Q& A

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - ADVICE -

IF men­stru­a­tion is heavy or pro­longed there is a risk of iron de­fi­ciency and anaemia. This can have knock on ef­fects for your health and well­be­ing, so it should be ad­dressed. Pe­ri­ods of­ten change af­ter child­birth, but it doesn’t mean you have to tol­er­ate this as the sta­tus quo.

Clot­ting prob­lems are a rare cause of heavy men­strual pe­ri­ods. This is more likely if other bleed­ing is­sues are ap­par­ent such as fre­quent nose­bleeds, bleed­ing gums or easy bruis­ing. Clot­ting dis­or­ders can also run in fam­i­lies. Other causes could be, un­der ac­tive thy­roid or poly­cys­tic ovar­ian syn­drome. How­ever, these can all be out ruled via sim­ple blood tests per­formed by your GP.

A pelvic ex­am­i­na­tion and ul­tra­sound can help rule out ab­nor­mal­i­ties of the womb or ovaries. En­sure your smears are up-to-date. A re­duced blood count war­rants treat­ment with iron sup­ple­ments.

For those who want to avoid hor­monal con­tra­cep­tion, med­i­ca­tion such as mefe­namic acid (an anti-in­flam­ma­tory), com­bined with tranex­amic acid may help. This should be taken reg­u­larly three times daily for the ex­pected heavy days. This com­bi­na­tion helps re­duce men­strual flow and can im­prove symp­toms.

If this doesn’t work the con­tra­cep­tive pill can be used. I know this isn’t your pre­ferred choice, but this can quite dra­mat­i­cally re­duce men­strual flow and will help reg­u­late men­strual bleed­ing. Those over the age of 35, smok­ers, women who have high blood pres­sure or high car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk may not be pre­scribed the com­bined con­tra­cep­tive pill, patch or vagi­nal ring.

If oe­stro­gen isn’t an op­tion then maybe con­sider a method, which uses pro­ges­terone only. Op­tions here in­clude a pro­ges­terone only

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