Heavy menstrual bleeding happens to a lot of women, and for the most part they tend to see it as normal. If you were to visit your GP about it, it is very likely that you would be offered medication to help stop or lighten the flow or be offered the contraceptive pill in an attempt to improve it. (Read – The Pill: Are you sure its for you by Alexandra Pope and Jane Bennett for more on that topic!)
Really heavy bleeding isn’t normal, it may be a sign that there is something else going on and you might need to push your GP to look a little harder before dishing out the prescription. But it also might be worth trying some of the following tips first.
- Accept and honour your moon time! Regular readers of this blog know that we advocate this for almost all menstrual problems, your probably sick of hearing about it, but it really is true. We live busy, stressful lives, we work hard, we play hard, we are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends and we do it all at high speed. Plus the media and the tampon marketeers have spent the last few decades telling us that we can keep doing all of this while we bleed and rollarskate too! The simple truth is that we should slow down, rest and acknowledge our bleeding time rather than trying to ignore it and carry on regardless. Try it, you might just find that your bleed lightens and your pain (if you have any) reduces too.
- Use cloth pads or other re-usable menstrual products. We wrote about this in our previous post – Is your period making you toxic? Disposable products are full or chemicals that can make bleeding worse and of course if you flow is heavy then your using more of them! You’re unknowingly caught in a viscious cycle. Women we have spoken to have said that they find a cup doesn’t work well with heavy flow, but cloth pads really help and for the second half of the bleed a sponge can be good too.
- Do a liver cleanse. Our health and vitality is strongly dependent on having a clean and health liver. Doing a liver cleanse can help return it to its strong and vital state and therefore have a big impact on your menstrual flow.
- Stay hydrated! Dehydration is a modern epidemic, hardly anybody really drinks enough water evern though we know the recommendation is a minimum of 6-8 glasses a day. Being hydrated supports all of our body functions and supports good blood flow around the body. If the uterus has good blood flow and the body is working at its best then the uterus will work better, allowing for better flow and less pain at menstruation.
- Increase your iodine intake. Sometimes a heavy flow can be a sign that your thyroid is not functioning at its best. You can eat iodine rich foods such as seaweed or miso soup, or you can put iodine on your skin. Many minerals and other supplements can be taken into the body best through the skin.
- Improve your diet. Especially around your bleeding time, but if possible make a choice to improve it overall. Reduce or stop processed foods, sugar, caffiene and alcohol. Try and keep soya to a minimum as this is known to have an impact on womens hormonal health. Consider eating paleo or a vegan diet. Sugar and caffiene really have an impact at your bleeding time as they push the body systems into overdrive, so try not to reach for the coffee and chocolate.
- Seek support from a homeopath or a naturopath. Whilst it is possible to buy homepathy treatments off the shelf it is much better to see a homeopath or a naturopath who can look at you holistically and consider what factors are contributing to your heavy bleeding and prescribe specifically to you.
- Abdominal/Womb massage. This treatment is increasing in popularity for a whole raft of menstrual health and also digestive problems. The womb isn’t always sitting in the right place and these specialist massages can help to encourage it to sit better in your pelvic space, which should improve its function and therefore improve your bleed. You can have treatments with a specialist and then also learn a self help routine to use throughout your cycle.
- Yoni steaming and Castor Oil Packs. Both of these treatments are really supportive in improving menstrual flow by helping to clear the womb of any old blood that gets left behind and encouraging optimum function. They are also just a really nice, self care practice, that is relaxing and pleasurable. Best performed in the week leading up to your bleed. Herbal blends for yoni steaming are easily available, if you don’t fancy the steam then try it as a sitz bath instead
- Epsom salt/Magnesium baths. If the only thing you can do is make time for a bath, then add a good handful of epsom salts or magensium salts/flakes into it. Most women are low in magnesium and it is a significant factor in heavy and painful periods. Its why we crave chocolate at our bleed time! Sadly most chocolate doesn’t have high enough amounts of magnesium in to make a difference. It is best absorbed through the skin, so go for a salt bath, get the magnesium and get some time out and relaxation just for you as well. Its a win-win situation. And if you really feel the need for some chocolate, go for the raw stuff, high in magnesium and low in the rubbish stuff and yummy too!
Let us know if any of these tips help you or if you have anything else to suggest that women might find helpful. Women need to talk about these issues and help each other. Its time to stop perpetuating the myth that it’s normal for menstruation to be heavy and painful.
(c) Awen Clement, September 2015
**Please note that neither the author or the blog host are medical professionals. If you are uncertain about your condition or about trying anything listed here then please seek the advice of your Dr of other professional first.**