9 Natural remedies to stop prolonged periods
Several natural remedies may help shorten or regulate menstrual cycles. Heavy periods may be a sign of some underlying health condition. You must consult your doctor if you get prolonged or heavy periods or if there is a sudden increase in blood loss during your periods. Quite often, heavy and prolonged periods may be a result of nutritional deficiencies.
The natural remedies to stop prolonged periods include:
- Managing stress
- Exercise regularly
- Physical activity can help regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce the duration of your periods.
- Eating a healthy diet
- A diet high in processed foods and low in nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can contribute to hormonal imbalances. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can help regulate hormones and reduce the duration of your period. Eating foods rich in iron or potassium such as lentils, raisins or bananas may help you during prolonged periods.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated because menstrual fluid contains blood and water.
- Taking herbal supplements
- Certain herbs, such as ginger, turmeric, and raspberry leaf, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help regulate hormones and reduce the duration of your period.
- Taking a shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is one of the most common remedies for prolonged periods. Although there is no adequate scientific evidence, it can regulate bleeding, such as nosebleeds, postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after childbirth), or menstrual flow. Use a heaping teaspoon of shepherd’s purse per cup of near-boiling water and drink three to four cups daily.
- Take a mixture of boiled coriander seeds and cinnamon to help relieve symptoms. Take one cup of water and boil it with coriander seeds and cinnamon until it is reduced to half a cup. Add some sugar and drink this concoction two times a day.
- Taking a strand of saffron with one teaspoon of honey can be a quick remedy.
- Drinking powdered bark of the Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) with a glass of water or milk may reduce heavy bleeding.
- Blending tamarind, honey, and water into a paste and drinking it may help. Antioxidants found in tamarind reduce cholesterol levels and treat heavy bleeding.
- Taking mustard seed powder rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help. When it is mixed with milk or water, it aids in regulating estrogen levels and maintaining hormonal imbalances. This helps regulate menstrual flow.
- Drinking apple cider vinegar and water works as a tonic that removes toxins from the body maintain hormonal balance and treats heavy bleeding with cramps.
- Consuming flaxseed tea during menstruation regulates estrogen levels because it has hormone-balancing properties, which reduce blood flow.
- Considering birth control
- Birth control can regulate hormones and reduce the duration of your period. Hormonal birth control methods, such as the pill, patch, and ring, can help regulate hormones and reduce the duration of your period.
- Practicing pelvic floor exercises
- Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve blood flow to the uterus, which can help reduce the duration of your period.
- Using heat therapy
- Using a heating pad or soaking in a warm bath can help relieve menstrual cramps and shorten the duration of your period.
- Before trying any of these methods, it's best to consult a healthcare professional as prolonged periods can be caused by underlying medical conditions that may require treatment.
- May help reduce the duration of periods by regulating hormones and promoting blood flow.
However, you should consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies. Most of these remedies lack medical or scientific evidence. If you have heavy bleeding and prolonged periods, it would be best to consult a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
What are the treatment options for heavy bleeding?
Your doctor may prescribe some of the following treatments for heavy bleeding.
- Medication: Medications are the first-line recommended treatments for heavy bleeding.
- Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), Mirena: This is a small plastic device that is placed in the uterus and it slowly releases progestin hormone. It prevents the uterine lining from growing quickly and it is also a type of contraceptive. It has been shown to reduce blood loss by 71 to 96 percent and it is the preferred first choice for treatment. It is usually used for a minimum of 12 months.
- Tranexamic acid: These tablets work by helping blood in the uterus to clot. They reduce blood loss by 29 to 58 percent. They are taken three or four times a day for a maximum of three to four days. The lower end of this dosing range will usually be recommended, for example, two tablets three times a day for a maximum of five days. Treatment should be stopped if symptoms have not improved within three months.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs reduce blood loss by 20 to 49 percent. These tablets are taken from the start of the period (or just before) until the bleeding has stopped.
- Combined oral contraceptive pills: These pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. These are taken beginning on the first day of a woman’s period. One pill is taken every day for 21 days and then no pills are taken for seven days.
- Oral norethisterone: This is a type of man-made progestin (one of the female sex hormones). It is another type of medication that can be used for treating heavy bleeding. It is taken in tablet form, two to three times a day, from day 5 to 26 of the menstrual cycle. The first day of your period is counted as day 1. It works by preventing your uterine lining from growing too quickly.
- Injected progestin: A type of progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate is also available as an injection and is sometimes used to treat heavy bleeding. It works by preventing the lining of the womb from growing too quickly and it is a form of contraception. It is injected once every 12 weeks for as long as treatment is required.
- Uterine artery embolization (UAE): If excessive menstrual bleeding is due to small noncancerous growths called fibroids, then UAE may be done. It is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed through a small tube inserted into the groin. Through this tube, small plastic beads are injected into the arteries supplying blood to the fibroid. This blocks the arteries and causes the fibroid to shrink over the subsequent six months.
- Myomectomy: Sometimes, the fibroids can be removed using a surgical procedure known as a myomectomy. However, the operation is not suitable for every type of fibroid.
- Endometrial ablation: The womb lining is destroyed.
- Hysterectomy: This is the surgical removal of the womb, which may sometimes also involve the removal of the neck of the womb, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
Why are my periods so heavy?
Heavy periods, medically known as menorrhagia, mean having to change your pad or tampon every hour for at least two successive hours. You may also experience pain that makes it difficult for you to carry out your routine activities.
Your periods may be heavy due to the following reasons:
- Hormonal problems. Having a normal menstrual cycle requires the balancing of two hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, which is what causes you to shed the lining of your uterus (endometrium) in your menses. When this balance is disturbed, there may be heavy shedding and bleeding. The common causes of hormone problems are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid problems, and obesity.
- Growths in the uterus. Polyps are small, benign (noncancerous) growths on the lining of the uterus. Fibroids are small-to-large benign tumors that grow within the uterus. Both of these can result in heavy or prolonged periods.
- Nonhormonal IUDs. Intrauterine devices or IUDs are devices that women use for birth control. They can be either hormonal or nonhormonal, with the latter potentially causing heavy periods as a side effect.
- Complications of pregnancy. Rarely, the embryo attaches itself to places outside of the uterus. This condition is called an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby cannot grow normally. This results in heavier bleeding during periods. Miscarriage can also cause heavy periods.
- Cancer of the reproductive system. Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries is another reason why some women may get heavy periods. However, this reason is rare compared to other causes.
- Bleeding disorders. Similar to cancer, this is also a rare cause of heavy periods. Bleeding disorders that are passed down in your family across generations may make you bleed heavier than usual during injuries as well as periods.
- Certain medications. Blood thinners, such as warfarin or anti-inflammatory drugs, may cause excessive bleeding during periods.
- Other medical conditions. Existing kidney disease or liver disease may also be the cause of heavy periods.
What tests help doctors know the cause of your heavy periods?
After reviewing your medical history and asking about your menstrual cycles, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests or procedures:
- Blood tests. These tests will look at the hemoglobin and iron levels (for iron-deficiency anemia) and thyroid hormone levels.
- Ultrasound. This is an imaging test that uses sound waves to produce images of your reproductive system.
- Pap test. This is a small procedure in which your doctor takes a small sample of your cervix and sends them to the laboratory for analysis.
- Endometrial biopsy. This involves taking a sample of tissue from the inside of the uterus and sending them to the laboratory to check for cancer.
- Hysteroscopy. This procedure involves using a thin, long flexible tube fitted with a lighted camera to look inside the uterus.
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Shaw JA. Menorrhagia. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/255540-overview
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