Getting Relief From a Heavy Period

Nov 07, 2022
 Getting Relief From a Heavy Period
Heavy periods last longer than seven days and/or soak through period products frequently. Dealing with heavy periods can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and embarrassing. Here’s what you can do to get relief.

Heavy menstrual bleeding affects more than 10 million women each year.  Heavy periods are extra long or extremely heavy. You may have to change your tampon or pad every hour for several days, even at night. 

This type of bleeding interferes with your day-to-day life and is not normal. It can also cause iron deficiency anemia because you lose so much blood. 

If you experience heavy periods, contact the OB/GYN team at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California. We can provide treatments to help you manage the heavy flow and ensure the bleeding isn’t caused by an underlying condition that needs medical care. 

How do I know if my period is “heavy”?

It can be hard to know if your period is concerningly heavy. Here are some clues that you have menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy periods. 

  • Your menstrual flow soaks through one or more periods products an hour, for several hours in a row
  • You need to wear more than one pad or double up with a tampon and a pad to catch bleeding
  • You need to change your tampons or pads in the middle of the night
  • Your bleeding lasts more than seven days
  • You cancel plans or activities because of your heavy menstrual flow
  • You pass blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
  • You feel constant pain in the lower part of the stomach during your periods

If you are tired, short of breath, or lack energy, you may be losing an unusual amount of blood during your periods and have anemia. 

Causes of heavy bleeding

Heavy periods can be a result of something as simple as stress or as complex as cancer. We do a thorough evaluation to determine the root cause by looking for:

  • Hormone imbalances, like thyroid disease or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Uterine fibroids or polyps
  • Cancer of the uterus or cervix
  • Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Possible pregnancy complications

You may not even realize you are pregnant, but heavy bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. 

Controlling heavy periods with medications

If we do a blood test and find that you’re anemic, we’ll prescribe iron supplements to improve your iron stores. Iron supplements don’t help alleviate bleeding, however.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help ease bleeding intensity and help with symptoms like cramps and stomach pain.

You may benefit from starting hormonal birth control, like the pill, patch, or a hormonal IUD (intrauterine device), to lighten up your periods and reduce blood flow during your period. 

Other hormonal therapy that helps balance your estrogen and progesterone levels can help ease heavy periods, especially for women in perimenopause.

We might also suggest gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists to temporarily prevent ovulation and thus stop monthly bleeding. 

Procedures to ease heavy periods

Depending on the cause of your heavy periods, you might benefit from a:

  • Myomectomy, which removes fibroids from your uterus
  • Endometrial ablation, which destroys all or part of your uterine lining
  • Uterine artery embolization, which restricts blood flow from fibroids and tumors
  • Hysterectomy, a surgery that removes your uterus and thus halts all periods

We usually start with drug and hormone treatments and offer surgical interventions when conservative therapies don’t work, but of course, that depends on the cause of your problem.

Which treatments are best for me?

The treatment we recommend depends on what’s causing your bleeding and its severity. We consider your age and your family goals, as well as your medical history. Ultimately, our goal is to give you the best care while honoring your needs and health goals.

Don’t just ignore heavy periods that interfere with your quality of life and could indicate a medical problem. Call Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California at their Beverly Hills or Redondo Beach, California offices or use the online tool to book.