In Part 4 of our series on PMS symptoms, irregular periods, painful periods, and abnormally heavy periods, we are discussing abnormally heavy periods. You’ll learn about the types of abnormally heavy periods, their symptoms, and some ways to treat them naturally.
Menorrhagia is the medical term for abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding during the menses. This is around 80 milliliters per cycle or about 16 soaked pads, that’s how we classify it as far as units. As far as days, this is seven days or more of bleeding; that’s how we can also classify this as far as time. So we use quantity and time to come up with this diagnosis.
Common Causes of Heavy Bleeding
Common causes of heavy bleeding include:
- Ovulatory dysfunctions: such as PCOS, if we’re not ovulating every month, the uterine lining continues to grow. Eventually, when we do have a period or a bleed, we’re bleeding more because that wasn’t happening normally in a normal cycle.
- Bleeding disorders: so those clotting disorders that we talked about.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: this is usually through sexually transmitted infections causing different inflammation within the uterus and ovaries that can cause heavy bleeding.
- Uterine fibroids, which are super common, cause heavy bleeding.
- Uterine polyps.
- Cervical cancer.
- And then endometrial cancer.
Suppose you’re one of those women who have heavier periods. In that case, it’s essential that you have someone work this up to identify the cause of your heavy bleeding and then prevent you from having other imbalances like iron deficiency, anemia that comes from that blood loss.
Above is a picture showing you different types of fibroids. They can look very different. I like to put this picture up so that women have an idea of how different they can be and better understand how this causes heavy bleeding.
Treatment for Menorrhagia
We always start with identifying the root cause. Are there fibroids there, are there polyps there? Does this person have a clotting disorder? What are her hormones like? We want to identify that root cause so that we can treat them appropriately, addressing any hormonal imbalances if they are there. Some of the methods we use to treat heavy bleeding are:
- Using astringent herbs: astringent herbs are herbs that constrict vessels and constrict tissue. This will decrease the amount of blood loss during the period.
- Progesterone can also be super helpful in this.
- Treating the liver: making sure that we’re getting rid of those excess hormones.
- Contraceptives can be helpful.
- And then surgery if it’s needed; as a naturopath, surgery is the most invasive of all of the treatment options. Obviously, that’s not what I want for my patients, but I do like to say, sometimes it is necessary. This is where imaging comes into play. And this is where getting a good history with your doctor comes into play.
- Herbs, diet, exercise, and hormones can be super helpful in treating heavy bleeding. But if you have a fibroid that’s the size of a golf ball or a small watermelon, there isn’t much that our naturopathic modalities can do at that point; at that point, it’s a little too far gone, and surgery, in that case, is necessary.
If you’d like to discuss natural treatments for abnormally heavy periods, schedule a free brief meet and greet with one of our naturopathic doctors by calling 480-588-6856.