Symptoms of Heavy PeriodsIt can be challenging to figure out exactly how much blood you lose during each period, but there are other signs that can point to your period being unusually heavy. Symptoms of menorrhagia include: (1, 2)
- Needing to change your tampon or pad every hour
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Experiencing severe cramps
- Bleeding for longer than a week
- Showing signs of anemia, such as fatigue or shortness of breath
- Needing to “double-up” on menstrual products
- Having to wake up during the night to change menstrual products
- Avoiding daily activities because of your period
Causes of Heavy PeriodsMany women with heavy periods may have had them for many years and feel like they are used to them at this point. For some, a heavy period might not feel unusual, or they may believe that they can’t do anything about it. But you shouldn’t ignore a pattern of heavy periods, since it could be your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. (1, 2) Menorrhagia has many potential causes. If you experience a heavy, painful period on a recurring basis, it could be caused by: (1, 2)
- Hormone Imbalance
- Bleeding disorder
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine fibroids
- Specific cancers
- Childbirth recovery
Conventional Treatment for Heavy PeriodsConventional treatment for heavy periods often focuses on controlling blood flow and masking symptoms. A doctor will usually do a physical exam and ask about your health history and menstrual cycles. They may also request that you keep a record of your menstrual cycle, including the days that you bleed, how heavy the flow is, your symptoms, and how many menstrual products you need to use. (1, 2) After these initial requests, your doctor may also recommend further testing, which could include blood tests, a pap smear, an endometrial biopsy, or an ultrasound. Depending on what they learn, your doctor may recommend one or more of these conventional treatment options: (1, 2)
- Birth Control – Your doctor may prescribe an oral contraceptive or hormonal IUD for the purpose of managing the heaviness and length of periods. It is important to note that these “hormonal” solutions are actually endocrine system disruptors, and are only a bandaid an may create bigger hormonal issues down the road.
- Prescription Medication – A doctor could prescribe a medication like synthetics oral progestins to control hormone levels and alleviate menorrhagia.
- Over-The-Counter Pain Medication – Your doctor may recommend that you use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to reduce cramping and blood loss.
- Surgery – If the above treatment options don’t help your heavy periods, your doctor might suggest treating them with surgery. This could involve removing polyps or fibroids or performing a dilation and curettage (D & C), in which a surgeon removes layers of tissue from the uterus in order to reduce heavy bleeding. However, even with a D & C, menorrhagia can reoccur, and you may need to have the procedure done again (because the actual problem is not being addressed, more on that later).
How to Treat Heavy Periods NaturallyThere are many different reasons that heavy periods might occur. The majority of which are a sign from your body that it’s time to heal your hormones. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this naturally that could also have a positive impact on your heavy periods. And it has a lot to do with estrogen. Estrogen is a sneaky little hormone that is often overlooked in typical blood tests. It can be related to issues such as weight gain, sleepless nights, sugar cravings, low energy, depression and insulin resistance in both men and women, and heavy periods or intense PMS symptoms just for the ladies. It has snuck up on me a few times over the years, so now that I’m onto estrogen’s tricks, I’m giving you the inside info to make sure estrogen isn’t getting in the way of you feeling like your best self. Unexplained weight, acne, low libido, restless sleep, hot flashes and struggling to build muscle, are just some of the common characteristics that can be seen when estrogen is dominating your body. And Estrogen doesn’t discriminate. It’s just as much of an issue these days with both men and women. I see it all the time in clients coming through my virtual practice door. And it can be very confusing for people, who for the first time in their lives are having trouble managing weight and their cycle seems to be playing cruel tricks on them every month.
Why Does Estrogen Get Out Of Control?Reason #1 – A possible genetic predisposition. Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with estrogen responsive cancer? You might have some genetic variants that predisose you to estrogen dominance. About 80% of all breast cancers are “ER-positive”, meaning the cancer cells grow in response to estrogen. But don’t worry, as we always say, your genes are not your destiny. Learn more about hormones and genetics in this post. Reason #2 – Poor estrogen metabolism clearance. A Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH) can reveal estrogen metabolites (estrone and estradiol) going down the less favorable pathway. In addition, some people have difficulty clearing the used estrogen and this can recirculate throughout the body, creating an estrogen dominant situation (even when estrogen levels aren’t particularly high.) The Dutch test looks at all phases of estrogen metabolism. These values cannot be seen on a blood test, so they have been routinely missed.
What Is Estrogen Dominance?In men, it’s usually determined when estrogen levels are relatively high in comparison to testosterone. Meaning testosterone levels could be normal or low, and estrogen is relatively high to whatever that number is. In women, it’s commonly evaluated based upon the ratio of estrogen to progesterone, but as with men, it can also be evaluated when comparing testosterone to estrogen. In general, when estrogen levels are relatively high to other hormones, it’s not good. I fell victim to estrogen dominance back in the day. My weight climbed by 15 pounds, I broke out with acne, I had painful and heavy periods, I didn’t sleep great, and I couldn’t keep my emotions under wraps – all because estrogen had taken over. And I’m also certain estrogen was a tipping factor towards my Hashimoto’s. The good news is that estrogen dominance doesn’t happen overnight. It’s preventable and reversible in almost any case. But if estrogen gets out of control, it can lead to more health issues beyond stubborn weight, acne and heavy periods.
Estrogen Dominance Can Also Contribute To:
- Hormone driven cancers such as the ER-2 breast cancer
- Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s
- Yeast and bacteria overgrowth such as Candida
Natural Solutions for Heavy Periods and Estrogen Dominance
- Sort Out Estrogen Sources
- Plastic food and water containers, or other types of containers
- Lotions, shampoos, conditioners, deodorant or other personal care products
- Metal substances such as cadmium, lead, and mercury
- Non-organic foods containing pesticides or added hormones
- Tap water (yes, even though it’s deemed “safe”) contaminated with pesticides/toxins
- Intestinal parasites, bacteria and yeast that elevate toxic enzymes and trap estrogen
- Excess body fat that absorbs, stores and synthesizes estrogen
- Synthetic hormones found in hormone replacement therapies and/or birth control
- Water damaged buildings with mold growth
- Unrelenting mental or emotional stress
- Take a daily liver support supplement with nutrients such as milk thistle
- Eat naturally detoxifying foods such as beets, grapefruits, lemons, and dandelion greens
- Regularly use a castor oil pack, do dry body brushing or sit in an infrared sauna
- Do all of the above and give more power to your liver!
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Tai chi or qi gong
- Spend time outside
- Talk to a friend or family member about what is causing your stress
- Chaste tree – Also known as chasteberry, this herb is popular in Europe for treating heavy bleeding and hormonal imbalances in women. One study found that taking chaste tree was helpful for some women in reducing the days that they experienced heavy bleeding during their periods.
- Vitamin C – There is evidence that Vitamin C can help lessen heavy bleeding. It may also assist the body in absorbing iron, which is essential for those with heavy periods because they lose so much iron.
- Iron – It’s possible that an iron deficiency could cause menorrhagia. For some women, eating a diet rich in iron could help them regulate their periods. In addition, women suffering from heavy periods may lose too much iron in their blood, which can lead to anemia. So, eating an iron-rich diet or supplementing with iron can be helpful.
- Daily GLOW – a female physician-formulated high quality multinutrient formula with added herbs to combat stress, detoxify estrogen, balance hormones, support thyroid, immune health, combat cravings, improve sleep, and enhance energy, Daily GLOW combines it all into one professional strength formula. Click here to learn more about Daily GLOW
- Bio-identical Progesterone – For women who are producing enough progesterone, adding some bio-identical progesterone can help balance things out. Be sure to use only physiological doses and avoid synthetic progestins (as those will just make the problem worse. It’s a good idea to consult your health care provider before starting on any hormones.
The 21 Day Metabolic Rehab and Hormone Makeover is the perfect plan for anyone experiencing estrogen dominance, heavy periods, PMS, weight loss resistance, insomnia, digestive distress, or other hormonal issues. Click here to Rehab your hormones with me todaySources: