When it comes to going with nature’s flow, maybe you’re among the women who would rather not deal with heavy menstruation. Instead of just wishing your period could be lighter, there may be something you can do about it.
Before taking any steps to lighten your period, visit your doctor to ensure there are no underlying health issues causing the heavy menstrual bleeding (known as menorrhagia). Your checkup will help rule out any disorder or disease, and it may clear your way for certain changes that can help lessen the flow.
Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, consider the following suggestions that have worked for many women to help lighten periods (Keep in mind that everyone’s body responds differently):
Ways to help lighten your period:
Take natural remedies. Natural herbs that seem to have a positive effect on reducing menstrual flow include agrimony, blue cohosh, and golden seal (orange root). Be sure to discuss these herbs with your doctor before taking any of them because they may interfere with certain prescription medicines.
Be sure to get your nutrients. Make sure the foods you eat contain essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and essential fatty acids. Vitamins B, C and E and iron should also be on your shopping list when it’s that time of the month!
Enjoy good nutrition. Avoid foods containing saturated fat, excess sugar and flour because these ingredients can negatively affect your period.
Avoid stress. You might tend to eat poorly when under stress, and this only compounds a heavy period. Check out the food pyramid to find out the recommended healthy foods in each food group for your daily menu.
Take birth control pills. Taking oral contraceptives may alleviate the symptom of heavy bleeding—if a hormonal imbalance is causing it, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Move your body. When you get regular exercise, you’ll reap the benefits—including reducing the amount of monthly bleeding. Good choices of healthy exercise range from swimming to Pilates and yoga. There are also many advantages to a good, old-fashioned walk in the park!
Get enough Zs. Make certain you’re getting enough sleep each night to feel rejuvenated and healthy.
Let’s say you tried one or more of the methods mentioned, and your period continues to be heavy.
What else might be causing this?
Change in using birth control pills - If you recently stopped taking oral contraceptives, this may initiate a heavy flow. Be patient until your hormonal levels readjust.
Your form of contraception - If you’ve had an IUD placed, this tends to create a heavier flow than usual, at least initially. If the heavy period lasts more than four to six months, then you might think about changing your contraception method.
Just given birth. Menstrual bleeding after birth can be especially heavy. Your period should return to its normal level by about two months after giving birth.
If you’ve investigated possible causes of your heavy period and have tried the suggested methods, and still need further ideas...
Here are some more tips:
- Keep track of the number of sanitary napkins or tampons you use daily to report to your doctor.
- Transition to a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
- Lower your intake of caffeine.
- Avoid aspirin because it can interfere with blood clotting (use ibuprofen instead).
- Limit salt and sugar to cut back on bloating.
Exciting and promising research is underway on endothelins, natural proteins in our bodies that constrict blood vessels and can help to control bleeding. It turns out, women who tend to have heavy periods have a low amount of endothelins. If prescription drugs can be developed to adjust the amount of endothelins in the body, there may be some relief in our future!
Want to know when your next period will arrive? Use JM's Period Calculator.