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HealthInfo Canterbury

Treating heavy periods

Heavy periods can be managed in several ways. The right treatment for you will depend on things such as your age, your symptoms, the cause of your heavy periods, whether you are planning to have a baby, and your general health.

Once your doctor or specialist doctor (gynaecologist) has confirmed there's no serious cause for your heavy periods, they may discuss some ways to control the bleeding. You may need to try a few options to find the right solution for you. You may be able to trial more than one option at a time. Your doctor will talk to you about the different options.

Some common and recommended treatment options include those listed below.

Non-hormonal options

Tranexamic acid comes as a tablet and helps to reduce your bleeding by reducing the breakdown of blood clots in your womb (uterus). You start taking the tablets on the first day of your period and keep taking it until your bleeding reduces. You shouldn't take the tablets for more than five days in a row.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen (te reo Māori version) and mefenamic acid help with pain and can also reduce how much you bleed. You can buy ibuprofen over the counter. Other NSAIDs need a prescription. It's important to take NSAIDs with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to check if these tablets are safe for you to take. Make sure you see your GP if you get any indigestion or nausea.

If you have anaemia with low iron levels, you may need iron tablets. These don't treat the heavy bleeding, but they treat the low iron that the heavy bleeding causes.

Hormonal options

Surgical options

Doctors will only consider surgery to treat your heavy periods if the treatments above haven't worked. You should only have surgical treatment if you don't plan to get pregnant in the future.

Surgical options include:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.

See also:

Anaemia

Contraception

Iron

Page reference: 45839

Review key: HIHPE-15976