Periods can be regular, irregular, mild or heavy; they can differ with each individual. According to WomensHealth.Gov, painful, irregular, or heavy periods affect up to 14 per cent of females. Moreover, heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is a common condition affecting 20–30% of women of reproductive age.
With heavy and extensive bleeding often lasting for more than seven days, we have put together 10 top tips to help you minimise pain, reduce bleeding and manage heavy periods.
1. Try a heating pad or hot water bottle.
Heating pads can help reduce common period symptoms, such as pain and cramping. The warmth of the heating pad relaxes muscles and the uterus, reducing the tightening of blood vessels and improving blood flow.
If using a heating pad, make sure to wrap the pad in a towel or cloth before applying it to the skin to avoid burning. Hot water bottles mostly come with a protective and soft outer layer; these can be exceptionally comforting when on your period.
Alternatively, our monthly patches are long-lasting, slow releasing and deliver a cramp-numbing sensation to the skin for over 12 hours. They are 100% natural, thin and discreet. You simply apply the patch to the area of concern and carry on your day. If you find hot water bottles or heating pads too bulky and inconvenient, then these are for you.
2. Get plenty of rest
Being on your period can be highly exhausting; the body needs the energy to restore the blood lost within a heavy flow. Having rest when you feel that your body needs it is vital in preventing fatigue; after all, with painful cramps, backache and a constant urge for chocolate, our bodies are bound to be tired.
A heavy period causes the body to lose a lot of water; replenishing this water by staying hydrated can support overall health and energy levels. Staying hydrated can move your period on faster and reduce the cramps and backache; who wouldn't want that?
It is recommended that eight glasses of water per day be drunk; water helps prevent the blood from thickening and easier to flow through the body.
4. Herbal remedies
Many herbal remedies can help with a heavy flow. If you don’t like taking over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, these may be the solution.
The following may reduce the duration of a period and heavy blood loss:
- Ginger capsules
- Myrtle fruit syrup
- Pomegranate flower capsules
5. Iron supplements or iron-rich food
When the body bleeds, you naturally lose iron. A very heavy period can deprive the body of the amount of iron needed and could lead to anaemia. Iron supplements or iron-rich food can restore the level of iron in your body and prevent this.
Iron supplements won’t reduce blood flow, but they may prevent anaemia and help women with heavy periods feel better. If you’re more of a food lover, why not add some iron-rich foods into your diet to help your period. Examples of iron-rich food include lean beef, oysters, chicken/turkey, beans, tofu or spinach.
6. Birth control
Another option to help with heavy periods is birth control; this can come in many forms, including the contraceptive pill, implant, patch and injections. The hormones in these methods of contraception reduce the period frequency and mean that the period lasts a shorter amount of time with a smaller blood flow and limited symptoms.
This is due to the hormones in the contraception preventing ovulation. When you don’t ovulate, your uterus doesn’t experience the painful contractions that it usually would at that time of the month.
Birth control can be prescribed at any doctors or women’s clinic.
7. Wear period knickers
If your period is heavy, a standard sanitary pad or tampon may not be enough. Period knickers allow you to free bleed with the fabric absorbing the blood and disguising its appearance and scent.
Iceni Silver period wear can hold up to 40ml (8 tampons worth) of period fluid - 4x more than marketing leading brands and require no additional sanitary products, making your heavy period more comfortable.
Exercise reduces stress and benefits your mental health, and also helps your period pain. When stressed or anxious, your period cramps can amplify; exercise increases blood flow which also helps with menstrual cramps.
The exercise you choose doesn’t need to be anything strenuous. It can be something light such as a steady walk or even relaxation techniques such as yoga or pilates. Combing light exercise and relaxation techniques will increase blood flow whilst relaxing your muscles, making your period flow much easier on your body.
Over-the-counter drugs can reduce your period pain and your menstrual bleeding. These drugs include aspirin and ibuprofen; ibuprofen can help with both cramping pains and blood flow. The recommended dose to help with a heavy period is 600-800mg of ibuprofen once a day; this daily dose can be continued for 5 days or as long as your period lasts.
A massage whilst on your period can relax muscle tension, decrease the pain of cramps, reduce water retention and help with stress and anxiety.
Whilst massage therapy does minimise the symptoms that come with a heavy period, many fear the increase in blood flow. However, the increase in blood flow also has positive effects on menstruation, such as reducing cramps and back pain.
No one should be held back from their day-to-day activities by their period; whether it’s natural remedies, a pair of period panties or some ibuprofen, we hope you find our guide helpful.For more tips and information on period management, head over to our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or get in touch today for further insight.