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Monday, April 22, 2013

What to do with a Heavy Period!!!

Periods can be a pain in the - well, you get it. Heavy periods (also known as menorrhagia) can be a sign of your luck in the genetic draw, a result of what you're experiencing in life (giving birth, giving up the pill, etc.), or they can be something more serious from a health perspective, such as a disease, disorder, or a miscarriage. When seeking to lighten a period, it's important to deal with the possible health or lifestyle issues involved first, just to be reassured that there's nothing wrong with you. Your doctor's advice and reassurance will clear the way to try a few management methods to try and at least ease the burden of a heavy period.
If you try to see lightening your heavy period as being about making it more bearable, and managing it well, then it might be a bit easier for you to cope with heavy periods. While there are a number of things you can do try and lighten heavy periods, sometimes it may be about changing your approach to it.

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1. Determine whether you actually have a heavy period. While few women rejoice in the arrival of a period, it should be something manageable and bearable. Feeling that it isn't manageable though may not in itself be an indication that it's a "heavy period" but if your daily life is interrupted because of it, then that's a sign to seek help. Generally, heavy periods tend to occur mostly just after menstruation first starts (after which they settle into a routine) and then again in your late 30s to 40s. Some indicators of a heavy period include (one or more symptoms):

  • The bleeding lasts beyond 5 to 7 days
  • Normal sanitary protection is insufficient (with the required amount of changes suggested by the packaging instructions); for example, you're soaking through your sanitary protection every hour for several hours in a row
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping and pain in the lower abdomen
  • If your periods have suddenly become a lot heavier than usual.

2. Be aware that heavy periods are just the norm for some women. Be aware that heavy periods are just the norm for some women. In a lot of instances, it just isn't known why some women have heavy periods, and it's part of how your body is. In this case, you'll need to learn to manage it for the duration of your reproductive years. One problem that may arise is anemia, so be sure to get regular iron level checks from your doctor if you do have regular heavy periods and to take iron supplements where warranted.

3. Talk to a doctor.Talk to a doctor. If you don't regularly have a heavy period or you've noticed differences in the way your period is presenting itself, it's important to see the doctor. There's a chance that excessively heavy bleeding could be from a health problem. The doctor will ask questions about the regularity of your period and whether you've noticed any changes in it over time. If the doctor is concerned that your period might be more than what is normal in terms of its heaviness, there are numerous things to consider, including your stress levels, your nutritional intake, and the possibility of a disease such as thyroid disorders, cancer, bleeding disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, infection, noncancerous growths (fibroids, polyps), etc. You will also need to consider the possibility that you might have experienced a miscarriage if you've had a single heavy period that is late, and intercourse has occurred within a period of two months; or it may be an ectopic pregnancy. You might need:

  • A pelvic examination
  • A vaginal biopsy
  • Ultrasound (if a pregnancy or miscarriage is suspected)
  • Blood tests
  • Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test
  • Cervix biopsy
  • Dilation and curettage (D and C).

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4. Ask your doctor for general advice about a heavy period. Ask your doctor for general advice about a heavy period. Even if there is no discernible health problem, it is prudent to talk to your doctor about dealing with the heavy periods generally. Ask for advice on coping and whether you should be taking particular supplements or other nutrients to assist you. Doctors should have access to the latest advice with respect to management of periods, so don't be afraid to ask questions.

5. Consider whether there are some life stages that might be the underlying cause of your heavy periods. Consider whether there are some life stages that might be the underlying cause of your heavy periods. Some changes to your body or your lifestyle may be the cause of heavy periods. Be sure to check the following as possible reasons for the heavier-than-usual period:

  • If you're going through puberty, your periods may be heavy while your hormonal levels adjust; an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone can cause heavy periods. You might have to be patient during this unsettled time.
  • If you've just stopped taking the pill. The pill tends to make periods lighter. As such, after stopping the pill, you might experience a noticeable increase in the flow, and it may just be a case of getting used to it again.
  • Your method of contraception. If you've just had an IUD placed, chances are you're experiencing a heavier period for the first few months. The body initially treats the IUD as a foreign object and this results in heavier periods. You might consider speaking to your gynecologist and possibly changing contraception methods if this lasts more than the first three to six months.
  • If you've just given birth, and you're experiencing heavy periods, you may need to wait. Periods following birth can be heavy, particularly if you don't breastfeed. However, your usual level of period should be restored within two to three cycles, and if not, consult your doctor.

6. Consider the following methods for possible period flow reduction. Consider the following methods for possible period flow reduction. Provided you've dealt with any possible underlying disorders needing treatment when you saw your doctor, there are a few things you can try to alleviate your heavy periods. The following list of suggestions may or may not work for you; each person is different and each unique body responds differently to different treatments. However, for a number of people, the following things have had an impact to some extent, in easing the period flow:

  • If you're prepared to take the birth control pill, this may assist in lightening your period. Just as the previous step noted, the pill has a tendency to make periods lighter. Also, the sense of control over the regularity and arrival time of the pill can give you a greater sense of control over your menstrual cycles and how they "interfere" with your daily life. Sometimes this psychological boost alone is enough to improve your outlook on having a period and can be a blessing for someone used to heavy periods. However, be aware that for some women, the combined oral contraceptive pill results in heavier periods.
  • Increase and maintain your intake of essential nutrients. Foods rich in essential fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B, C, and E are ideal for menstrual health. In particular, focus on strengthening the blood vessel walls, with vitamin C, flavonoids, and iron being top of your list of must-haves. Iron is important for restoring iron lost from excessive blood loss.
  • A healthy diet. For some women, it is possible that an unhealthy diet causes heavy periods (meaning, sugary foods, processed products, flour, and saturated fats. This could be complicated by stress (causing you to eat unhealthily) and hormonal imbalances resulting from the unhealthy eating. Check out the healthy food pyramid for your country or ask your doctor for healthy diet advice. It might also help to see a dietician or a nutritionist for a specific plan suited to your needs.
  • General good health. Exercise is always good for you, and it's important to do it regularly. Some people experience benefits from exercise in terms of lessening the severity of a heavy period but it's not a guarantee; what is a guarantee is feeling better generally and remaining flexible and strong generally. Good forms of exercise for the weary period-lethargic woman include swimming, yoga, or pilates. And there's always much good to be found in a walk through an area that calms you, such as a park or along the beach.
  • Aromatherapy. If you trust in using aromatherapy as a treatment method, then this might assist, and probably in conjunction with other methods. Try a blend of two drops each of rose attar, Roman chamomile, and clary sage essential oils with four drops of sweet marjoram oil and two tablespoons of sweet almond or olive oil as the carrier oil. Rub this mixture over your stomach every night during menstruation, or have your partner do it for you.
  • Herbal remedies. There are a number of possible herbal remedies you could try but you should discuss these with your doctor and the health professional dispensing the herbal remedies before rushing in. Some of the herbal remedies may require precautions in case you're pregnant, lactating, or taking other medication. Reader's Digest lists blue cohosh (squaw root), goldenseal (orangeroot) and or agrimony as possible herbs. All herbal remedies should be taken strictly within the dosages recommended by a reputable herbal supplier or herbalist, and should not be exceeded.
  • Get plenty of rest.[28] Ensure that you're getting the amount of sleep each night your body needs to be fully rested and rejuvenated.

7. Manage your heavy period with a positive attitude. Manage your heavy period with a positive attitude. This isn't about being Pollyanna; heavy periods are sometimes very demoralizing when they cut into life severely through fear of bleeding onto clothing, inability to participate in sports because of fatigue or discomfort, and through feeling generally lethargic. However, taking a more proactive and determined approach to managing your period can help alleviate your psychological angst about it, even to the point where you feel reassured that you can still carry on with life as much as usual during a heavy period. Things to consider here include:

  • Eating really well during the period, including as soon as you know it's coming. Avoid sugary, fast food fixes. While these are comfort foods that you might be habitually used to turning to, they create energy slumps and end up leaving you feeling a lot worse than the comfort they can initially instill. Prefer high energy complex carbohydrates, green leafy and dark vegetables, fruits, and nuts and seeds.
  • Keep menstrual pain medication or herbal treatments well stocked up and in date. If you're also experiencing pain along with the heaviness, you can at least deal with the pain and remove one source of distress. Don't suffer in silence; get rid of the pain side of the period. Speak with your doctor if you're not sure what's safe to take to alleviate your period paid.
  • Have plenty of sanitary ware on hand. Sure, they keep putting the price up on these disposable necessities, but these are something you shouldn't skimp on, including having overnight pads on hand (do not sleep with a tampon). Have plenty of supplies in super size to protect you. And don't be dismayed that you need the super super size that sucks up the most; so what? It says nothing about you as a person or your physique – tall skinny women have to wear these things for heavy periods as much as any other shape, so it's no reflection on how you look.
  • If you're worried that a sanitary item might be showing through your clothes, try to check in a large mirror or ask a friend to prove to you that it's not. Often it's more a feeling than a reality, although you may need to avoid some body hugging styles if they do show. And for some women, tampons may not ever be adequate with a heavy flow, so be prepared to trial different types of sanitary coverage, including pads, menstrual cups, and other forms of menstruation protection.
  • Cover things. Cover beds, couches, sheets, etc., where you'll be sitting or lying for a while with a towel or other cover that is easily washable and will dry fast. It's far easier than getting blood off the mattress or couch cover and nobody is any the wiser when you whip it away.
  • Deal with leakage. Women with heavy periods will experience occasional leakage onto clothing. It is not something to be embarrassed about; anyone who laughs is inconsiderate and lacks compassion. Instead, it is a good idea to have a second lower set of clothing in a locker, in a bag, etc., just in case. Good friends, teachers, coworkers, and caring strangers will be kind enough to warn you when it happens if you can't tell. Ignore anyone who is unkind.


There is promising research being undertaken into the role of endothelin, which is a substance that helps to stop bleeding; women suffering from heavy periods have very little endothelin. If medications can be made that improve these levels in the future, there may be a medical cure.
Remember that each menstrual cycle releases about four to five table spoons of blood. It might seem like a lot, but really isn't. Overall blood loss is estimated generally at 1/2 to 10 ounces.
When you are done with your daily activities (if any, depending on what days you have it) relax! Curl up with a warm blanket and try to make yourself comfy. Wear loose fitting, pajama clothing.
Eat less salty foods or drinks, it can increase the pain.
Drinking warm/hot beverages can ease the cramping (pain).
If cramps are bad, use a hot water bottle on your stomach, make sure that it's wrapped in something if it's too hot!
Drink lots of water, and make sure to eat!
Stressing causes a heavier flow, relax!
Change your pads, menstrual cup or tampons more often. Sometimes heaviness is in the mind of the beholder, especially when you've forgotten to change and it leaks as a result.
Always drink Plenty of water because it makes your period pass through quicker.
Show 14 more tips


Talk to your doctor if your flow is a serious problem or if you're switching your diet.
Don't overdose on any vitamin supplements. Follow the instructions.
Just as heavy periods can be a sign of a health problem, so can very light or irregular flows. Don't envy the women who brag about this; kindly suggest they might like to get a check up, too.
Heavy periods mean that you must keep a watch on your iron capacity to prevent anemia.
Avoid Aspirin. Being an anticoagulant (blood thinner) can increase bleeding problems.
DepoProvera injections can cause heavier periods.

Things You'll Need

Excellent supply of sanitary supplies
Healthy diet
Supplements (optional)
Doctor's advice and monitoring

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