While the duration and intensity of menstrual bleeding vary from one woman to another, there can be instances when constant problems occur. If menstrual periods are prolonged, oppressive, or irregular, you are likely to be suffering from menorrhagia. Here is how to stop heavy periods.
Symptoms of this condition include menstruation lasting longer than seven days. Bleeding should be so heavy that you change your pad or tampon once or more every hour. Therefore, menstrual irregularities need to be managed. Here’s how you can go about coping with heavy periods.
What Causes Menstrual Irregularities?
Heavy or irregular periods can occur due to several factors. This includes the following:
Certain drugs that prevent inflammation or coagulation can be responsible for menstrual bleeding. Hormone medicines can also trigger heavy periods. More so, IUDs or intrauterine devices can also be used for birth control.
2. Hormonal Imbalances
Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can cause uterine lining. An excess of such hormones causes a lot of heavy bleeding. Hormonal imbalances are common among women who menstruate closer to menopause or girls just starting during their periods.
3. Medical Problems
Pelvic inflammatory disease and other types of infections also cause menstrual irregularity. Another condition associated with heavy, irregular periods is endometriosis. This condition causes the growth of tissue elsewhere rather than within the uterus, where it is supposed to grow. This leads to pain and heavy bleeding. Heavy menstrual periods can also be the result of clotting blood disorders that are genetic.
Further, cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer can also cause heavy bleeding. These conditions are chronic. Benign, non-malignant tumors in the uterus lead to heavy bleeding or long periods. Uterine benign growths also prolong periods. Such polyps are made of endometrial tissue. They are called fibroids when it also has muscle tissues.
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4. Lack of Ovulation
Lack of ovulation lowers hormones like progesterone. This causes heavy periods.
When the uterine lining glands are embedded in the uterine muscle, heavy bleeding takes place. This is referred to as adenomyosis(1).
6. Abnormal Pregnancy
Frequently, pregnancy interrupts periods. During pregnancy, spotting in the first trimester is not an issue. But if you bleed heavily, seek immediate medical help. It could indicate an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. The former is when fertilized eggs are implanted in the fallopian tube, as against the uterus. Bleeding during pregnancy can be checked by visiting the doctor.
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Symptoms of Heavy Periods
The length of the menstrual cycle and blood flow amount is unique to each woman. Most women have period cycles ranging from 24 to 34 days. Blood flow also averages 4-5 days, with blood loss of 3 tablespoons or 40 cc. These are averages. Remember, your standard may be very different. A blood loss of 80cc or more is considered an abnormally heavy flow.
Signs your menstrual flow is heavy include the soaking of more than one sanitary napkin or tampon in under an hour. Other indications involve waking up in the night to change pads/tampons, passing massive blood clots in menstrual flow. Having periods for more than seven days is also abnormal.
Heavy flow can cause anemia. This condition leads to fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and pale skin.
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When Should You Seek Medical Care?
As each woman’s cycle differs, abnormal symptoms generally include bleeding after intercourse or the middle of the ovulation cycle. In such cases, visit your gynecologist at once. Make an appointment if you experience bleeding or spotting while pregnant, between periods, post-sex, and after menopause.
Contact your doctor if periods last more than seven days. If you require more than a single tampon or pad in an hour for several hours in a row, you need medical care. Additional signs of issues include fever, acute or extreme pain, abnormal odor or discharge, unexplained loss or weight gain, too much hair growth, excessive pimples, and release from nipples.
Always track your periods, including the duration of blood flow and tampons or pads used during every cycle. This action helps the doctor to track information at gynecological appointments. Avoid aspirins and other products rich in this medical substance, for it enhances bleeding.
In case you have abnormal menstruation, a pelvic exam is a must. Your medical history also needs to be requested. List all supplements and medicines you take. Check with your doctor if your periods are so heavy or long-lasting that they interfere with functioning. Too much bleeding causes anemia. It also indicates a possible medical condition underneath it all.
Depending on the condition, doctors may recommend pap smears for testing for cervical cancer. Blood tests are used for checking for blood clotting, anemia, and thyroid functions. Pelvic ultrasounds produce images of ovaries, pelvis, and uterus. Doctors may also recommend endometrial biopsy for analysis of the uterine tissue.
A hysteroscopy ensures the view of the inside of the uterus. It also can be used to remove polyps. A sonohysterogram can test uterine fibroids or polyps by injecting fluid into the uterine cavity. Doctors may suggest a pregnancy test, too.
Natural Ways to Deal with Menstrual Irregularities
1. Eat Vitamin Rich Foods
One of the first natural ways to deal with menstrual issues is to eat vitamin-rich foods. This step helps the body to absorb iron and prevents anemia. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, besides red and green peppers, tomato juice, kiwis, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
2. Add Iron to Your Diet
When heavy periods(2) result, iron is lost. Your body needs iron for hemoglobin that carries oxygen to RBCs. Weighty periods cause iron deficiency and anemia. Signs of anemia indicate you need to stock up on iron-rich foods. To get additional iron, eat foods like lean beef, chicken and turkey, oysters, seafood, beans, tofu, and spinach. Another way to increase iron intake is by cooking in cast-iron cookware.
Taking extra iron supplements can also help. Do check with your doctor and take certified supplements. Know the right dosage. Check for interactions or side effects. Food items like molasses are also a good source of iron, besides nutrients like magnesium, selenium, and calcium.
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3. Hydrate Well
If you’re bleeding too heavily, blood volumes can fall. So, drink 4-6 extra glasses of water to maintain blood volume. Try coconut water or electrolyte-rich energy drinks like Gatorade for the best outcomes.
Coping with heavy periods is simple if you follow these tips. Periods can be a pain, quite literally, sometimes. So take adequate precautions to avert the issue and cope with the problem. It is also essential while considering that underlying medical conditions could be the reason for menstrual irregularities. Consult your doctor and always carry out treatments (natural or otherwise) under medical supervision.