Is it possible to make your period lighter and shorter? A heavy flow comes with unpleasant PMS symptoms such as cramping, mood swings and even headaches. To get rid of these symptoms, you need to lighten up your menses. Here’s how to make your menstrual period lighter fast with vitamin C, a bath, water and birth control pills.
Common symptoms associated with heavy bleeding include mood swings, headaches, nausea and painful menstrual cramps. There are various things that you can do to lighten your period, make it shorter and reduce the suffering.
What is a heavy period?
A heavy period is when you lose excessive blood during your period. It is also referred to menorrhagia. Heavy menses can mean loss of too much blood resulting in dizziness, period pain, headaches, nausea, etc.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is considered to be 60ml or more in each cycle. However, most women know when their period is heavy without measuring the amount of blood lost. A good indication of a heavy flow would be:
- When you use more pads or tampons than usual
- When you feel the need to use both towels and tampons together
- If your flow is excessive and passes through to your clothes or even bedding
Discussed below are ways on how to make your period lighter and shorter, using natural methods e.g. using bath water, taking vitamin C, and using birth control methods.
See also: What causes blood clots during period?
Can you make your period lighter and shorter?
Are you wondering whether it is possible to make your period lighter and shorter? The answer to this question is YES, it is possible. For many women, periods tend to be quite annoying, particularly when they are on the heavier side. Heavy period flow can have a negative effect on your lifestyle and love life.
But, the good news is that you can be able to manage heavy periods, ensuring that you end up with lighter and shorter periods by:
- Making changes to your everyday diet
- Trying hormonal birth control
- Exercising on a regular basis
If the measures mentioned above do not work for you, consider visiting your primary healthcare provider to determine whether there is an underlying cause for your heavy periods. When the underlying cause is established, the doctor will treat it, ensuring that you get to enjoy hassle free menstrual periods. For women looking for way on how to make period lighter, they should consider the following:
1. Avoid processed foods, sugar, and white flour
Processed foods have been seen to exacerbate the PMS symptoms, and therefore end-up making your periods very painful and difficult. Even though it has not been proven that avoiding carbs and sugar can actually assist in shortening the duration of your foods, it has been seen that it can assist in reducing cramps and bloating.
Additionally, many women have reported experiencing lighter periods, after paying increased attention to their diets. Potato chips and ice cream could be what you are craving when your period comes around, but choosing to avoid them can make a ton of a difference. Note that;
- Crackers, pasta, cookies, white bread, pretzels, cookies, sugary confections and other pastries are in the list of items that you should avoid. You need to swap them out for natural sweeteners like honey and fruits.
- Managing to avoid some and all these foods for the entire month will be your best bet to ensuring that you are able to manage your period.
But if you feel that you cannot stay without consuming a few scoops of chocolate ice cream during your menses, you will still have the option of eating healthy in the few weeks preceding your periods.
2. Try a Mediterranean style diet
Some women have established that basing their daily diets on whole grains, lean meat and fish, fruits and vegetables have had a big effect on the nature of their monthly periods. A Mediterranean diet tends to be low in processed carbs, saturated fats, and sodium. All these have been known to assist the body in retaining water, eventually leading to bloating. As such, eating in this manner will help with your PMS related issues. You should ensure that you mostly eat:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil
- Beans and other legumes
- Whole grains e.g. farrow and quinoa
3. Eat foods rich in potassium
Having low potassium levels in the body can contribute to irregular and heavy menstrual periods. Additionally, the woman could also experience additional symptoms such as painful cramping. For the entire duration of your cycle, more so, the weeks preceding your cycle (three weeks), you should only consume foods that are packed with potassium, as they will assist in regulating your monthly flow. They include:
- Lentils, yogurt, raisings, bananas, sweet potatoes, salmon all tend to be high in potassium
- Keep in mind that boiling certain foods can deplete their potassium levels. You should, therefore, consider baking or steaming the potassium rich foods, if you are to get all the benefits that they have to offer. If possible, you can also consider eating them raw.
- Alternatively, consider trying out a dietary supplement
4. Increase essential nutrients
Everyday foods that are rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, essential fatty acids, and vitamins B and C are considered beneficial for your menstrual health. In fact, you should turn your focus towards strengthening the walls of your blood vessels. For this, you will need flavonoids, iron, and vitamin C. The iron is vital for assisting in the restoration of the iron that was lost as a result of excessive blood loss.
5. Exercise on a regular basis
It has been seen that taking part in regular, moderate exercise activities can assist in ensuring that your periods remain regular, as well as in ensuring that they become light. Apparently, regular exercises are essential in keeping your weight steady and making sure that your body remains healthy. With regular exercises, you will be less likely to experience body fat fluctuations, which can lead to periods that are heavy and irregular.
- Some women have reported that taking part in light exercises e.g. power walking, swimming, and jogging, help ensure that their periods are lighter and shorter. As such, aim to ensure for about thirty minutes each day.
- Intense exercises e.g. the one you get when training for sporting events or marathons can make your periods to come to a stop altogether. Such exercises make your estrogen levels to drop, and given that you are losing too much fat, your body will not be able to sustain a pregnancy.
How to make your period lighter fast, naturally
When the time comes to get your period, do you find yourself using a giant pad or tampon, just in case? Do you end up skipping your normal activities due to the worry that you may not find a bathroom close by? If this is the case, it means that your menstrual flow is likely heavier than it normally should be.
Periods that are abnormally heavy, are in most cases more common than many women know—they occur in about fifty percent of all women who are in their forties and early fifties.
According to Dr. Kelly Hodges, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, your everyday life should never be disrupted by your monthly period. If this is happening to you, you should bring it to the attention of your physician. Here’s how to make your period lighter naturally.
1. Vitamin C to make your period flow lighter
Even though vitamin C has been used in some circles as a remedy for heavy menstrual bleeding, it is still unclear on how it ties to menstrual health. “One study showed that intake of 200mg of vitamin C thrice a day lessened bleeding in 87 percent of the women tested.” [Source – Medlicker]
Many women get adequate vitamin C from some of the foods that they consume, and therefore, do not require any kind of supplementation. But, there are situations when your doctor may recommend that you take some supplement. The best effective remedy is to allow your doctor to determine the underlying cause for the heavy bleeding.
At times, heavy period bleeding can lead to the development of a condition known as iron deficiency anemia. When a woman does not have enough iron in her blood, it leads to a reduction in the total number of red blood cells that are present. In return, this affects the oxygen levels present in the blood, which can lead to reduced cell functions.
Even though it is recommended that you see a physician as a way of diagnosing and treating the condition, it is possible to correct the problem by taking iron based supplements. Consuming iron in conjunction with vitamin C will assist in increasing the absorption of iron.
Ensure you consult your doctor before you start taking vitamin C supplements, more so if you are dealing with liver or kidney disease. It is not necessary to take large doses of vitamin C, as the extraneous amount will exit your body through your urine.
You should also be on the lookout for side effects that could potentially be harmful e.g.
- Severe diarrhea
- Severe side or back pain
- Painful or bloody urination
Note: vitamin C is capable of interfering with effectiveness of certain medications such as blood thinners and hormonal birth control. Therefore, consult your practitioner before addition any extra vitamin C to your normal vitamin regimen.
2. Drinking water
Some women have recently stated that drinking plenty of water has assisted with their period related problems. Does drinking water make your period lighter? Even though it depends on the type of body that you have, taking in lots of water can actually assist in lightening your period.
And, even if it may not achieve the desired result, drinking a lot of water is still vital for your health, so drink up!
3. Take a bath
Does taking a bath make your period lighter? Taking a cold shower has as a matter of fact proven to assist women make their periods lighter. If a cold shower is not for you, consider taking a cold compress and placing it in the area between your lower abdomen and the pelvis region. You can prepare the cold compress by wrapping some ice cubes in a clean piece of cloth
Does birth control make periods lighter?
According to Mayo Clinic, taking an oral contraceptive can assist in alleviating the symptoms associated with heavy bleeding, particularly if the bleeding has been caused by a hormonal imbalance. You should consult your doctor about going on the pill first.
The birth control pills normally contain estrogen and progesterone—two of the hormones that are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, as well as determining how heavy each period will be in a month. Many women taking birth control pills have ended up experiencing shorter, and lighter periods. In case your period happens to be particularly heavy, and you are looking to lighten the heavy bleeding using medication, consider this option.
- You should consult your physician about getting a prescription for the birth control pills. Remember that all women have different bodies, and there are many different pills that have been designed to cater for varying needs. Consulting a physician will ensure that you get the right prescription.
- Follow the instructions provided when being issued the pills. You have to ensure that you take the pill each day, at the same time, as this will guarantee that you will get the benefits that come with using this pill.
Consider additional hormonal birth control options
The birth control pill is not the only kind of birth control method that can be used by women looking for ways on how to make your period lighter. For women who are not comfortable taking a pill each day, they should consider the following options, which offer the same benefits as the pill.
- Birth control patch—it is placed in the thigh, back, or on the arm. Once in place, it will distribute the same hormones as the pill. The only difference being that these hormones will be absorbed via your skin. You have to make sure that this patch is changed after every few weeks.
- Birth control ring—it is a small ring, which is inserted into your vagina, and one which must be changed after every few months. Once in place, it will release hormones into your bloodstream.
- IUD (hormonal intrauterine device)—a small device that is implanted by a health care provider into your uterus. The device releases the hormones into the uterus, and it can work for up to twelve years. IUD’s have been known to make some women miss their periods or get lighter periods, while for others, their periods become irregular.
Other tips for lighter menses
1. Understand the normal causes of heavy periods
There are certain stages in life, which can make your periods to become heavier. But, there are cases where heavy periods are caused by genetic factors. Additionally, changes happening in your body or in your normal lifestyle can also be the cause of the heavy periods. Ensure you check the following factors, as they could be the reason why you are getting heavy periods:
- If you are a young woman going through your puberty stage, there is a likelihood that your periods will be heavy, as the hormone levels in your body begin making adjustments. An existing imbalance between progesterone and estrogen may be the cause of the heavy periods
- In case you have recently stopped taking the pill, you could experience heavier periods, as the pill often makes your period to be lighter
- If you get an IUD for the first time, you could experience a heavy period flow in the initial months. Your body will initially treat the IUD as a foreign object resulting in the heavy menstrual flow.
2. Speak with your doctor if the period is too heavy
There are cases where a heavy period is used to indicate that you are dealing with an underlying medical condition, that is of a serious nature. There is a certain amount of blood loss, which is considered to be normal, but, in some cases, you can lose too much blood, and this may make you weak and anemic.
You should see your doctor if:
- The period lasts for more than seven days
- You are passing large period blood clots
- You soak your pad or tampon within an hour
- Feel weak
- Have a shortness of breath
When visiting your physician, you will need to write a description of your normal period, and the kind of symptoms that you experience when you are having your period.
- Karen Cicero. (2015, Feb 25): 5 Solutions for Miserably Heavy Periods: http://www.prevention.com/health/solutions-heavy-periods
- Sarah Barnes. (2015, Jan 28): http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/How-to-Make-Your-Period-Lighter.html
- Vladlena Lee. (2016): http://www.justmommies.com/family-life/family-health/heavy-period-how-to-make-your-period-lighter
- Carina Wolff. (2016, May 10):http://home-cure.net/best-home-remedies-to-stop-heavy-periods-menstrual-bleeding/
- NHS Choices: Heavy periods