Heavy menstrual bleeding, medically known as menorrhagia, is characterized by abnormally heavy or prolonged periods.
Some of the most common symptoms and signs include menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days, the need to change your sanitary pad or tampon every 2 to 3 hours repeatedly, menstrual flow with large blood clots, severe and continuous cramping in the lower abdomen during a period, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, headaches, mood swings and extreme weakness.
This problem can affect any woman of childbearing age. However, young adolescents who have recently started menstruating and older women approaching menopause tend to be more susceptible to this problem.
Being overweight, using certain medications such as blood thinners and having a hereditary bleeding disorder also put you at a higher risk.
There are many possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding, including hormonal imbalance in the body, fibroids or noncancerous tumors of the uterus, uterine polyps, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, use of blood thinners and a side effect of using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control.
It can also happen due to medical conditions like adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and other conditions that can prevent normal blood clotting.
Heavy menstruation can affect your daily activities, as well as your emotional state and social life. Moreover, it can cause serious health problems like iron-deficiency anemia.
As the treatment will depend on the underlying cause, it is suggested to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Plus, you can opt for some dietary changes and simple home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for heavy menstrual bleeding.
1. Cold Compress
If you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, try using a cold compress. The cold temperature will cause vasoconstriction, which means constriction of the blood vessels. This will help reduce the flow of blood as well as pain in the lower abdomen.
- Put a few ice cubes in a thin towel and tie it properly.
- Place it over your abdomen for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Lie down for some time and try to relax.
- If needed, repeat the remedy every 4 hours for as long as the symptoms continue.
2. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is another effective remedy to control heavy bleeding. Being rich in iron, it aids in the production of red blood cells and may help regulate the amount of blood lost during menstruation. In addition, it helps reduce blood clots and soothe the muscles of the uterine walls to reduce pain.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses to a cup of warm water or milk. Drink it once daily.
- Another option is to add ½ tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to a glass of lemongrass tea. Drink it once in the morning and once at night before going to bed.
Follow either of these remedies for a few months to notice improvement in your condition.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also try apple cider vinegar to overcome the problem of heavy menstrual flow. It works as a tonic to flush toxins out of your body and maintain hormonal balance. It can even be helpful in treating symptoms like cramping, headaches, irritability and fatigue.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
- Drink this solution 3 times a day during the menstrual cycle for best results.
4. Red Raspberry
Red raspberry leaves are beneficial for women suffering from heavy menstrual flow. They contain tannins that help strengthen the uterine muscles. In addition, it helps reduce abdominal pain.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried red raspberry leaves to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and steep for about 10 minutes.
- Strain and drink this tea up to 3 times daily.
- Start drinking this tea a week before your cycle is due and throughout your period.
To get relief from excessive menstrual flow, you can also try cayenne pepper. It can help balance the blood flow in the body. Moreover, it helps maintain hormonal balance and relieve symptoms of heavy bleeding.
- Add ½ teaspoon of cayenne powder to a glass of warm water.
- Add a little honey.
- Drink this 2 or 3 times a day during your cycle.
You can also take cayenne supplements once daily, but only after consulting your doctor.
6. Coriander Seeds
According to Ayurveda, coriander seeds can help stop heavy menstrual cycles. It can help improve uterine functioning and balance female hormones in the body.
- Add 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds to 2 cups of water.
- Boil it until the quantity reduces by half.
- Strain, then add a little honey.
- Drink it while it is still warm, 2 or 3 times a day during your monthly cycle.
Cinnamon is effective in reducing heavy menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis, uterine fibroids and adenomyosis. This herb reduces the bleeding by stimulating blood flow away from the uterus. In addition, its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties help relieve cramps.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot water. Simmer for a few minutes. Add honey and drink it 2 times a day.
- Alternatively, take 3 drops of cinnamon bark tincture, 2 times a day.
- You can also take 15 to 30 drops of cinnamon essential oil diluted in ¼ cup of water, up to 3 times per day.
Follow any of these remedies during your period only.
According to herbalists, comfrey is also a good remedy to control heavy bleeding. This herb helps constrict blood vessels, thereby reducing heavy bleeding.
- Put 2 teaspoons of comfrey leaves in a cup of hot water.
- Cover and steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain and drink it once daily during heavy bleeding.
9. Eat Iron-Rich Foods
Iron is an important mineral for women dealing with heavy menstrual periods as it can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia.
- Eat iron-rich foods like dark green vegetables, legumes, pumpkin seeds, egg yolks, liver, red meat, raisins, prunes, and cereals fortified with iron.
- You can also take an iron supplement after consulting a doctor.
Magnesium is a vital mineral to balance female hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen. Moreover, heavy menstruation can be caused by a magnesium deficiency in the body. Therefore, eating magnesium-rich foods will help control the profuse bleeding during menstruation.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods like oats, nuts and seeds, avocado, dark chocolate, pumpkin, squash, and watermelon.
- If opting for a supplement, consult your doctor first.
- Keep a record of your menstrual flow.
- Have an extra supply of sanitary pads and tampons on hand.
- If having abdominal pain during menstruation, apply a hot water bottle to your lower abdomen or back.
- Drink a few cups of chamomile, sage or green tea daily.
- Get regular moderate exercise. Some good exercises include brisk walking, jogging, swimming and bicycling.
- Enjoy a warm bath to relax muscles and ease pain and tension.
- Get plenty of rest and make yourself as comfortable as possible.
- Massage your lower back with warm coconut or olive oil to relieve pain.
- Add supplements to your diet, such as zinc, calcium and vitamins B6, C and K. Before taking any supplement, consult your doctor.
- As lack of sleep can worsen the problem, get at least 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep.
- Do not lift heavy weight during menstruation.