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How Can I Stop A Period That’s Been Going For Too Long?

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Periods that are either too long or too heavy are a common complaint amongst women with PCOS.

If you feel that your are suffering because of loss of blood, either because a period has lasted for a long time (more than 10 days) or the bleeding is excessively heavy, there are a few things that can help to put an end to it and encourage your body to stop bleeding.  If this is unusual for you, you should also seek medical advice to try and find the cause, though heavy and irregular bleeding is common feature of PCOS.

Vitamin C

High doses of Vitamin C may help to stop bleeding.

2 grams immediately, then 1 gram every hour until the stool begins to loosen, then cutting back to 500 mg every hour may help to slow bleeding.

Herbs

The following herbal tea recipe will help to stop bleeding and balance your hormones.

  • 3 tbsp Yarrow
  • 2 tbsp Red Raspberry Leaf
  • 3 tbsp Lady’s Mantle
  • 3 tbsp Shepherds Purse
  • 3 tbsp Crushed Coriander seeds/ Coriander powder.

Add herbs to 2 liters (1 3/4 quarts) of cold water in a covered pyrex saucepan, then gently bring to the boil.

Boil for 1 minute, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Drink half a cup of the tea every hour. Sipping it throughout the hour is best, though you may start off with a whole cup immediately.

If you have a herbalist that sells tinctures nearby you could also have this made up as a tincture. It may be more effective that way though they are unlikely to have the Coriander. You may need to buy coriander seeds or powder separately.

Progesterone

If you have access to Natural Progesterone Cream you can use this to bring an end to a period that has gone on for longer than you feel is healthy or to stop intermittent bleeding that lasts for weeks or months.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)

There are a couple of over the counter NSAIDS which can be used to slow down heavy menstrual bleeding.  Ibuprofen (Nurofen, Brufen, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, Naprogesic).  When taken from the start of a period or just before, and then 3-4 times a day until the period stops, they have been shown to reduce blood loss by between 20-49%.

NSAIDs work by reducing your body’s production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance, high levels of which are linked to heavy periods. NSAIDs are also anti-inflammatories and painkillers.  Ibuprofen causes the blood vessels to constrict, though inhibition of a prostacyclin, produced by cyclooxygenase-2 or COX-2 enzymes, which dilate blood vessels.

Common side effects of NSAIDs include indigestion and diarrhoea, so it’s best not to use them unless you need them.  NSAIDs can be used for an indefinite number of menstrual cycles, as long as they are relieving symptoms of heavy blood loss and are not causing significant adverse side effects.

Progestogens

New research published Feb. 11, 2013 has found that a 150-milligram injection of Depomedroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), known commercially as Depo-Provera, followed up by a medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) 20 milligram pill taken orally every eight hours for three days was successful in stopping acute, excessive uterine bleeding in a study of 48 women.  Within 5 days, 44 of those women had stopped bleeding, with a mean time of 2.6 days to when the bleeding stopped.  

“This is the largest prospective study to date to measure the effectiveness of a proposed hormonal treatment for excessive uterine bleeding,” said Dr. Anita L. Nelson M.D. one of the study authors. ”The women in the study experienced excellent success with this relatively low dose progestogen-only therapy. This therapy also has the potential for offering longer-term protection than prior therapies.”

For women who do not tolerate oestrogen well, or those who have oestrogen dominance, a condition which is common in PCOS, this new treatment option provides many benefits and was reportedly well tolerated. 

Progestogen-only therapies work by inhibiting the development of follicles in the ovaries, which prevents ovulation.  They decrease the pulse frequency of some hormones which govern the female reproductive cycle including gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which is released by the hypothalamus and in turn decreases the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), both of which are produced by the anterior pituitary gland.  Low levels of FSH inhibit the development of the follicle which prevents estradiol (oestrogen) levels increasing, which, in combination with progestogen negative feedback, prevents the LH surge which triggers ovulation.  Progestogen-only therapies also make the cervical mucus inhospitable to sperm, preventing their penetration and cause the endometrium to atrophy, becoming thin.

More Information:

Ammerman SR, & Nelson AL. (2013) A New Progestogen-Only Medical Therapy for Outpatient Management of Acute, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding: A Pilot Study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. PMID: 23395929

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