Heavy bleeding (known as menorrhagia) is common for many women but should be investigated when it is a new symptom or is excessive. Some women will bleed so heavily that they leak through super tampons and pads and can experience flooding.
The cause of heavy bleeding may be due to hormonal imbalance (high oestrogen and low progesterone or hypothyroidism). When hormones are imbalanced, the lining of the uterus develops excessively which results in heavy bleeding.
Ovarian dysfunction and annovular cycles may also cause heavy bleeding due to a lack of sufficient progesterone production. If heavy bleeding is a new symptom, conditions such as uterine fibroids or polyps should be considered and can be diagnosed via ultrasound.
Another cause of heavy bleeding may be low iron. When iron stores are low, women tend to bleed more and clot more which makes iron storage even lower. This cycle can continue while symptoms worsen if iron levels are not corrected. Iron should always be tested before supplementation as excess iron can be dangerous to your health.
Tips to minimize heavy bleeding (in the absence of underlying pathology):
- Assist hormonal balance by reducing your exposure to environmental oestrogens. These are found in plastics (stop using plastic water bottles – even the BPA free ones!), cleaning products and personal care products.
- Support liver detoxification of oestorgen by increasing organic food consumption and drinking nettle leaf tea. Consider an organic vegetable delivery box.
- Drink three cups of cinnamon tea daily starting from the day before your period is due to reduce heavy blood flow.
- Make sure you get your iron levels tested with your GP.
- Try a cold compress which can help restrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow – wrap a frozen cold pack in a thin towel and place it over your lower abdomen for 15-20 minutes while laying down. Repeat every 1-2 hours or as needed.
- Supplement with 2000-4000mg/day of vitamin C with bioflavenoids. These help to keep the uterine blood capillaries strong and also has an anti-oestrogenic effect on the uterus.
- Also consider adding 50mg vitamin B6 and 400mg magnesium to boost progesterone levels.
- Try an Epsom salt bath (1 cup of Epsom salts per bath) three times a week for a month and assess the next bleed.
- Download the Seed iPhone App to help improve your hormonal balance and manage symptoms while tracking your cycles and understanding which foods, recipes and supplements may be helpful for you.
- If your bleeding has been investigated and no underlying condition can be found, is also advised to see your Seed naturopath for a herbal tonic to reduce your heavy blood flow (and make your life easier!)