I am asked routinely how to help decrease vaginal bleeding.
Every woman bleeds a different amount. It is only concerning when it becomes a social problem or when the amount changes significantly.
When a teen starts to have a period, it’s usually irregular (and anovulatory—no egg coming out of the ovary) for 1 to 2 years. Through the childbearing years, a menstrual period will remain consistent in duration and flow in each individual woman.
There are a few options to decrease amount of menstrual blood loss.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications decrease the amount of blood loss by 20 to 50%. Naproxen is the most well-studied medication; it is over the counter. This medication should be taken at the beginning of the period through the heavy days and then stopped. Beware that it may cause irritation of the stomach.
Birth control pills have the benefit of contraception and also regulating a menstrual period. The “Pill” when taken daily at the same time of day will
- decrease the amount of bleeding,
- start the menstrual cycle “like clockwork”, and
- decrease the pain, cramping, and PMS.
The low dose “Pill” of today does not increase the risk of breast or endometrial or ovarian cancer. Women can stay on the Pill until they want to conceive or through the perimenopausal period. The pill is dangerous for those with history of blood clots or smoking AND being over 35.
The Mirena intrauterine device is another method. It is a small “T” shaped device that sits inside the uterus and emits progesterone daily. It can stay in for 5 years and has 99.5% contraceptive effectiveness. It is an easy in-office procedure that takes 15 -30 minutes. The patients with the Mirena make less endometrium, so there is less to shed each month. More than 85% of women bleed less than without the Mirena and many have NO menstrual periods after one year. (Tempting isn’t it?)
I hope this helps.