How to Manage Heavy & Painful Periods

August 2018

Signs, causes, and treatments that can ease menstruation discomfort.

Talk to your doctor to learn about treatment options for heavy and painful periods.

When “that time” of the month arrives, every woman is uniquely affected. Some might have light periods with few symptoms and others might have mood swings and cramping. However, if you experience a heavy and painful period regularly, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and know when it may be time to consult a doctor.

In this post, we’ll help you discover more about heavy and painful periods, including:  

  • Signs of a heavy period
  • Possible causes of heavy periods
  • Feminine products to handle heavier flows
  • Ways to ease the discomfort of a painful period
  • Types of medical treatments available

Keep reading to learn more about you and your period below.

Signs of a heavy period

It’s common to have a heavier flow on the first day or two of your period, but if heavy and painful periods are long-lasting or a regular occurrence, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist.

Signs of a heavy period, or menorrhagia, can include:

  • Bleeding heavily enough to soak through 1+ pads or tampons an hour for multiple consecutive hours
  • Bleeding for longer than a week
  • Passing quarter-sized or larger blood clots
  • Having to double up on sanitary protection (e.g., wearing both a pad and tampon)
  • Needing to wake up during the night to change sanitary protection
  • Experiencing anemia symptoms, like fatigue or shortness of breath

Possible causes of heavy periods

Heavy periods aren’t necessarily an indicator of a more serious condition, but they certainly can be. These are the most common causes of heavy periods:

  • Hormone imbalance
  • Growths in the uterus (polyps or fibroids)
  • Some IUDs
  • Pregnancy-related issues (e.g., ectopic pregnancy)
  • Genetic bleeding disorders
  • Anti-inflammatory or blood-thinning medications
  • Conditions like endometriosis, thyroid problems, PID, or kidney/liver disease
  • Some female cancers (rare)

Feminine products to handle heavier flows

If you and your doctor determine that your heavy period is no cause for concern, consider trying these feminine products:

  • Menstrual cups can hold roughly twice the amount of a super-absorbent pad or tampon
  • Pads or tampons designed for heavy flows
  • A combination approach in which you use more than one method

No matter which option you choose, be sure to be proactive about changing them regularly to guard against infection.

Ways to ease the discomfort of a painful period

If period pain is a monthly reality for you, try common menstrual cramp pain relief options, like drinking herbal tea, using a heating pad, massaging the area, or taking ibuprofen or naproxen. You can also try diet changes, like increasing vegetable intake and consuming more dietary magnesium to see if they alleviate your symptoms. If your monthly period pain is causing you to miss out on your daily activities, however, talk to your doctor about other remedies that can offer relief.

Types of medical treatments available

You don’t have to live with heavy and painful periods – you have menstrual pain treatment options. It may be as simple as starting or switching birth control or taking another medication prescribed by a doctor. In some cases, surgery can help, particularly if uterine growths or endometriosis cause your heavy and painful periods.

For more ways to manage your heavy or painful periods, schedule an appointment with our doctors and women’s health team today. Reach out to us online or call (920) 885-6090.

This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

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