What are Heavy Periods?
Heavy periods are abnormally heavy as well as prolonged menstrual periods. They are also known as ‘Menorrhagia’. They can hamper the everyday life of a woman by bringing alongside effects like body aches and soreness, abdominal cramping and the inability to carry out everyday tasks or walk too much.
Generally, a normal healthy woman passes 40 ml of blood during her period cycle, which lasts from four to seven days. Prolonged menstrual bleeding or as it commonly referred to as ‘heavy period’ is bleeding that lasts more than seven days and causes more blood flow than the regular menstrual period. Women suffering from prolonged periods might face the problem of changing pads or tampons every one hour for several hours back to back.
How Can I Identify a Heavy Period?:
To know that you have heavy periods, you need to know what heavy periods look and feel like. Some commonly known signs as well symptoms that are indicative of heavy periods are:
- Having one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Needing to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
- Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night
- Periods in which bleeding lasts for longer than a week
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow
- Symptoms of anaemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath
- Pain in the abdomen
- You lose more than 80 ml of blood during your period instead of the normal 35-40 ml.
- Intermenstrual bleeding (bleeding or spotting that occurs between periods)
Why Do Heavy Periods Occur?
Heavy menstrual bleeding can have a wide variety of causes, ranging from hormone-related issues to various medical conditions and even stress. Some of these causes are:
1. Hormone imbalances
The hormones that your body produces, like estrogen and progesterone, help to regulate your menstrual cycle, including how heavy your periods are. Imbalanced hormones lead to heavy period bleeding.
2. Growths in the uterus
Growths in your uterus and conditions that cause cells in your uterus to grow improperly can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, too.
4. Pregnancy complications
Heavy bleeding can be a warning sign of pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage.
How to Reduce a Period That is Too Heavy?
Reducing heavy periods naturally may involve adopting lifestyle changes and trying certain home remedies. Here are some natural approaches that might help:
1. Dietary Changes:
A balanced diet that is rich in iron and other nutrients can support overall reproductive health. Include foods like leafy greens, legumes, and fruits in your diet. Reduce or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and salty foods, as they may exacerbate bloating and discomfort.
Regular physical activity can help improve blood flow and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. Aim for moderate exercise like walking, swimming, or yoga. Several yoga asanas like the dhanurasana are known to be beneficial for heavy periods.
3. Heat Therapy:
Applying a heating pad or warm compress to your lower abdomen can help soothe cramps and improve blood circulation to help with periods that are heavy. This may also help with migraines.
Staying well-hydrated is essential during menstruation. Drinking plenty of water can help reduce bloating and ease discomfort. At least 1.5-2L of water must be consumed within a day to manage heavy periods.
Some studies suggest that magnesium may help alleviate menstrual pain and reduce heavy bleeding. Include foods rich in magnesium like spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, etc.
6. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C can help the body absorb iron better, which is essential if you experience heavy bleeding. Consider increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods.
7. Stress Reduction:
High-stress levels can impact hormone balance, potentially affecting your menstrual cycle. Engage in relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or spending time in nature to manage stress and reduce the flow of heavy periods.
Heavy periods are a common problem affecting lots of women who menstruate. The period may last for more than seven days and is accompanied by heavy blood flow, which hinders the normal day-to-day activities of an individual. Women may experience pain in the abdomen, feeling of exhaustion, tiredness, shortness of breath, etc.
The blood flow is so heavy that it might require a change of pad or tampon every hour. There is also a discharge of blood clots the size of a coin or bigger. Eating right, moving more, breathing aware, sleeping better and stress management help address the root cause of hormonal imbalance impacting this condition. If heavy periods persist or become increasingly problematic, it is absolutely crucial for you to consult the right experienced healthcare professional for guidance.
Refer to the doctor immediately if you notice the following symptoms of prolonged periods if you need to change your sanitary pad or tampon every one to two hours as it is completely soaked with blood, bleeding for more than seven days, or has anemia-like symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath, exhaustion, etc. for a prolonged period of time.