There’s no getting around it, your monthly period can be a nuisance. But when you’re regularly dealing with a heavy or long-lasting menstrual flow, your period can go from minor inconvenience to painful and disruptive.
At Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology in Lockport, New York, our skilled team believes no one should have to suffer from heavy periods.
Whether you’re experiencing heavy monthly menstrual flow or abnormal uterine bleeding, we have solutions to address your discomfort and treat any underlying health conditions.
Here, board-certified gynecologist Julie Madejski, MD, discusses heavy periods and details how at-home and gynecological care can bring you relief.
What makes a period heavy?
Your menstrual period is considered heavy when you experience a heavy volume of bleeding, periods that are longer than usual, or both. A heavy period lasts for more than a week or involves changing your tampon or sanitary pad more than once an hour for a day or more.
Heavy periods can also be highly disruptive, forcing you to change your routine or causing you anxiety and emotional distress.
You can have heavy periods starting from your first menstrual cycle or you might develop heavy flow after previously having lighter periods. Hormones, some health conditions, certain types of birth control, and growths on your uterus are all common causes of heavy periods.
How to cope with heavy periods
Whatever the cause of your heavy periods, there are treatment options that provide relief, reduce flow and cramping, or even eliminate your period altogether. Consider doing the following, whether at home or here at Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology.
Choose proper menstrual products
While the right feminine products won’t reduce your flow, they can make it easier to manage. Consider wearing menstrual underwear, which soaks up extra blood and prevents leaks or spillage.
You can also try a menstrual cup, which reduces the risk of leakage by attaching directly to your uterus and holds more blood than a sanitary pad or tampon.
Change your diet
Consuming the right nutrients can relieve the symptoms of heavy flow and keep your body healthy during your period. Stay hydrated, and eat a diet rich in vitamin C and iron.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce your cramps and flow by lessening inflammation in your body. Start taking NSAIDs 2-3 days before you expect your period, and continue taking them until it ends.
If NSAIDs don’t work for you, we can also prescribe medications that reduce your blood flow.
Consider birth control that reduces menstrual flow
Some forms of hormonal birth control, such as the birth control pill, hormonal IUDs, and the birth control implant, reduce menstrual bleeding or can eliminate it altogether.
If you’re not trying to conceive, our team can help you choose safe and reliable birth control that offers the side benefit of relief from heavy periods.
Undergo a minimally invasive procedure
Minimally invasive, in-office surgical procedures can treat some causes of heavy bleeding. If you have uterine polyps causing heavy bleeding, a hysteroscopy can remove them; and endometrial ablation can remove a uterine lining that’s causing heavy flow.
When to seek treatment for a heavy period
If you’ve been experiencing heavy menstrual flow for more than a few months, make an appointment to be evaluated at Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology.
Heavy periods might mean you have menorrhagia, a condition that can cause anemia, or indicate an underlying health problem that needs treatment. Even if you don’t have an underlying condition, we can help you find solutions that relieve your pain and discomfort.
You should also make an appointment if you have any abnormal uterine bleeding between your periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause. This type of bleeding sometimes indicates a serious medical issue.
Your period doesn’t have to get in the way of your active lifestyle. For help managing and reducing heavy periods, give us a call at Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology.