Let's get real here. Periods suck, well certainly true for most of us! But what sucks even more? Heavy periods. Dealing with heavy periods requires a whole bag of tips and tricks and a lot of preparation.
What is a heavy period?
The medical term for heavy periods is Menorrhagia and is defined by the loss of 80ml+ of blood each cycle. But who has the time and energy to measure that?! If you are having to change your towels or tampons during the night, or you’re regularly soaking through high absorbency sanitary products, the chances are you are part of the heavy-period gang. Welcome. Oh and clotting is also common here…Clotting? Basically a wobbly lump of partially congealed blood…. Just keeping it real people!
If you are experiencing heavier than normal periods, make sure you discuss it with your GP, and if they show no interest, maybe ask to speak with a different GP. You can also find some useful information on the NHS website about diagnosis and treatment.
Top Ten Heavy Period Hacks
So to help you cope with your not-so-welcome monthly visitor, we have listed our top 10 life hacks for dealing with heavy periods.
1. Hot water bottles
I want to hug whoever invented the hot water bottle! Not only are they THE most comforting thing to hug when you are falling asleep, but the heat also stimulates blood flow and lessens painful cramps. Emergency alternative? Fill a sock with uncooked rice, tie at one end and microwave.
2. Scrub up on your cleaning hacks
Don’t let your period cramp your style (excuse the pun). Leaking and therefore staining your clothes is a common issue for those of us who have heavy periods. If you find you’ve leaked, you can get the stain out in a host of different ways including running fresh blood under cold water before it sets, rubbing salt onto the stain, using baking soda, lemon juice or even Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer! Monica Geller would be proud of you. Also, maybe leave those white jeans in the cupboard till next week?
3. Wear period panties
Another genius invention. If you are struggling to deal with your heavy periods, but can’t face wearing mattress-sized pads, period underwear could be the trick you’re missing. In your heaviest days they are a great comfort, acting as a back up for your tampon, pad, cup. With their absorbent fabric, they will give you an extra layer of protection without the added bulk. Hello skinny jeans. Hello relaxed sleeping….
I am sure we don’t need to tell you, but menstruating is tiring! With all this hard work our body is doing you’ll probably feel a little more sluggish than normal. If you are lucky, give yourself an extra hour to lie in, or alternatively, snuggle down an extra hour earlier. Spending a little bit longer in bed will help you ward off dreaded period exhaustion.
5. Iron supplements
Around your period, try and incorporate iron-rich foods into your diet such as kale and spinach, or alternatively iron supplements. Heavy blood loss goes hand-in-hand with low iron levels, and by upping your intake you will be warding off excessive tiredness. Yawn. Orange juice aids iron absorption too… so maybe treat yourself to some freshly squeezed during your heavy days…
6. Eat dark chocolate
This one is mainly added to our list because it tastes good and feels good! But did you know that dark chocolate also contains magnesium? Opt for a bar that is at least 65% cacao and you’ll be topping up your magnesium levels, helping to fight off cramps. What more of an excuse do you need?
7. Don’t forget your FabLittleBag
When you are experiencing a heavy period, the chances are you will be changing your tampons and pads frequently, like every 40 mins! When you venture out, pop a few extra FabLittleBags into your purse. As surely all of you know, flushing tampons and pads causes blockages and pollution of our rivers, oceans and beaches, so ditch the flush and be a Binner instead! FabLittleBag makes binning a breeze, opening one handed and sealing closed. Binning is finally easy, and hygienic. Extra plus, point is that they make changing that bathroom bin a pleasure rather than an unwelcomed chore! By disposing of your used sanitary products in our sustainably sourced bags, you will be directly helping to keep the rivers, oceans and beaches free from period product pollution. Using FabLittleBags at home also means you’ll avoid that hefty plumbing bill from flushing an endless supply of tampons down the loo, win win.
8. Stash spare undies
Keeping a spare pair of undies in your bag or your desk draw is a tip your mum has probably told you 100 times. If you take only one piece of her advice, take this one! Keeping some extra comfy undies to hand (yes Bridget Joens was onto something!) they will help you deal with a heavy period when the blood flood cometh.
9. Netflix and chill
Dealing with a heavy period is not just about making yourself feel physically comfortable. With our hormones fluctuating and days of cramping, it is just as important to look after yourself mentally and emotionally too. If you get the chance, chuck on those extra cosy jammies (onesie anyone?!) and line up your favourite movies to marathon. You deserve it.
10. Keep track of your periods
Periods are often unpredictable, not everyone is a 28 day clockwork person! They never turn up on time and then come when you least expect it. SO maybe look into downloading one of the many period apps now available so when it comes to that GP question : “So what day was you’re your last period?” You can whizz out your phone and answer with confidence.
One a final and serious note – please do not suffer in silence, heavy periods and painful periods can also be a sign of Endometriosis, a serious disease which often goes undiagnosed or mis diagnosed for years (it takes 7 year so n average for a diagnosis!!!) If your GP is not responsive, ask/demand to be referred to a specialist, GP after all stands for General Practitioner, they do not know everything about everything !