Periods can be difficult to manage at the best of times, but if you’re like 14% of menstruating women with a heavy flow, ‘that time of the month’ can take a toll on your confidence and quality of life. While most women lose around 80 ml (6 to 8 regular tampons) of menstrual blood each month, women with heavy periods may lose more blood, pass clots and bleed for 7 days or more.
Just as every woman is different, every cycle is different, too – heavy periods can be caused by anything from the presence of an IUD (intrauterine device), to conditions like endometriosis, certain medications or a woman’s natural rhythm. It’s always prudent to visit your GP if you’re experiencing heavy periods, but there is plenty you can do to manage your symptoms and go about your daily routine in the meantime.
Dress the part
‘Leak anxiety’ is common amongst women with heavy periods, especially if you’re soaking through a pad or tampon every few hours. Give yourself a safety blanket and wear dark clothes on your heaviest days – loose-fitting maxi skirts, culottes or flowy dresses can help camouflage leaks should they happen. You might also wish to pack a backup bag with an extra pair of pants, a change of clothes, and of course, plenty of period products.
Shop &SISTERS heavy period products here.
Have you ever felt a bit ‘off’ during your period? Blood loss during a heavy period can lead to low levels of iron, causing symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness or headache to flare up – but eating iron-rich foods, taking supplements and drinking plenty of water can help relieve discomfort and boost energy.
Replenishing iron during a period is especially important if you have a heavy flow. Try eating iron-rich foods such as dark greens (think kale, broccoli and spinach), beans, nuts and for our non-veggie friends, red meat.
Vitamin C and Zinc
Both vitamin C and zinc help your body to better absorb iron – consuming these nutrients alongside iron-rich foods or an iron supplement will help your body unleash iron’s natural power. For a vitamin C hit, reach for citrus, tropical fruits or cruciferous vegetables; for a dose of zinc, try eating eggs, shellfish, nuts and seeds. Now that autumn is officially upon us, try roasting some pumpkin seeds for an autumnal zinc hit.
Fluid loss and hormonal changes during our periods often leads to dehydration, which can exacerbate unpleasant period symptoms. When you’re menstruating, remember to keep hydrated – carry a reusable bottle with you at all times and chow down on hydrating foods such as melon, tomato and cucumber.
Rethink your period care
Is your ‘regular’ tampon failing to do the job? Are you soaking through a pad every hour? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your period care – while heavy tampons and pads can suit some women, period cups are a time, money and worry-saving option for those with a heavy flow. Rather than absorbing menstrual fluid, period cups are inserted into the vagina, where they’ll collect menstrual fluid for up to 12 hours. The &SISTERS nüdie period cup holds up to three times the fluid of a tampon, with even the smallest size holding three times what our very light tampon can absorb.
In addition to being well-suited to those with a heavy flow, the nüdie is reusable for up to 10 years, making it a more eco-friendly option for women who worry about waste. Pair it with our liners or pads for added protection – they’re made from biodegradable, compostable 100% organic cotton, keeping you clean and dry from day to night.
Shop &SISTERS nüdie cup here.