Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common condition and many women who experience it just “endure” their situation. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve this condition. In this article, we’ll discuss the different home remedies to stop prolonged and heavy periods.
What Constitutes a “Normal” Monthly Period?
Before we discuss the different home remedies to stop heavy periods naturally, let’s first define these conditions. And for us to do that, we need to identify what counts as “normal” menstruation.
First, let’s talk about the average length of time a woman goes through her monthly period. Reports say it’s 2 to 7 days. So, if your friend’s period lasts for only 3 to 4 days and yours lasts anywhere from 5 to 7, you’re both within the “normal” range.
Now, let’s discuss the average amount of blood loss. According to doctors, a woman normally loses around 40 ml of blood in the course of her monthly menstrual flow.
But, don’t worry just yet if you feel that you’re losing more than 40 ml of blood. More than 40 ml of blood loss is not considered heavy bleeding unless you lose at least 80 ml of blood.
Prolonged and Heavy Periods, Defined
Prolonged bleeding is when you bleed for more than 7 days. On the other hand, heavy bleeding is when you lose at least 80 ml of blood during your menstruation.
But here’s an important note: Prolonged and heavy bleeding usually goes hand in hand. After all, if you bleed for more than 7 days, you’re also likely to lose more blood.
That’s why many institutions define heavy bleeding as losing more than 80 ml of blood, having a period that lasts for 7 days, or both.
Signs that You Have Heavy Period
It’s quite easy to recognize if you’re having a prolonged period, right? You just need to count the number of days you’re bleeding.
But “measuring” heavy bleeding could be difficult if you’re going to estimate the amount of blood in milliliters. So, to help you determine whether your menstruation constitutes heavy bleeding, keep a close eye on the following indicators:
- A need to change your sanitary products every hour or 2
- Seeing blood clots that are bigger than 2.5 cm (2.5 cm is about the diameter of a 5-peso coin)
- Needing to wear more than 1 sanitary pad at a time
- Bleeding through your clothes and seeing blood on your bed sheets
Why Do Some Women Experience Prolonged and Heavy Period?
There could be a number of reasons why a woman experiences prolonged and heavy period:
- It’s normal for the woman. As much as we have laid out the “average” characteristics of a monthly period, many experts reiterate that there is no such thing as “normal” menstruation. This is because each woman is different. Various medical institutions also agree that while heavy bleeding is common, in many cases, they do not always have an underlying cause.
- Health conditions. For some women, their heavy bleeding is due to an underlying health condition. Examples of health conditions that may cause heavy bleeding are: endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and uterine cancer.
- Hormonal imbalance. Conditions like hypothyroidism can cause heavy bleeding. Taking birth control pills that affect the hormones could also be the reason.
- Medical treatments. If you’re undergoing chemotherapy or taking anticoagulant medications and herbals such as ginkgo and ginseng, you might also experience heavy menstrual flow.
Herbal and Home Remedies for Prolonged or Heavy Period
Add more iron to your diet
You may think that you need to increase your iron intake because heavy blood loss often leads to iron-deficiency anemia. However, there is another, more pressing reason.
According to one study, “chronic iron deficiency” can be a cause of heavy bleeding. Hence, it’s possible that your low iron levels could be causing your heavy flow.
To remedy this, you can talk to your doctor about taking iron supplements, or you can naturally add iron in your foods.
Examples of iron-rich herbals which you can add in your meals are:
- Parsley, Thyme, and Marjoram.
- Dried seaweed or spirulina
- Green peas
Of course, don’t forget the other foods that have a lot of iron in them such as fortified breakfast cereals, oysters, and chicken liver.
Take in more vitamin C
Taking more vitamin C might also help stop heavy periods naturally. According to studies, vitamin C can “help reduce heavy bleeding,” so you might want to add more of it to your diet. Another benefit of vitamin C is that it aids in iron absorption.
Examples of herbals that are rich in vitamin C are:
- Bell pepper
- Oranges and dalandan
If you’re worried about not getting enough vitamin C in your diet, consult your doctor for the best vitamin C supplement for you.
Consider vitamin A
According to reports, vitamin A can “normalize menstrual blood loss.” Herbals with high amounts of vitamin A are:
- Sweet potato
- Red bell pepper
Another one of the home remedies to stop prolonged periods is to take ginger.
One study found out that taking ginger capsules can “dramatically decline” the level of menstrual blood loss.
The researchers investigated the effects of ginger capsules on high school girls who experienced heavy menstrual bleeding. There were a total of 92 participants and the investigators divided them into 2 groups. One received the placebo capsule and the other received the ginger treatment.
Results showed that the decrease in blood flow that the ginger-receiving group experienced was significantly remarkable than the one experienced by the placebo-receiving group. They also reported that a “minimum number” of subjects mentioned the occurrence of adverse effects.
Important note: Don’t forget to talk to your doctor first before using any kind of herb to help your condition.
Natural Lifestyle Interventions
And of course, aside from the herbals mentioned above, you can also take the following steps:
- Drink more water. Due to heavy bleeding, you may experience a decrease in blood volume. Hydrating can help you maintain your blood volume.
- Apply icepack. In times when your menstrual flow is especially heavy, place the icepack on your tummy for 20 minutes several times a day.
- Cook on cast-iron skillet or pot. Reports say that using a cast-iron skillet or pot can help increase your iron intake. Just don’t overdo it as you may get too much iron.
Talk to your doctor
Finally, apart from the home remedies to stop prolonged periods, the best advice is to seek medical help. The doctor will be able to determine the root cause of your heavy menstrual flow by performing some tests. With proper diagnosis, you’ll receive the most appropriate treatment for your condition.
Learn more about Women’s Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.