Menstrual cycles are an important biological process that allow the uterus to shed its lining if no pregnancy occurs. However, some women suffer from abnormally heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding.
This can cause various health complications and greatly impact one’s quality of life. Thankfully, there are many treatment options available to help stop heavy menstrual bleeding.
This article provides a comprehensive guide on understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and various medical and natural treatment options to effectively stop heavy menstrual bleeding.
Table of Contents
What is heavy menstrual bleeding?
Heavy menstrual bleeding refers to excessive menstrual blood loss of over 80 ml per cycle or periods lasting for more than 7 days. It can include:
- Passing large blood clots
- Bleeding through a pad or tampon every 1-2 hours
- Waking up to change pads during the night
- Feeling dizzy or tired due to blood loss
Normally, 4-12 teaspoons is the average range for the monthly period. Anything significantly more than this would be considered heavy menstrual flow.
If you experience heavy periods along with severe cramping and pain, it is best to consult a gynecologist immediately.
What Causes Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?
There can be various underlying causes leading to heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding:
- Hormonal imbalances: Issues with hormones like estrogen and progesterone can impact menstrual flow
- Uterine fibroids: Noncancerous growths in the uterus can lead to heavier bleeding
- Polyps: Small overgrowths on the uterus lining may cause increased blood flow
- Pregnancy complications: Ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or problems with the placenta
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: Inflammation or infection of reproductive organs
- Endometriosis: Uterus lining growing outside of the uterus
- Cervical or uterine cancer: In rare cases, abnormal cell developments in cervix or uterus
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs): Certain IUDs may increase menstrual flow
- Clotting or platelet disorders: Problems with blood cell production or clotting
- Chronic illnesses: Liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes or underactive thyroid
It’s critical to understand the root cause of your heavy menstrual bleeding through proper diagnosis for effective treatment.
Symptoms of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
If you’re wondering whether your menstrual flow is normal or heavier than average, watch out for these common symptoms:
- Bleeding lasts over 7 days
- Having to change protection during the night
- Passing large blood clots
- Restricting daily activities due to flooding
- Anemia due to blood loss causing tiredness, weakness, pale skin, irregular heartbeats
- Need to use double sanitary protection to control flow
If you experience one or more of these symptoms consistently, consult your gynecologist to test for causes of heavy menstrual bleeding. Tracking your cycles and symptoms can also help diagnose problems earlier.
When to see a doctor
- Have to change tampons or pads frequently, like every hour
- Bleed through your clothes or bedding due to heavy flow
- Feel dizzy with low blood pressure from blood loss
- Experience period pain and cramping that restricts daily activities
- Have sudden or consistent heavy bleeding lasting over a week
Book an immediate appointment if you experience significant flooding and see clots the size of a quarter, have severe pain, or show signs of infection like fever or foul odor.
Getting timely treatment is crucial to manage heavy bleeding, replenish blood loss through iron supplements if anemic, and improve your quality of life.
Diagnosing Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
To diagnose the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding, your gynecologist will begin with detailed questions about your periods, medical history and symptoms. Diagnostic tests may include:
- Physical/pelvic exam: Checks for abnormalities in reproductive organs
- Blood count: Checks for anemia from iron deficiency due to blood loss
- Pregnancy test: To rule out complications with pregnancy
- Imaging tests: Pelvic ultrasound, hysteroscopy or sonohysterography checks for uterine fibroids, polyps, thickness of endometrium lining
- Biopsy: Samples uterus lining tissue to test for cancer or cell anomalies
- Hormone tests: Checks thyroid, estrogen, progesterone etc.
- Genetic test: Test for bleeding disorders
Based on the test results, your doctor will diagnose the underlying cause and recommend suitable treatment options.
Medical Treatments for Heavy Periods
If no underlying conditions are causing heavy flows, your doctor can prescribe certain medications to reduce bleeding:
- Hormonal birth control: Oral contraceptive pills with estrogen and progestin or progestin-only pills helps stabilize hormones and lighten flow over 3-6 menstrual cycles.
- NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like mefenamic acid, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium reduces period cramps and blood loss if excessive prostaglandins cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Tranexamic acid tablets: These restrain enzymes that dissolve blood clots and promotes clotting to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs: These stop ovulation and decrease estrogen production from the ovaries, used for short-term treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Dilatation and curettage (D&C): Removes excess lining of the uterus under anesthesia if other treatments fail.
In case of structural abnormalities, surgical interventions may be required:
- Endometrial ablation: Destroys the lining of the uterus to control heavy bleeding
- Uterine artery embolization: Blocks blood vessels to fibroids causing heavy periods.
- Myomectomy: Removes uterine fibroids only without removing healthy uterus.
- Hysterectomy: Removes part or entire uterus if other options fail.
Table summarizing medical treatment options:
|Hormonal birth control
|Regulates hormones to reduce flow
|Nausea, breast tenderness,
headaches, increased blood pressure
|Reduces period cramps and blood loss
|Stomach upset, ulcers
|Promotes clotting to decrease flow
|Stomach upset, diarrhea
|Halts ovulation temporarily
|Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes
|Removes excess endometrium lining
|Cramping, nausea, light bleeding
|Destroys uterus lining cells
|Watery discharge, cramps, nausea
|Blocks fibroid blood supply
|Pain, infection, early menopause
|Removes fibroids only
|Removes uterus partially/completely
|Long recovery, unable to get pregnant
Your doctor will recommend the most suitable options based on your test reports, underlying causes, treatment goals and preference to preserve fertility or avoid surgery. Follow medical advice and take medications as prescribed.
Lifestyle Remedies and Home Care
Certain natural remedies, herbs, diet and precautions may also help provide symptomatic relief from heavy bleeding during menses.
Herbs like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon have warming properties that increase blood circulation to uterus and boost hormone production, reducing congestion causing heavy flows.
Green leafy veggies like spinach and broccoli contain Vitamin K that helps blood clot. Iron-rich foods like red meat, eggs, lentils, raisins and pumpkin seeds help make up for blood loss to prevent anemia.
Warm compresses over lower abdomen helps ease cramps and slow down excessive bleeding. Light yoga helps relax muscle tension causing cramping.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can increase bleeding. Control movements and don’t strain during periods. Track cycles to anticipate heavy flow days.
Double up protection using pads with tampons or menstrual cups to avoid accidents until flow reduces. Wear dark bottoms.
When bleeding heavily:
- Stay hydrated and avoid getting overheated
- Get adequate rest
- Maintain proper hygiene
See a doctor immediately if home care and lifestyle management fails to reduce flooding, clots and symptoms over 2-3 cycles. Keep a diary tracking your menstrual patterns, flow rate, symptoms and treatment impact.
Natural medicine like ayurveda also offers customized herbal formulas and guidance from specialists through online consultations to stop heavy bleeding holistically by balancing hormones and healing the female reproductive system from inside out. Check out kapeefit’s ayurvedic women’s health packages for ayurvedic remedies tailored to stop heavy menstrual bleeding based on your unique health condition.
When to Try Ayurvedic Consultation
Ayurveda takes a bio-individualized approach using herbal formulas, dietary changes, detox techniques and holistic healing customized to one’s unique mind-body constitution to treat the root causes of heavy menstrual bleeding gently:
- Hormonal imbalances causing abnormal uterine bleeding
- Clotting disorders causing heavy blood loss
- Uterine fibroids or polyps
- High prostaglandins levels causing painful periods
- Congested uterus or pelvic area
Ayurvedic specialists analyze your personalized symptoms, scan reports, menstrual history and health questionnaires for prakruti analysis before designing effective treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding.
Ayurvedic medicine for heavy periods can:
- Regulate estrogen, progesterone and thyroid hormones
- Stimulate liver function to eliminate excess estrogen
- Improve endocrine system communication
- Dissolve small uterine fibroids
- Clear congestion and heal endometriosis
- Strengthen uterus muscles and pelvic floor
- Prevent clotting issues
- Reduce inflammation and menstrual cramps
- Restore ovulation and cycles after stopping contraceptive pills
Ayurvedic herbs like lodhra, ashoka, shatavari stimulate estrogen, heal uterine lining, improve blood flow while manjishtha, lodhra act as natural blood thinners preventing excessive clots. Customized ayurvedic jamas like Chandraprabha, Ashokarishta, Kumaryasava treat congestion, swelling and pain. Yoga and meditation also complements herbal treatment.
When will I find relief from heavy bleeding?
You should notice some reduction in blood loss, clots and period pain within 1-2 cycles of starting treatment for heavy menstrual flow. However, allow at least 3-6 months of consistent customized ayurvedic, homeopathic or other holistic treatment to resolve root causes of hormonal imbalance or structural abnormalities leading to heavy flows.
Track your symptoms diligently for the specialist to tweak your custom wellness plan until you find complete relief from flooding, fatigue, pain and can get back to normal life. Be patient and have realistic expectations from natural medicine. Best results are seen with a combination of herbal treatment, dietary changes, lifestyle management and mind-body healing based on your female constitution.
Can heavy bleeding affect fertility?
While heavy periods themselves don’t directly impact fertility, the underlying conditions like:
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Uterine fibroids
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Thyroid issues
- Uterus infection
…causing heavy menstrual bleeding can also negatively affect ovulation, egg quality and embryo implantation – which are vital for conception.
Getting these underlying issues in hormonal balance and gynecological health resolved with customized holistic medicine can help regulate both periods as well as improve fertility in the long run.
When to seek emergency help
While holistic medicine addresses the roots of heavy menstrual bleeding gently over several cycles, also watch out for these red flags:
- Bleeding for longer than 7 days unrelentingly
- Larger than golf ball sized clots
- Changing a pad every 15-30 min due to flooding
- Feeling pulsations or pain in pelvis
- Showing signs of possible internal infection like fever, chills, foul odor
Reach out for urgent gynecologist or ER care if you experience any of the above symptoms to rule out complications, avoid excess blood loss leading to anemia and get timely medical intervention if required for excessive bleeding risks.
The key is to track and analyze your monthly cycles closely. Maintain detailed period diaries. Watch your diet, nutrient intake, activity levels and stress closer to menses. Follow holistic guidance regularly without gaps. And stay alert about red flag symptoms that require immediate medical assistance despite conscious women’s health management.
Managing heavy menstrual bleeding can be challenging but possible with the right guidance, patience and tailored treatment planning suiting your body’s needs.
Keep your doctor updated, take prescribed medication diligently, make suitable lifestyle changes, consider holistic medicine like ayurveda or homeopathy for the hormonal roots and monitor yourself closely through diaries to track improvements in your symptoms.
Over time, you can significantly find relief from flooding, pain, exhaustion and embarrassment – while also improving other aspects of reproductive health, quality of life and wellbeing with customized natural solutions.