Updated: Jan 7
Heavy periods, aka "menorrhagia," is defined as bleeding more than 80 mL in a full period (from start to finish).
But it's a little hard for most women to quantify how much blood they're losing in a cycle if you're using a pad or tampon. We can guesstimate but there's so much variability unless you're using something like a disc or menstrual cup that gives you exact measurements of volume.
So how do you know if you qualify as a "heavy bleeder?" If you:
Are changing your products every hour or more for several hours in a row
Waking up in the middle of the night to change a pad/tampon
Doubling up on products to prevent leaking
Noticing clots that are larger than a quarter in diameter
Bleeding for more than 7 days at a time
Any of these can indicate that you experience menorrhagia.
Why does this happen?
Heavy bleeding can occur from a few different factors (thyroid disorders, irregular ovulation, autoimmune disorders) though estrogen plays a big role when no other diagnoses are in play.
Estrogen is a "builder" hormone. It helps to build your uterine lining and prepare it for conception during your follicular phase of your menstrual cycle.
When we have too much estrogen, it can lead to building up too thick of a lining that you then have to shed at the end of your cycle which can cause... heavy bleeding.
Thicker endometrium = heavier bleeding
What causes elevated estrogen levels?
Again, several factors here:
Fat cells produce estrogen
Our environment has chemical compounds called "xenoestrogens" that can cause very strong estrogenic effects in your body that can raise your overall estrogen levels
The ratio of your progesterone to estrogen in your luteal phase can also make it seem like you have high levels of estrogen
These are just a few things to consider!
What can you do to lower estrogen levels?
First of all, removing is going to be the most helpful thing. Instead of adding in supplements and herbs to help with getting rid of the estrogen, if we can lower the amount we have in the first place, that's always going to be the most helpful!
Regular exercise and movement: 30 minutes/day
Reducing the amount of xenoestrogens in your daily environment (plastics, fragrances, phthalates, sulfates, etc). Check your products here, shoot for a score of 3 or less!
Increasing fiber intake to help with gut elimination of estrogen (about 30g of fiber daily from FOOD, not supplements)
Increasing water intake to help with kidney elimination (minimum of 100 oz/day. More if you exercise or live in hotter/drier climates!
If you have heavy periods and you want to address this integratively, or without birth control, I got you covered! This online course has all the tools you'll need to understand your body, periods, and how to address your heavy bleeding.
If you want more individualized help, I got you there as well! Schedule a free 15 minute discovery call and we can chat more about how we'd be able to work together to address your hormonal concerns.