The correct medical definition of heavy periods is the passage of more than 80ml of blood every period. It is seldom realistic or practical, however, to really measure the blood loss and so doctors rely on the woman’s description of her period.
Periods are considered heavy when:
- A woman bleeds for more than 8 to 10 days, particularly if this is repeated month after month.
- A woman bleeds so much that it is difficult for her to attend her job. She may be forced to plan her holidays and leisure time according to the timings of her period.
- The bleeding is incessantly so heavy that the woman becomes anaemic.
- The presence of other than small clots for more than one or two days suggests heavy periods.
- ‘Flooding’ describes the sudden, unexpected onset of periods, like turning on a tap, and indicates heavy periods.
Causes of Heavy Menstruation
- Fibroids. These are benign (non-cancerous) growths in the muscle of the uterus. They often reason no evils, but sometimes reason symptoms such as heavy periods. See separate leaflet called ‘Fibroids’ for details.
- Other situation of the uterus such as endometriosis (see separate leaflet), infections, polyps, or a previous sterilization (‘tubal tie’) may lead to heavy periods. Cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer) is an unusual cause. This occurs in a small number of women, usually over the age of 40.
- Hormone problems. Periods can be irregular and sometimes heavy if you do not ovulate every month. For example, this occurs in some women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with an underactive thyroid gland may have heavy periods.
- The IUD (Intrauterine Device or ‘coil’) sometimes causes heavy periods. However, a special hormone-releasing IUD can actually treat heavy periods (see below).
- Warfarin or similar medicines interfere with blood clotting. If you take one of these medicines for other conditions, it may have a side-effect of heavier periods.
- Some drugs used for chemotherapy can also cause heavy periods.
- Blood clotting disorders are rare causes of heavy bleeding. Other symptoms are also likely to develop such as easy bruising or bleeding from other parts of the body.
Treatment of Heavy Menstruation
- Birth control pills or other medicines may be helpful.
- Another choice is watchful waiting.
- A surgical procedure called endometrial ablation may help to relieve very heavy menstrual bleeding. Endometrial ablation causes sterility (inability to become pregnant), but it does not trigger menopause. The long-term effects of endometrial ablation are unknown.
Home Remedies for Heavy Menstruation
- The herb of Marigold is useful in reducing the pain during menstruation and also increasing the flow. It is advisable to have a tablespoon of this, two times a day.
- For women who face the trouble of excessive menstruation, banana flower would provide an efficient remedy. Boil a banana flower in some water, until it turns soft. Take it out, crush it and have it with a cup of curd.
- In half liter of water, put 6 grams of coriander seeds and boil it until only half the quantity remains. Sweeten the decoction, with sugar or honey, and have it when warm.
- Extract the juice of fresh mango bark. Combine 10 ml of the juice with 120 ml of water. Have this combination in a dose of 1 or 2 tsp, every one hour.
- You can also consume the juice of fresh mango bark, after adding an egg white or some mucilage and a small quantity of the kernel of a poppy, to it.
- Boil 90 gm of the bark of Ashoka tree, in 30 ml of milk and 360 ml of water. Keep on boiling until the total quantity is reduced to about 90 ml. Drink this in 2 or 3 doses. Start consuming this decoction from the fourth day of the monthly period, until the bleeding is checked.
- Consume thirteen to twenty-five grams of the Indian barbery herb, during extreme bleeding.
- Prepare an infusion of the herb ‘rough chaff’ by steeping 15 gm of it, in 250 ml of boiling water. Strain the combination and drink when warm.
- Boil two tablespoons of hermal seeds in half a liter of water. Once the decoction is reduced to 1/3rd its quantity, stop boiling. Strain it and let it cool down a bit. Have it in a dose of 15 to 30 ml, per day.
- Take half a liter of water and boil it with five large heads of hemps, until it reduce to one-half. Damage the decoction, cool it down and have it before going to bed.