Simple Steps To Addressing Heavy Periods
Abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding is known as menorrhagia. It is often defined by a measurement of how much blood you lose but I think that is confusing and impossible to gauge. Heavy periods are when you soak through pads or tampons very quickly, eg every hour or two, if you need to get up in the night to change your pad or tampon, large clots in your flow, having to double up period wear at the same time eg needing a tampon and pad at the same time, or are anaemic or have low iron because of heavy periods.
In my experience I have found by making small dietary and lifestyle changes in female clients their period health often normalises. It can take between 1-3 cycles before you see a difference.
Often the cause is too much oestrogen and not enough progesterone because oestrogen causes your womb lining to build up. There are numerous potential reasons for this imbalance, such as a need for gut repair, perimenopause, the need for liver support, stress, poor diet etc. Fibroids, womb polyps and endometriosis can also be the cause of heavy bleeding both of which are usually driven by too much oestrogen. An under functioning thyroid can cause heavy periods, however hypothyroidism can also cause periods to be lighter too.
How to fix it
Firstly, it is important to understand the cause so the underlying reason for the heavy bleeding can be addressed. From a nutritional point of view I would put an emphasis on an anti-inflammatory diet (eg berries, turmeric, extra virgin olive oil, ginger, colourful vegetables) and use match green tea with lemon and 2-3 fistful sizes of cruciferous vegetables a day to support liver function. It is also important to remove any potential inflammatory oils and foods from your diet such as high processed foods, vegetable oil, safflower oil.
Foods known as 'phytoestrogen foods' can help have a modulating effect on hormones, these include ground flaxseeds, chickpeas, celery, and lentils.
Also be sure to include iron rich foods in your diet as you are likely low on iron and possible anaemic if you experience heavy periods. Iron rich foods include organic red meats, eggs, chicken, tofu, kidney beans, spinach, blackstrap molasses and apricots.
The supplements that have been shown in research to help heavy periods are Vitamin A, B vitamins, omega 3, zinc, vitamin C and iron. A high quality multi vitamin and mineral would cover most of these, but you would need to take the omega 3 and vitamin C separately. I would suggest checking your iron levels separately and then taking an iron supplement as needed. Supplements also would be tweaked depending on the causes of your heavy periods.
Herbs such as angus castus and shepards purse can be very helpful for some woman but I would advise you work with a nutritional therapist or herbalist before trying these and be mindful of herbs if you are taking any medication, including the oral contraceptive pill or have the coil fitted. Homeopathy can also be very helpful too.
If this is something you want to explore further I am happy to speak with you, you can contact me through my email address on my website or through my social media sites.