Coping with heavy periods in everyday life

Photo of a woman doing yoga
PantherMedia / javiindy

Heavy periods can be a big problem. But there are various ways to cope with them better in everyday life.

Many women with heavy periods feel weak and tired during and shortly after they have their period. Feeling very tired can make it difficult for them to cope with the demands of everyday life – at home or at work. Even activities and hobbies that are usually enjoyable can then become a burden. Having to change sanitary pads or tampons at night can also disrupt your sleep. And heavy periods may also be accompanied by abdominal pain.

But the physical problems caused by the blood loss aren't the only thing that women often find difficult to cope with: Heavy periods can be embarrassing, bothersome (also during sex) and sometimes worrying. Some women feel like blood is just “gushing" out of them, or they might find the sensation very unpleasant.

Some women are afraid to leave home on particularly heavy days. Many might do less sports, avoid going on trips or cancel plans with friends. Others stick to their usual activities. But most women mainly try to avoid situations that they would find embarrassing.

What can I do myself?

If heavy periods become a major problem, you can try taking things a little easier on those days. Some women find that relaxation techniques or yoga help them feel more relaxed and reduce stress. Getting a lot of exercise can also help.

Women with heavy periods are often advised to change their diet: For instance, certain fatty acids, vitamins or fibers are claimed to help. But making changes to your diet hasn’t been proven to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding or the related problems. This is also true for sports, herbal products and .

Foods that are rich in iron can help to prevent anemia. Examples include meat, legumes (such as beans and lentils), green leafy vegetables and wholegrain bread.

Tips for everyday life

Many women make sure that there is a toilet nearby when they go out in case they need to change a tampon or pad quickly. Using pads as well as tampons or menstrual cups on very heavy days is another option. Always keeping spare sanitary products at work or in your handbag can also help you feel more at ease in case you forget to take them with you.

Wearing dark trousers or skirts can help if you're worried about getting bloodstains on your clothing. Women who are worried about blood soaking through to their sheets or mattress at night often use an extra layer on their bed, like a waterproof sheet or simply a towel.

Help from others

Sometimes partners, friends, relatives, coworkers and even doctors don't take period-related problems seriously. But women shouldn't have to put up with distressing problems and blood loss because they're considered to be "natural" and normal. So it's all the more important for you and others to recognize that it's a problem and find out what you can do about it. Although menstruation is a part of every woman's life, if your periods are so heavy that they are affecting your wellbeing, there are a number of things that can provide relief and help you cope better. These include hormone treatments, painkillers, medication to reduce bleeding and surgery on the womb.

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Please note that we do not provide individual advice on matters of health. You can read about where to find help and support in Germany in our information “How can I find self-help groups and information centers?

Updated on June 17, 2021
Next planned update: 2024

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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