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heavy periods

Overview of heavy periods

Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don't experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia.

With menorrhagia, you can't maintain your usual activities when you have your period because you have so much blood loss and cramping. If you dread your period because you have such heavy menstrual bleeding, talk with your doctor. There are many effective treatments for menorrhagia.

Home Remedies for heavy periods :

Add some cinnamon

Cinnamon may help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce menstrual bleeding and pain. It may also help treat PCOS.

Get your daily dose of vitamins

Low levels of vitamin D may increase your risk for period irregularity. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement may help regulate your menstrual cycle. B vitamins may also help reduce PMS and regulate menstrual cycles.

Drink apple cider vinegar daily

Drinking 1/8 cup (15 grams) of apple cider vinegar a day may help regulate menstruation in women with PCOS.

Eat pineapple

Pineapple is believed to help regulate periods, though there?s little scientific evidence to support this claim. An enzyme in pineapple may help relieve some premenstrual symptoms, such as cramps and headaches.

Practice yoga

Practicing yoga 35 to 40 minutes a day, 5 times a week, may help regulate hormones and menstruation cycles. Yoga may also help reduce premenstrual symptoms.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being underweight or overweight can cause irregular periods. Work with your doctor to maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise regularly

Exercise can help control weight, which may, in turn, help to regulate your menstrual periods. It may also reduce pain before and during your period.

Spice things up with ginger

Although it?s often used as a home remedy for irregular periods, there?s no scientific evidence to support claims that ginger can treat irregular periods. However, it has been found to help relieve PMS symptoms.

When to see doctor for heavy periods :

You?ll likely experience some irregularity in your periods at some point in your life. You won?t always need to see a doctor for this symptom.

You should see your doctor if:

  • your period suddenly becomes irregular
  • you haven?t had a period for three months
  • you have a period more than once every 21 days
  • you have a period less than once every 35 days
  • your periods are unusually heavy or painful
  • your periods last longer than a week

Treatment for the heavy periods

Medications

Medical therapy for menorrhagia may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), help reduce menstrual blood loss. NSAIDs have the added benefit of relieving painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
  • Tranexamic acid. Tranexamic acid (Lysteda) helps reduce menstrual blood loss and only needs to be taken at the time of the bleeding.
  • Oral contraceptives. Aside from providing birth control, oral contraceptives can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce episodes of excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
  • Oral progesterone. The hormone progesterone can help correct hormone imbalance and reduce menorrhagia.
  • Hormonal IUD (Liletta, Mirena). This intrauterine device releases a type of progestin called levonorgestrel, which makes the uterine lining thin and decreases menstrual blood flow and cramping.

Procedures

You may need surgical treatment for menorrhagia if medical therapy is unsuccessful. Treatment options include:

  • Dilation and curettage (D&C). In this procedure, your doctor opens (dilates) your cervix and then scrapes or suctions tissue from the lining of your uterus to reduce menstrual bleeding. Although this procedure is common and often treats acute or active bleeding successfully, you may need additional D&C procedures if menorrhagia recurs.

  • Uterine artery embolization. For women whose menorrhagia is caused by fibroids, the goal of this procedure is to shrink any fibroids in the uterus by blocking the uterine arteries and cutting off their blood supply. During uterine artery embolization, the surgeon passes a catheter through the large artery in the thigh (femoral artery) and guides it to your uterine arteries, where the blood vessel is injected with materials that decrease blood flow to the fibroid.

  • Focused ultrasound surgery. Similar to uterine artery embolization, focused ultrasound surgery treats bleeding caused by fibroids by shrinking the fibroids. This procedure uses ultrasound waves to destroy the fibroid tissue. There are no incisions required for this procedure.

  • Myomectomy. This procedure involves surgical removal of uterine fibroids. Depending on the size, number and location of the fibroids, your surgeon may choose to perform the myomectomy using open abdominal surgery, through several small incisions (laparoscopically), or through the vagina and cervix (hysteroscopically).

  • Endometrial ablation. This procedure involves destroying (ablating) the lining of your uterus (endometrium). The procedure uses a laser, radiofrequency or heat applied to the endometrium to destroy the tissue.

    After endometrial ablation, most women have much lighter periods. Pregnancy after endometrial ablation has many associated complications. If you have endometrial ablation, the use of reliable or permanent contraception until menopause is recommended.

  • Endometrial resection. This surgical procedure uses an electrosurgical wire loop to remove the lining of the uterus. Both endometrial ablation and endometrial resection benefit women who have very heavy menstrual bleeding. Pregnancy isn't recommended after this procedure.

  • Hysterectomy. Hysterectomy ? surgery to remove your uterus and cervix ? is a permanent procedure that causes sterility and ends menstrual periods. Hysterectomy is performed under anesthesia and requires hospitalization. Additional removal of the ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy) may cause premature menopause.

FAQ

How heavy is too heavy for a period ?

If you need to change your tampon or pad after less than 2 hours or you pass clots the size of a quarter or larger, that is heavy bleeding. If you have this type of bleeding, you should see a doctor. Untreated heavy or prolonged bleeding can stop you from living your life to the fullest. It also can cause anemia.

Can a heavy period mean a miscarriage ?

A miscarriage can happen any time after fertilization. If you didn't know you were pregnant, it would be easy to mistake it for a period. Both a period and a miscarriage can cause spotting to heavy bleeding. After the first eight weeks or so, it's less likely that you'll mistake a miscarriage for a period.

What are heavy periods a sign of ?

Causes of heavy menstrual bleeding include: A hormone imbalance. Conditions like PCOS and an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can affect your hormone production. Hormonal changes can make your uterine lining thicken more than usual, leading to heavier periods.

Can heavy periods be a sign of leukemia ?

Some women with leukaemia also experience heavy menstrual flow during their period as a symptom of their condition. Leukaemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. When the white blood cells multiply abnormally, they take over the bone marrow and displace the cells that make the red blood cells.

Does having sex on your period make you bleed more ?

Each contraction expels the blood and uterine lining faster than it would on its own. Having sex during your period will not only shorten its length, but it will also flush out the compounds within the uterus that are causing all that cramping and pressure in the first place.

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