Approximately 9% to 14% of women have heavy periods (Menorrhagia). Heavy and prolonged bleeding can cause heavy cramping, leaking, and overall discomfort.
Many women don’t want to use hormonal contraception or medication to reduce their bleeding and are seeking natural alternatives.
It’s important to talk to your doctor before making any decisions on how to treat heavy periods as there can be several causes that may need treating, such as a hormonal imbalance, pelvic inflammatory disease, thyroid disease, and endometriosis. Taking the correct dosage of any supplement or herb during your cycle is important and should be discussed with your doctor.
Taking the correct dosage of any supplement or herb during your cycle is important and should be discussed with your doctor.
First, let’s look at the signs of a heavy period...
Signs of Heavy Periods
Losing 80 ml plus of blood each period (4 tablespoons)
You struggle to maintain normal activities either due to cramps or heavy bleeding
Soak through a pad or tampon every 1-2 hours
You double up on period protection
You need to change your period protection during the night
Bleed longer than a week
You have blood clots
You have symptoms of anemia
Bleed through clothing
Do the above symptoms sound like you? If so, don’t panic, there are things you can do to help your heavy periods.
How To Manage Heavy Periods Naturally
Include Ginger in Your Diet
Women who experience heavy bleeding and cramps may have a higher amount of a hormone called prostaglandin in their body. Consuming ginger can help reduce the production of prostaglandin. Ginger also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can alleviate bloating, menstrual cramps, and pain.
There are a few ways of getting ginger into your diet:
Place fresh ginger in a teapot and add boiling water. You can also add honey and lemon if you wish.
Add fresh, grated, or pureed ginger to soups.
Grate or slice ginger into a stir-fry.
To sweeten it up place it in a pumpkin or apple pie.
Getting Enough Vitamin A in Your Diet
Research has shown that having low levels of vitamin A may contribute to heavy periods as vitamin A is needed for red blood cell production.
Some foods that are rich in vitamin A include:
Chicken liver pate
Cod liver oil
Having too much vitamin A in your diet can be dangerous, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant, so make sure you talk to your doctor before increasing the amount of vitamin A you eat.
Increasing Vitamin C in Your Diet
Vitamin C may reduce heavy bleeding, and it also helps your body to absorb iron, which is important to prevent anemia from occurring.
Some foods that are rich in vitamin C are:
Red and green peppers
Eating strawberries or drinking a glass of orange juice after a meal is a good way to help your body absorb vitamin C and increase the absorption of iron.
Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Shepherd’s Purse is a plant that grows all over the world. It can be used to reduce the loss of fluids and bleeding throughout the body, such as diarrhea, nosebleeds, cuts, and wounds. Shepherd’s Purse has also been used to reduce heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding and cramps.
Shepherd's Purse has also been used to reduce heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding and cramps.
Shepherd’s Purse may cause uterine smooth muscle contractions; this suggests that this is one way of reducing menstrual bleeding as the contractions serve to constrict blood vessels.
Shepherd’s Purse can be used in a tincture form by adding drops to a glass of water or in a tea. It's advised to take under the guidance of a herbalist or doctor to ensure it is taken at the right time in your cycle and to get the correct dosage. It’s advised to start with a lower dosage and increase if needed. You can buy Shepherd’s Purse online or in some natural food shops. More research is needed into Shepherd’s Purse and how it can help women with heavy periods.
One of the major causes of iron-deficiency anemia is blood loss, but it's possible that chronic iron deficiency can also be a cause of heavy periods. Treating low iron levels using diet alone may not be sufficient, and iron supplements may be needed to boost iron levels too.
If you have anemia, you may feel tired, dizzy, weak, poor concentration, and have pale skin.
To increase the amount of iron in your diet eat:
Organic liver and kidneys
Meats such as chicken, turkey, and pork
Try to avoid drinking caffeine straight after a meal as it can decrease the amount of iron your body absorbs from your food.
It’s important to find out the reason why you are having heavy and/or prolonged periods as this can direct the treatment options you choose.
Eating a balanced diet and increasing levels of iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and ginger may help improve heavy periods. Taking supplements such as Shepherd’s Purse and vitamin tablets can also help reduce bleeding during your monthly cycle.