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Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Scientific Director, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research

Ask Jerilynn |

Heavy Periods After Childbirth

Q: 
I have been experiencing heavy and or flooding periods since my last child was born. It is getting difficult to work the first few days of my period due to extremely heavy bleeding, soaking pads, every 15 minutes. The clots are often as big as the palm of my hand. Is there any product you recommend to wear? I have tried every pad , doubled, tripled, inside Depends, etc. I would appreciate any suggestions.

A: 

The most important thing is getting to the root of the reason for the heavy bleeding. It depends on your age, other experiences and whether you can tell by the way you feel that your period is coming.

It is likely that you have an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. If you live in British Columbia, have your family doctor give me a call and I will give some instructions to her/him about therapies.

The things that help with heavy flow are outlined in an article for clinicians called "Managing Menorrhagia". For a start, I'd suggest that you track your menstrual cycle (use the Menstrual Cycle Diary if you have had no changes, or the Daily Perimenopause Diary if you have hot flushes/night sweats or other changes). It would also be useful to track ovulation using the basal temperature. Again, with the diaries are instructions for taking, recording and analyzing these data.

Briefly, for a start, always take ibuprofen (say one 200 mg pill every 4-6 hours) during flow. That has been shown to decrease flow about 20-30 per cent. In addition, when flowing heavily, make sure to drink lots of liquid, especially salty things to keep your blood volume normal.

And I would get a blood count. Even if it is normal your iron stores are likely low. A serum ferritin level will tell that. If your serum ferritin levels are low take one iron pill a day for a year.

Hope this is helpful.


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