After turning 35, I noticed a change in my menstrual cycle. Suddenly, it was longer, heavy and clotty. Worried, I made an appointment with my gynecologist who informed me that ‘this was normal’. As females approach 40, they enter into a stage called perimenopause in which the hormone estrogen dramatically rises and falls in their body affecting their period. Since, I have made several adjustments to my life in order to improve and cope with this situation.
Heavy period? Ways to manage your flow:
- Get tested. Although my gynecologist informed me that a heavy period was normal at my age, she still ordered tests for uterine cancer and fibroids. Both of these conditions can cause excessive bleeding during a female’s menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, a few of these tests are painful such as endometrial biopsy, so prepare mentally to deal with some discomfort.
- Change pads. You have to find a brand that’s best for heavy periods and your body type to avoid leakage. In the past, I swore by Always Ultra-Thin Long feminine pads. Now, I use Kotex Overnight and even double up with tampons whenever necessary.
- Seek a cure. Unfortunately, heavy periods can slow you down. You can’t do certain things for fear of having an ‘accident’. So, finding a way to reduce your blood flow is vital. Ask your gynecologist for options. Mine suggested an IUD, which helped cut my blood flow in half. What your doctor tells you depends on the cause of your excessive bleeding and can range from a change in birth control to surgery.
- Take iron. Inevitably, if have heavy periods for a while, you will also develop anemia. Anemia is a lack of iron in your body. A sign you have anemia is you feel tired all of the time despite getting adequate sleep. I suffer from this condition on and off. For this reason, I take Iron pills daily in order to keep up my energy.
- Keep records. Track your period using a calendar or diary. Even if you aren’t regular, your irregularity may have a pattern. This knowledge helps you better prepare for your menstrual cycle and also discuss any issues intelligently with your doctor.
The above have helped me manage heavy periods in a way that has brought relief. I am not cramping, bleeding or clotting as much and am able to continue my lifestyle in a more normal manner. You can do the same. Just be patient.
Also see: Reduce Your Risk of Getting Fibroids