How to lighten your monthly period

Written by michelle johnson
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How to lighten your monthly period
Women with heavy periods may feel uncomfortable going swimming. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Approximately 10 million women experience heavy bleeding during their periods, according to the About Heavy Periods website. Women with heavy periods often have periods that last for more than seven days, pass clots while bleeding and have to change their pads or tampons every hour or two. They may experience negative side effects, such as fatigue, cramping, depression and discomfort during sex. If heavy periods are reducing your confidence and causing you to miss out on activities you enjoy, you may benefit from these treatments intended to lighten your periods.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Foods high in fibre, vitamin K and iron
  • Shepherd's purse
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Nettle
  • Birth control pills
  • Oral progestin pills or an intrauterine device
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

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Instructions

    Healthy eating habits

  1. 1

    Increase the amount of fibre you eat by consuming more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

  2. 2

    Boost your consumption of vitamin K by adding foods like cheese, asparagus and leafy vegetables to your diet.

  3. 3

    Eat more iron-rich foods, such as beef, pork, fish, clams, iron-fortified cereals and dried nuts and seeds; to reduce the risk of anaemia.

    Herbs

  1. 1

    Create a tincture of fresh -- not dried -- shepherd's purse, an herb that dries up extra fluids. Take 30 to 40 drops on an empty stomach, as often as every half an hour, until your heavy bleeding slows.

  2. 2

    Drink red raspberry leaf tea -- made by combining 1 to 2 tsp of the herb with 1 cup of water -- as frequently as desired.

  3. 3

    Ingest 40 to 150 drops of nettle, an herb high in iron that can dry up bleeding, three to four times each day on an empty stomach.

    Drugs

  1. 1

    Start birth control pills, which stabilise the hormones oestrogen and progestin and can reduce bleeding by as much as 45 per cent according to the About Heavy Periods website.

  2. 2

    Use progestin in a pill or through an intrauterine device, which can lighten periods by limiting blood flow to the uterus.

  3. 3

    Take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen, which may decrease bleeding by 25 to 35 per cent.

Tips and warnings

  • Visit your doctor to check for medical causes of heavy bleeding -- such as fibroids, endometriosis and cysts -- and to discuss which treatment method might work best for you.
  • Start any dietary changes you make at least 14 days before your period should begin to give them a chance to take effect.
  • If no other treatments work to lighten your periods, undergo a minor or major surgical procedure that can reduce your heavy bleeding. Your doctor may perform an endometrial ablation, which removes your uterine lining, or a hysterectomy, which removes your uterus and sometimes your ovaries.
  • Drug therapies have side-effects and don't always satisfactorily lighten heavy periods, but they have the benefit of not interfering with your fertility, if you think you might want children in the future.
  • Surgical procedures make a future pregnancy impossible or dangerous, so these methods should only be considered if you feel certain you are finished having children.

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