Heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia, which may last over seven days, may take a physical and mental toll on health. You may not just need to change period products more often, but also experience the discomfort that comes with a heavy period flow. According to a 2004 study published by US National Library of Medicine, if your blood loss is greater than 80 ml per period, you experience heavy menstrual bleeding. The question is how to stop heavy periods? Did you know vitamin C consumption is considered one of the effective ways to curb heavy menstrual bleeding.
Causes of heavy menstrual bleeding
When women experience heavy bleeding which is not normal and the frequency is more, the condition is known as menorrhagia, explains Dr Swetha M.P, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR Layout, Bengaluru. When bleeding lasts more than seven days and involves greater blood flow than is common during menstruation, it can be considered as heavy bleeding. This can be a matter of concern and its best to consult a gynaecologist at the earliest.
What are the common causes of heavy menstrual bleeding?
1. Hormone imbalance
Changes in hormone levels, particularly those of progesterone and oestrogen, can cause severe bleeding when you are down. Thyroid abnormalities or diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause hormonal imbalances.
2. Uterine fibroids
The size and location of fibroids within the uterus might vary, but these benign uterine growths can lead to excessive menstrual flow, says the expert.
This disorder develops when the tissue that ordinarily lines the uterus begins to grow inside the uterine muscles. This can lead to periods that are uncomfortable and heavy.
4. Endometrial polyps
These uterine lining growths might result in severe bleeding, unreliable bleeding or bleeding in between periods.
Vitamin to stop heavy periods
Bleeding can be reduced with vitamin C, Dr Swetha tells Health Shots. This is due to the anti-estrogenic effects of vitamin C. You may replace the nutrients you lose each month by consuming certain nutrients, particularly iron. Supporting the expert’s word is a 2007 study published by the US National Library of Medicine that also says vitamin C may help reduce heavy bleeding. The study involved 18 women who had heavy periods. It was noticed that the bleeding improved in 16 out of the 18 women when they took vitamin C and bio-flavonoids. Also, vitamin C can help women who have iron deficiency from menorrhagia, by increasing iron absorbency.
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Tips to include vitamin C in diet
Go for vitamin-rich foods during your periods to stop heavy menstrual bleeding. Some options are:
• Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, kiwi and grapefruit.
If you intend to take any supplements, talk to your doctor first. They can decide if you actually need to take a supplement, the dosage that is right for you, and any potential side effects.
Ways to stop heavy periods
While vitamin C can help a lot, there are other treatments for menorrhagia too. Medical therapy for menorrhagia may include:
1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen help to reduce menstrual blood loss. They have the added benefit of relieving painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), says the expert.
2. Tranexamic acid
Tranexamic acid helps to reduce menstrual blood loss and only needs to be taken at the time of the bleeding.
3. Oral contraceptives
Yes, they are usually used for birth control purpose, but oral contraceptives can also help to regulate menstrual cycles. They can reduce excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
4. Oral progesterone
The hormone progesterone can help to correct hormone imbalance and reduce menorrhagia.
If you have menorrhagia from taking hormone medication, your doctor may be able to treat the condition by changing or stopping your medication.