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Do you have a heavy period?

Is your period heavy? How can you tell? As a Nutritional Therapist, what do I recommend to my clients who are struggling with heavy bleeding?

The medical term for a heavy period is Menorrhagia, which means that you are losing more than 80ml of blood per cycle. In my nutrition clinic, I have found that this is often hard to measure. So, a more helpful way to tell if your bleeding is heavy is to ask: Is your quality of life affected by the amount of blood you are losing? For example, are you struggling to leave the house or get through a day of work or school on your period?

Here are some other ways to tell if you have a heavy period.

·         You get through 16 or more fully soaked regular tampons or pads for the entire period.

·         Your period lasts more than seven days.

·         You are passing clots larger than a 50-pence piece.  

·         You need to change your pads or tampons during the night.

·         You feel tired, low energy, or short of breath.  

There are many causes of heavy periods (such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, and fibroids), and it’s worth seeing your doctor to discuss this. 

I tell my clients to keep a symptom diary to prepare for the appointment.

Tell your doctor exactly how many pads and tampons you get through on your period. Tell them how it impacts your life, e.g., I can’t leave the house on my period, I wear a pad and a tampon at the same time, and I am still worried about leaking. I change my pad every hour on my heavy flow days.  

As a Nutritional Therapist, here are three things that I commonly recommend for my clients with heavy periods.

1.  Test Iron levels. This is important, as low Iron levels can cause heavy periods. Heavy periods, in turn, cause you to lose more iron, so it’s a vicious cycle.

If Iron levels are low, I recommend that my clients increase their intake of iron-rich foods such as liver, grass-fed organic red meat, and dark green vegetables. I also often recommend a course of a gentle iron supplement, such as an iron bis-glycinate.  

2.  Balance blood sugar. I often see clients not making reasonable amounts of progesterone, the hormone produced in the second half of our cycle. Progesterone is essential as it counteracts the effect of oestrogen by thinning the uterine lining and lightening our flow.

The connection between progesterone and blood sugar is that progesterone drops when stress hormones such as cortisol rise. Keeping your blood sugar steady by eating enough protein, healthy fats, and fiber with your meals stops cortisol from spiking as blood sugar rises and dips, which is suitable for progesterone levels.

3.  Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation and mast cell activation have been identified as causes of

heavy periods. Adding anti-inflammatory foods such as oily fish, berries, and turmeric to your diet can help dampen inflammation in the body and, therefore, help with heavy bleeding.

There is much more to discuss with heavy periods, and I’ve just scratched the surface in this blog.

If you are struggling with heavy periods, nutrition can help!

You can book a FREE initial call with me if you would like to discuss your symptoms further.

Catherine x   


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