Having a couple of heavy flow days when you start your period is totally normal—we’ve all leaked through a tampon or two, right? But if you find yourself avoiding wearing those cute white jeans during your cycle or have a bag bursting with super tampons, you may have heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) due to uterine fibroids.
There are more than 2.8 million women in the U.S. diagnosed with uterine fibroids, which can cause HMB. Leaving women with the decision whether or not have a hysterectomy as treatment. However, many don’t want to have an invasive surgery or are looking to have children later. If you are one of those women, bring it up at your next doctor visit—there are so many options available to you and you want to be sure you know the facts before making any big decisions about your health. In the meantime, check out these tips to help treat your heavy menstrual bleeding.
Change your Diet. Increasing your iron intake can help reduce heavy bleeding and prevent anemia caused by blood loss. Try adding iron-rich foods like meat, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables to your daily diet. Plus, foods filled with vitamin C like oranges, bell peppers and broccoli can help your body absorb the extra iron, so try pairing them together, like a great stir-fry. Also, do your best to avoid processed sugar, trans-fats and starchy carbs, which can make symptoms worse, even though you may be craving them at this time of the month.
Try a pain reliever. Common medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce pain while possibly lightening your period. These medicines are sometimes called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). They can reduce the amount of prostaglandin—a hormone that causes pain and heavy bleeding—in your uterine lining. Before taking anything, even over the counter medication, check in with your doctor to see if they have any suggestions on what you should or shouldn’t take.
Stay hydrated. A glass of water may seem like the last thing that could help but if you bleed heavily for a couple of days, your blood volume can get too low. Try adding four to six glasses additional glasses of water each day to maintain your volume. You can also sip on an electrolyte drink like Gatorade or add more salt into your diet to balance out the extra water.
If uterine fibroids are causing excessive bleeding or other problems, it’s best to talk with your doctor about treatment. Before trying anything on your own, get advice from an expert. So, don’t be afraid to mention your heavy periods at your next visit.