Heavy periods and abnormal bleeding are difficult for any woman to deal with for obvious reasons - cramping, changing tampons or pads frequently and limiting daily activities - but the worst part is they lead to iron deficiency. One of the causes for iron deficiency and anemia is heavy periods and abnormal bleeding. Previous studies have found that this may impact women's physical performance, cognitive function and mood - overall quality of life. Well now a new study shows that women who struggle with heavy blood flow during menstruation can benefit from taking iron supplements each month.
Menstruation, also known as a female's period, is a natural process that occurs when the body sheds tissue that was produced for pregnancy preparation. Tissue leaves the uterus through the vagina in blood form; some women have heavy periods while others have them very lightly. Heavy blood flow at this time is normal, but may be a symptom of menorrhagia when blood flow is abnormally heavy or prolonged. Heavy menstruation is common in premenopausal women but it may lead to unfavorable conditions. Some of the potential causes for heavy and abnormal bleeding include:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Auto-immune disorders
- Fluctuations in weight or stress
- Pregnancy or miscarriage
When women lose blood, they approximately lose 220 milligrams of iron per pint. Women with especially heavier blood flow, menstruation can cause anemia, a condition that occurs when the body cannot make enough red blood cells. As a result of this, anemia may cause fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, and dizziness.
As per the study published in Acta Obstericia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology, reports that diagnosis and treatment of anemia improve quality of life for women with heavy periods. Researchers found that one year after treatment women in the anemic group had significant increase in energy after being treated with proper dosage of iron supplementation was introduced. More importantly, their red blood cell counts had increased to non-anemic levels. Iron levels for those who were previously deficient were capable of returning to normal blood cell counts after five years of treatment.
It will not hurt to ask your doctor if your iron levels are lower than normal or if you need treatment for heavy blood flow during menstruation. Too much iron is toxic for many who self-diagnose themselves so it is important to speak to your gynecologist or physician before taking supplements. The study shows that the treatment can improve her health and overall well-being, not just during her period but all month long. Make an appointment if you are experiencing abnormal or heavy bleeding and find out if you should start taking iron supplements.