Can I reduce my heavy period?

Maybe you carry around extra underwear and clothes in your bag. Maybe you strategically plan out all vacations so they don’t fall around that time of the month. Maybe you don’t leave the house because it’s too much of a hassle. Maybe you’re even too tired to get out of bed.

Maybe heavy periods are controlling your life.
Strike that. Heavy periods ARE controlling your life. And you’ve had enough.

The logical next step is…

If you’re suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding (also called abnormal uterine bleeding), the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. Clearly that’s the responsible thing. If you don’t have a preferred doctor, use our Physician Finder to help locate a trusted professional near you. Once your visit is scheduled, be sure to take our period symptom quiz to better understand your symptoms and to receive a discussion guide to help facilitate the conversation at your visit.

While your doctor will be your greatest resource in your journey to find relief from your heavy period, chances are, you’re also spending hours on your phone or laptop looking up your symptoms and searching for ways to slow your flow.

It’s OK. We all jump online for a quick answer. But with so much information out there, it can be hard to know what’s most likely to help…and what’s not. So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction when it comes to ways to reduce your period.

Established medications

The following treatments are commonly used to help reduce menstrual bleeding in the ways listed below. Still, that doesn’t mean that they’re right for you. Only your doctor can give you medical advice, so please be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any of these medications.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
    NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, can help reduce pain, menstrual cramps, and the amount of bleeding.1,2 (But be careful, because in some women, NSAIDs can increase the risk of bleeding.1)
  • Oral contraceptives.
    Aside from providing birth control, oral contraceptives can help make periods more regular and reduce the amount of bleeding.1,2
  • Hormone therapy.
    Drugs that contain estrogen and/or progesterone can be taken to reduce the amount of bleeding.1,2
  • Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs).
    Some IUDs release a type of progestin called levonorgestrel, which makes the uterine lining thin and decreases menstrual blood flow and cramping.2
  • Tranexamic acid.
    This prescription medication that treats heavy menstrual bleeding comes in a tablet and is taken each month at the start of the menstrual period.3

Surgical procedures

If medications aren’t providing the relief you need, your doctor may recommend one of the following procedures to reduce menstrual bleeding.

  • Tissue removal. There are different options for removing uterine tissue. Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure in which the top layer of the uterus lining is removed to reduce menstrual bleeding.1 Hysteroscopy is a similar procedure, but it uses a special tool that lets the doctor view the inside of the uterus. The doctor may remove polyps and fibroids, correct abnormalities of the uterus, and remove the lining of the uterus to help reduce heavy menstrual flow.1
  • Endometrial ablation. This is a procedure in which all or part of the lining of the uterus is removed to control menstrual bleeding.1 While this will stop some women’s periods altogether, other women may continue to have periods but with less bleeding.1 Because pregnancy following endometrial ablation is still possible and dangerous, it is important to talk to your doctor about birth control or permanent sterilization following this procedure.2
  • Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation (Lap-RFA). If your doctor determines that fibroids are causing your heavy periods, Lap-RFA may be recommended. Lap-RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that works by delivering heat (radiofrequency) directly into a fibroid causing it to shrink over time.4 It is not recommended for women who are planning future pregnancies.
  • Hysterectomy. This major operation requires hospitalization and involves surgically removing your entire uterus.1 After having this procedure, you can no longer become pregnant and you’ll stop having your period.1,3

Anecdotal remedies

When you’re searching online for heavy period remedies, you’ll find mentions of foods, herbs, and supplements that some people say help reduce bleeding. Natural remedies can be wonderful—if they’re actually effective. And that’s the problem.

Social media users swear that lemon juice can delay or stop your period. But there are no studies to support this claim, nor is there substantial evidence that lemon juice can affect how hormones trigger your uterus to shed your endometrial lining.5

Folic acid also supposedly helps heavy menstrual bleeding. However, that idea may be based on a misunderstanding. Some women with heavy periods may experience anemia related to iron deficiency, as heavy bleeding can deplete your body’s supply of iron.6 Folic acid doesn’t help anemia related to iron deficiency; it helps anemia related to vitamin deficiency.6 So, it won’t help provide relief from heavy periods.6

Lime juice, coffee, raspberry tea leaf, vitamin C, apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses…the list of potential home remedies goes on and on. However, it’s important to note that many of these are said to reduce symptoms such as cramping and discomfort related to your period. Not only are we lacking clinical studies to support these claims, but there is also no evidence that they actually reduce menstrual flow.

Don’t take chances—talk to your doctor

A quick fix cure you can find at the grocery store sounds appealing…but it could also have unexpected side effects. Plus, time spent on remedies discovered online or on social media is time that could have been spent talking to your doctor and starting on the path to the best solution for you.

Get started now!
Take a quiz about your symptoms and share the results with your doctor.
It could be the first step to finally finding relief from your heavy periods.