my leg and two days later my knee hurts too and i was running fever,they did x ray it was ok,if i dont take pain pill i couldnt move any suggestions

  36. kerrie
    kerrie Posted on August 14, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I have a dull pain by my left ankle. It feels a little swelled but not warm or discolored. I feel like I am being paranoid over nothing, but a month and a half ago I flown for the first time and on our way home we ended up being on the plane for a total of 5 to 6 hours due to weather. Then two weeks ago I was in a car accident and was told to watch for clots. I had no clue why I was told that since I only had a concussion and a strained neck and back. I’m going to the doctor tomorrow to be safe. Could I be worrying over nothing

  37. Judy Jordan
    Judy Jordan Posted on August 23, 2014 at 1:55 am

    It seems like everyone here is so much younger than me. I am 70, own my own business ( I am an accountant)’ I work a full 40 plus hours a week. I know I am overweight, but I am active. I do sit at a desk, but have to get up and walk about every 15 minutes _ don’t sit for extended lengths of time. This past Monday I woke up usual, got out of bed and could’t walk 8 feet to the bathroom. My foot was killing me. Got better as the day went on, but then the next morning it hurt even worse when I got up, but then got better the more I walked on it. By weds morning I couldn’t even touch my foot to the floor, so I went to the doctor. They x-rayed my foot – nothing abnormal. I guess because of my age, they thought I had gout. Then they thought about it and sent me to the ER to check for a clot. They found one and immediately put me on blood thiners. This is Friay and already it is much better. I can’t understand what happened as I have never been sick and am not sedentary at all. My problem is the medicine is extremely expensive. About 800.00 a month. Does anyone know if there are other medicines that are cheaper. I have Medicare and a supplement, but neither pays for medicine. Never have needed much medicine, so never got coverage for medicines.

    • Deb
      Deb Posted on February 22, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Not sure if this will help you at all, since I don’t know what scripts your taking, but we’ve had a lot of success with local pharmacies discounted prescription plans. Try going onto pharmacies like, CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s club, etc. Enter “discount prescription plans” into the search box and that usually brings up a description of their plan and a list of medications their plan covers and also the cost. My friends and family have even had some great results by going onto the homepage of the company who makes the medicine and searching for discounted prices available for medications. I just found one years worth of free medication for migraines from Allergan that even my neurologist’s office wasn’t aware. They have been calling every patient that needs it but couldn’t afford the cost and getting them all signed up for the free medication so they can now receive the much needed treatment. I hope this helps you in some way. Don’t stop asking doctors, nurses, pharmacists, your local Department of Aging, other people in the same situation.. you never know when you might get an answer that helps. Good Luck.

  38. ian
    ian Posted on November 12, 2014 at 3:31 am

    My wife died on the 15th August 2014 of a blood clot she was in the morning and died at night time she was 33 years old no one in hospital picked it up checked her for a blood clot i can not believe i have lost my wife of only 5 years to a blood clot in the lungs, i am heartbroken numb emtpy inside i am also dead as a person and man RIP Lucy

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth Posted on December 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm


      I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that you are feeling better now than you were in November. These blood clots are nothing to mess with, and after reading this post, I will take mine much more seriously, and go get help. I will remember you and your wife n my prayers tonight. God Bless you…..don”t give up!

    • Jennifer Gray
      Jennifer Gray Posted on March 29, 2016 at 3:23 am

      I am so sorry

  39. Mel
    Mel Posted on November 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I’m 17 and I’m going through the same thing right now.. I have several blood clots in my lungs and I’m currently on blood thinners, an estrogen based birth control pill for acne and that is what cause this for me as well. I’ve been on blood thinners for a few weeks and go for a scan the 5th. I’m really hopeing there all gone so I’m able to return to my basketball season. How long did it take for you to have all your blood clots go away?

  40. Jenna
    Jenna Posted on January 20, 2015 at 4:31 am

    It is so good to see a community of people that are going through the same thing! Although this is unfortunate, it is good to see that there is a support group out there!

    I am starting a blog about my experience and would really appreciate it if you could check it out! I want to give people more insight on this by sharing my own personal experience and I want to be able to help others deal with this issue.

    Please do not hesitate to comment/leave feedback

    Thank you so much!!!

  41. Jenna
    Jenna Posted on January 20, 2015 at 4:37 am

    It is so good to see a community of people that are going through the same thing! Although this is unfortunate, it is good to see that there is a support group out there!

    I am starting a blog about my experience of surviving a DVT blood clot at the age of 19 and would really appreciate it if you could check it out! I want to give people more insight on this by sharing my own personal experience and I want to be able to help others deal with this issue.

    Please do not hesitate to comment/leave feedback

    Thank you so much!!!

  42. Amanda
    Amanda Posted on January 22, 2015 at 6:54 am

    When I was four years old I was rushed to the hospital complaining of pain in my fingers (which had turned purple) after a lot of speculation and blood work they found I had what was called arterial thrombosis. I was on Coumadin for a year and everything seemed to go away other than some scarring on my pinky where my finger started to die. Now 22 years later I’m sitting in the emergency room with stumped doctors trying to figure out the throbbing in my right arm. I have no other symptoms. .no swelling not hot to the touch. . Just throbbing pain up and down my arm and tingling in my hand. I wouldn’t usually be so concerned however I recently got the birth control implant in my arm. (Not the same with the pain) anyone else have anything similar happen? At least let me know I’m not crazy for coming in here at 1am

  43. Latasha
    Latasha Posted on January 31, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Hello my name is Latasha and I too have positive PE I Thank God I’m alive every day. I was too close to lo sing, my life, I know only he kept me here. Day to day I just don’t know what to think about the fact that my life is at stake. It hurts because I have a little boy who looks forward to seeing his Mother and being there for him, I have a beautiful Family and some friends, and I have the best man I could ever ask for. I got the blood clots also from the birth control and I was still smoking cigarettes, as the stress progress the cigarette smoking progressed as well. I encourage women to learn more about the things we insert into our bodies and/or mouth, I was on the nuva ring. Please pay attention Women, God Bless.

  44. nisa
    nisa Posted on February 20, 2015 at 9:24 am

    hi, well im 20 years old im having sharp chest pains,and shortness of breath , i went to the cardiologist did a stress test and ultrasound of chest & nothing everything came back normal then my dr wanted to do x-ray of chest and ultrasound of stomach gonna hear the results tomorrow.
    iam on the depo shot for a year it is only for my periods they cause me to be anemic idk if they still do.
    i started reading online about blood clots thank goodness i landed on this page i think i have a blood clot do yo think i do? i have anxiety just thinking about it im scared that i might

    recently i have just noticed and put 2 to 2 together my right calf feels like a rubberband on it and it feels like my blood isnt circulating right,
    thanks for looking, please answer!

    • L F
      L F Posted on February 20, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Hello Nisa. We are happy to hear that you are already seeking help through your own healthcare provider and a cardiologist to help determine the cause of the symptoms you describe. If you are experiencing any symptoms of blood clots, please talk to your healthcare provider about them. You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of blood clots here: https://www.stoptheclot.org/learn_more/blood_clot_symptoms__dvt.htm Also, you can learn about blood clot risks here: https://www.stoptheclot.org/know-your-risk.htm

      Please follow up with your doctor and let us know how everything goes.

  45. Madison Johns
    Madison Johns Posted on March 3, 2015 at 6:12 am

    My sister in-law had a blood clot and her doctor didn’t do anything for her since her blood pressure was too high. She collapsed one day and died from the blood clot.

  46. Sophie
    Sophie Posted on March 8, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I recently had severe pain in my chest and felt as if i was having a heart attach and seriously thought i would die. The ambulance came did an ECG that came negative. Said it was more likely a spasm and go to A&E and check it out. In the time I was having an attack my husband gave me 300mg soluble asprin which i feel gave me the relief.
    Hospital ran some tests my D-Dimer war 1260 therefore immediate treatment for PE on the lungs. Few days later they did a scan of the lungs and found nothing. My GP did some bloods last week and found raised white cells. I am sure I have clots somewhere in my body.. I have sudden headaches leg cramps, constant arm pain. The pain settles after a day. What further tests should i get done?

    • Stilewicz
      Stilewicz Posted on October 24, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      My hemotologist did extra blood test and found factor five leiden which is an inherited genetic blood disorder. My brother has since been tested and he is positive and so is my daughter. This was life saving. Go to a hemotologist.

  47. Roni
    Roni Posted on April 11, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    My name is Roni I recently went to the ER I was having trouble breathing so I i told the doctor i was having difficulties breathing for a few days because i had been having a cold and also had a very swollen and sore calf he took it very seriously he ordered an xray of my chest and an ultrasound of my leg. according to the doctor the ultrasound was negative and i was sent home when i scheduled a follow up appointment the doctor told me i had tiny blood clots in my legs. please make sure you all get a second opinion or keep trying to find he help you need .

  48. Stilewicz
    Stilewicz Posted on October 24, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    These clots can kill you. You don’t have a guarantee that going to an ER will help you. They were sending me home with chest pain and shortness of breath 2 weeks after brain surgery. If my daughter hadn’t stepped in and insisted they do a CT scan of my lungs I would have been dead today!

  49. Cassandra
    Cassandra Posted on December 25, 2015 at 5:41 am

    Good article. I have a history of DVTS. I found out that I have a blood clotting condition. ALWAYS get a second opinion. When I didn’t like how my first vascular Dr treated me I got a second opinion. And I’m glad I did.

  50. Tracy Glover
    Tracy Glover Posted on May 17, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    I’m 46 years old and was still on birth control pills. I used them as a contraceptive, so I wouldn’t get pregnant, and to not have periods. I took the active pills nonstop to avoid having periods. I have been doing this for YEARS! I can’t even tell you how long. My coworker actually noticed that my right arm was bigger than my left. I had been complaining about pain in my right arm. I just blew it off. Until one day, I had a vein hard and popped out of my arm. Went to the ER and found out that I had 100 % blockage in my right arm. The blood clot was from my neck and almost down to my elbow. It has been the scariest episode of my life.
    It’s been almost a month and I’m still in pain for the clot. I’m very lucky to be breathing right now.

  51. Kevin
    Kevin Posted on May 19, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Woke up with a random pain in my calf muscle (right leg right side calf) not sure if it’s serious or not. I turned 24 today and have anxiety ? Could be over thinking it or not. We shall see what the DR. Say

  52. Kevin
    Kevin Posted on May 19, 2016 at 7:19 am

    *right leg, left side calf** no swelling or red color or burning feeling also just feels sore

  53. Katrina Kuegel
    Katrina Kuegel Posted on May 25, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I have had severe pain in my left calf and outside of my left thigh. Some swelling but only enough for me to notice it. Some little spider veins popped out right where the pain is. Two days and it’s so bad it keeps me awake. Nothing relieves the pain. Now I have pain in my left arm as well. Called Dr. office and nurse asked about discoloration, red streaks, warmth and swelling. Said she would talk to doc and call me back. No one called me back. I’m trying to find out if you have to have all the symptoms? From some of the stories I’ve read it sound like it could be the beginning of a clot. My late husband died of PE. He had had tests for clots because of discoloration. They all came back negative but he died suddenly shortly after the tests. It was PE even after being told there were no clots. Do I wait for Dr or go to ER?

    • SW
      SW Posted on May 26, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Hello Katrina. You do not have to have all of the symptoms of a blood clot to have a blood clot and some people experience no symptoms at all. If you are worried, you should either try to contact your doctor again or seek immediate medical assistance. We are very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. Take care.

  54. Faye
    Faye Posted on August 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Hi my name is Faye,
    I have a question to ask because I have a theory, and I am just curious.

    See I had my first blood clot in my right lower calf at the age of 17. Back then I was on the lowest form of birth control there was on the market because any extra estrogen in other pills I started to throw up. That’s then I found out I have extra estrogen in my system naturally. I’m going to get a little graphic here but one way it showed was yellowing on my underwear. (And no it was yeast infections or anything like that).

    The second came at the happiest time of my life (33) when I found out I was pregnant, now I was off of the birth control pill and never took it again after the first blood clot. Unfortunately what was suppose to be my happiest moment was also so confusing and upsetting time as well. About a week into my pregnancy (at this point I thought I was pregnant but not confirmed.) I recognized the system lower calf was tightening up and extreme pain placing my foot to the ground. It was a long weekend and I wanted to talk to my doctor first but the pain got so bad I had gone down to the hospital. They didn’t believe me but confirmed I was pregnant. By Tuesday I went to my doctors. I let her know the hospital wasn’t taking me serious enough. My doctor to give me a note to tell the hospital I had a history of blood clots and sent me to Mount Sinai. They did the ultra sound. (Now the first time I had a blood clot they didn’t find it by ultra sound they only found it by a die test. But this time I was pregnant so the die test couldn’t happen because of the baby)

    I was terrified that they wouldn’t find it, that I would have to choose to end my pregnancy to save my own life. Or do I have the child and lose my own. This was suppose to be a happy time in my life , like everyone get to have why not me? I couldn’t only one going though this? Sure enough they found it. I was sent to the thrombosis clinic. While I was there, they told me I would have to take blood thinners for the full term of the pregnancy everyday. It was the baby that was thickening my blood and that the thinners wouldn’t hurt it or me. But it was going to cost 1500 a month! What!

    Luckily for me I don’t like needles they scare me so a nurse had to come to do it and I didn’t have to pay for.it. I didn’t even make 1500 in a month!

    It all worked out for the good I have my little slice of Heaven a boy. My one and only, love of my life.(besides my husband I mean.)

    Now just to back track a bit.. when I was sitting in the hospital there was another lady that was waiting for the ultrasound as well. We started to talk and she was there for a blood clot as well. She was older then me maybe early 50’s I asked her (and this is where my question comes in) if she had extra estrogen in her system she had said yes. I personally think there is something there is a link for people that have extra estrogen to blood clots. I think it thickens the blood some how in different periods of our life cycle.

    I’m not pregnant now, and I am not on the pill but I feel the blood thickening once again and the pain in the same spot, this time I have slight bruising I have to go to the hospital once again.

    So who has extra estrogen if their system?