Heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia, is a common symptom many women experience each month that can be debilitating and a nuisance. Luckily, there are effective natural solutions that can help ease heavy menstrual bleeding.
Every woman’s periods are different, and it can be difficult to assess whether or not your bleeding is heavier than it should be. A period is thought to be abnormally heavy if it causes one or more of the following:
- Flooding through to clothes or bedding.
- Need frequent changes of sanitary towels or tampons (every 1-2 hours).
- Require double sanitary protection (tampons and pads).
- Pass large blood clots.
Undoubtedly though, when your period begins to affect the quality of your life, it’s something that must be addressed. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, you should visit your GP to rule out more serious issues such as endometriosis, uterine polyps or fibroids, infection, coagulation disorders, adenomyosis, or hypothyroidism.
For many women with heavy periods, there is no particular cause and this is known as dysfunctional bleeding. It can occur at any age, but it is more common in young teenagers and peri-menopausal women. This is usually the result of too much oestrogen and not enough progesterone. Another factor may be poor uterine tone which is usually due to nutritional deficiencies (especially iron) or after pregnancy.
Herbal support for dysfunctional bleeding
Try my Slow Flow Kit:
This kit contains Female tonic tea + Organic Shepherd’s purse tincture. You can purchase this kit here.
Female tonic tea – formulated with uterine astringent herbs that work to tighten the tissues of the womb and uterine tonic herbs that tone the uterine muscles to normalize blood flow. This tea is naturally high in iron and vitamin C to help replenish iron stores and other minerals lost each bleed. Anyone that suffers heavy periods would benefit from drinking this highly nutritive tea all throughout the month.
Organic shepherd’s purse tincture – one of the most powerful uterine astringent herbs that helps reduce acute, heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding. You can take this for 7-10 days before and during your period to lessen heavy bleeding and prevent flooding associated with endometriosis and peri-menopause.
If you’re in the peri-menopause and your cycles have also become irregular and unpredictable, I recommend taking Chaste Tree tincture. Chaste tree is a hormone balancing herb that can help ease heavy bleeding during the the peri-menopause. It also helps reduce PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating or irritability are also present.
Nutritional support for heavy periods
Heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to iron deficiency. But did you know that being iron deficient can cause heavy bleeding? It is a catch 22. Therefore it is important you check your iron levels with your GP especially if you are vegetarian or vegan. If levels are low, I recommend taking an iron supplement for a minimum of 3 months to boost your iron stores.
Vitamin C and bioflavonoids
Vitamin C and bioflavonoids has an anti-estrogenic effect on the uterus. A study showed that vitamin C was able to reduce heavy bleeding in 87% of women participated. Bioflavonoids were also shown to strengthen the vessel walls of the capillaries, further reducing bleeding*. I recommend Wild Nutrition food-grown vitamin C and bioflavonoids supplement.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause heavy bleeding and is needed for red blood cell production. One study showed that 92 percent of women prescribed supplemental vitamin A found that their heavy bleeding was either cured or alleviated*. A great source of vitamin A is chicken liver pate. You can find a great recipe here.
Enhance oestrogen clearance
Oestrogen is normally cleared through your liver and bowel. To keep those organs healthy, you should reduce alcohol, refined sugars and vegetable oils and avoid antibiotics that damage your intestinal bacteria. Intestinal bacteria play a major role in metabolizing and clearing oestrogen, and you may notice heavier periods shortly after taking antibiotics. If that is the case, I recommend you supplement with Wild Nutrition Multi strain biotic. You can further enhance oestrogen detoxification by increasing cruciferous vegetables in your diet (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussel sprouts), and exercise aiming to decrease body fat and increase muscle mass.
Switch to a menstrual cup
A menstrual cup will not help lessen your bleeding but it is much more convenient and healthier (for you and the environment) than other sanitary protection. A menstrual cup collects up to three times more menstrual blood than a regular tampon so you don’t have to change it as regularly. It also has markings on the side of the cup that can be used to roughly monitor your flow, which can be helpful information to share with your healthcare professional. You can read more about my first experience using a menstrual cup here.
If after 3 months of taking the above remedies do not help, I recommend further testing to discover the root cause of what is going on. My favourite hormone test is the DUTCH complete which you can do in the convenience of your own home. To discover more about this test, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
*J. Cohen H Rubin “Functional Menorrhagia: treatment with bioflavonoids and vitamin C”. Currently Therap Res 1960:2 (11:539)
*Lithgow DM, Politzer WM. “Vitamin A in the treatment of menorrhagia”. S Afr Med J. 1977 Feb 12;51(7):191-3.