Bloody good hacks for lighter periods
You know those period trackers with that one option for logging the “extra-bloody” days? They call it “heavy”, “strong”, or, well, the creatively amusing “crime scene”. If you know, you know! Those days can be a real drag, even if you experience no other period symptoms. But fear not, we're here to unravel the mysteries of those superflow days. Let's get up close and personal with heavy periods—how heavy is too heavy, what's behind the powerful flow, and most importantly, how to make the switch to lighter, happier periods. Time to conquer those menstrual mountains, one flow at a time!
While periods are an essential part of life for many of us, there are still many menstrual misconceptions around. So, let's clear up what's considered “heavy” when it comes to periods.
Most menstrual cycles last around 24 to 35 days. During this time, it's typical to bleed for three to seven days, with a total blood volume ranging from 30 to 80ml (~ 1 to 2.7oz). That's the usual answer you'll get when you google this. But there's no need to whip out a measuring cup - here are some helpful hints:
Light pads/tampons: 3ml (~0.1oz)
Medium pads/tampons: 4ml (~0.13oz)
Heavy pads/tampons: 8ml (~0.27oz)
Super pads/tampons: 12ml (~0.4oz)
Most menstrual cups: 30ml (~1oz)
Most period underwear: usually tells you the volume it'll hold expressed in number of tampons
Now, here's the deal - both, excessively light (less than 25ml/0.8oz) and excessively heavy (more than 85ml/2.8oz) periods can be a problem or a sign of an underlying condition, but we usually only focus on heavy bleeding because it's considered more of an inconvenience. In either case, some variance in your blood flow from cycle to cycle is common and normal. There usually isn't any cause for concern, unless you experience a sudden change from one cycle to another or over the course of just a few cycles.
Similar to the conversation around period cramps (pain, while unfortunately very common, should never be normalized!), excessive bleeding and sudden changes in flow should never be swept under the rug. Because there are some not-so-fun conditions that might be causing your heavier-than-usual flow, let's take a closer look:
Imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels might throw your uterus off. Specifically, an overproduction of estrogen relative to progesterone is more likely to create heavier blood flow.
While they're usually benign, uterine fibroids can wreak havoc on your period's intensity
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS can be quite the party pooper, causing hormonal imbalances that lead to irregular periods and sometimes heavy bleeding.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue lining your uterus decides to set up camp in other areas of your body, leading to severe pain and very heavy periods.
Adenomyosis causes the walls of your uterus to become thicker than what is considered normal. It's a condition that can contribute to heavy and painful periods.
The thyroid, that tiny butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, has a lot of say in your period's performance. If it decides to act up, it might cause heavier or irregular flows.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is an infection that can wreak havoc on your reproductive organs and result in heavy periods.
Now that we've uncovered the possible culprits behind heavy periods, it's crucial to know when to call for backup. Your body has a unique way of telling you when something's amiss, so pay close attention and seek medical advice if:
You're going through pads faster than a kid at a waterpark.
You're passing large clots (think grape-sized or bigger).
Heavy periods are leaving you feeling weak and tired.
Your once-predictable period starts turning into a wild, unpredictable beast.
You experience severe pain during your period.
You're experiencing bleeding between periods or after menopause.
Remember, it's better to be safe than sorry, so don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your period. And don't forget to bring your cycle tracking records for “proof”. As sad as it makes us that we still have to mention this in 2023, getting a diagnosis as an AFAB or menstruating person can be extremely difficult.
Now that we've established the basics, it's time to arm ourselves with some bloody good hacks to make your periods a breeze. Say hello to lighter flows and goodbye to period woes!
You know what they say - let food be thy medicine! Nourishing your body with the right foods can make all the difference in your menstrual health. So, let's stock up our pantries with cycle-loving goodies.
Foods to support hormonal balance
A well-balanced diet filled with whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins can work wonders for hormonal harmony. Omega-3-rich foods like flaxseeds and fatty fish, such as salmon, can be your cycle's best friends. Remember: real food before processed goods.
Anti-inflammatory diet tips
Inflammation isn't exactly the life of the party. Reducing inflammatory foods like processed sugars, unhealthy fats, and even caffeine can help calm your period's fiery tempest.
Importance of iron and vitamin C
With bleeding comes the loss of iron. Some studies suggest that this already occurs at around 60ml of blood loss per period. Make sure to keep your iron levels up with leafy greens, beans, and fortified cereals. Oh, and don't forget to invite some vitamin C to the party, as it enhances iron absorption.
Hydration for period health
Hydration is essential for every aspect of life, and your period is no exception. Sip on that water like you're enjoying a day at the spa — your body will thank you.
Cycle Syncing® is everywhere right now, and for good reason. We built the Baba Yaga cycle coaching app specifically for that. Your body goes through different phases during your menstrual and ovulatory journey, and tailoring your exercise routine accordingly can do wonders for your overall well-being.
The follicular phase (first half of your cycle)
As you kickstart your cycle, your body is gearing up for a physical and energetic creation journey. It's time to channel your energy into more vigorous exercises like cardio and strength training. Get those endorphins flowing!
The fertile days (around ovulation)
Hey there, fertility peak! This is the perfect time to embrace activities that make you feel graceful - think yoga or dance. These exercises can help alleviate premenstrual symptoms and keep those good vibes flowing.
The luteal phase (second half of your cycle)
Ah, the premenstrual phase - time to find solace in calming exercises like tai chi or gentle stretching. Shaking the stress away can also be a helpful “exercise” during these darker days to help soothe those pre-period blues.
Time to turn to Mother Nature for some herbal wisdom. Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to support menstrual health. Let's explore some of our favorite menstrual allies.
Herbal teas and infusions
Sip on chamomile, ginger, ginseng, and raspberry leaf teas like you're having a tea party with your body. These herbs can help ease cramps, support overall menstrual well-being, easy inflammation, and even help build blood.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, has a treasure trove of wisdom for menstrual health. Herbs like ashwagandha and shatavari can be your allies during your cycle.
Traditional Chinese Medicine remedies
In the realm of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbs like dong quai and dang gui are renowned for their role in supporting menstrual health.
Stress - our modern-day dragon. Chronic stress can throw our entire system out of tune, leading to heavy periods and a host of other not-so-fun issues.
Mindfulness and meditation
No matter how skeptical you might be, step into the calming oasis of mindfulness and meditation. Taking a few moments each day to breathe, center yourself, and check in with your body's needs will do wonders in the long run.
Breathwork for relaxation
Deep breaths, my friend, deep breaths. Pranayama techniques, like alternate nostril breathing, can soothe your nervous system and give stress the boot. If nothing else, a few deep breaths will help slow you down from the busy hustle-culture of every-day life.
Creating a calming environment
Your surroundings play a significant role in your well-being. Create a tranquil space with soothing colors, calming scents, and comfy blankets to help ease your mind, especially during your period.
Now that we've armed you with our arsenal of bloody good hacks for lighter periods, it's time to unveil the hero of our story - living in sync with your cycle.
The Baba Yaga is like having a personal cycle coach in your pocket, guiding you through the ebbs and flows of your menstrual journey. This app is no ordinary sidekick - it's a virtual hub of wisdom, support, and cycle-specific content tailored to your needs.
Embrace the summer revolution & take control of your health with Baba Yaga Cycle Coach:
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Intuitive Fertility & Mood Tracking
Say goodbye to surprises and hello to empowered choices. Our app's intuitive fertility tracking features help you understand your fertile window, enabling you to plan or prevent pregnancy with confidence. Additionally, track your mood patterns throughout the month, empowering you to prioritize self-care and optimize your well-being during the summer season.
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Unleash the power of data-driven knowledge about your body. Our app provides personalized health insights and analysis, helping you understand patterns, identify potential issues, and make informed decisions about your overall well-being. Join the summer revolution of health education and take back control over your body and health.
Heavy periods can feel like the bane of our existence - especially in this summer heat! But they don't have to be! Once we understand the biology behind what happens when we bleed, and once we start to track our own body's signals, we become truly empowered. We're better able to support ourselves, talk to our medical professionals, and get the help we need!
Embrace the magic of being in sync with your cycle, and let the Baba Yaga be your trusty guide on this menstrual adventure. Lighter periods, harmonized living, and a healthier cycle await you.
Always remember - you are powerful, you are beautiful, and you are in control of your menstrual destiny. Let's rewrite the narrative of menstrual health, one cycle at a time! Cheers to lighter periods and living life in sync with your body's magnificent rhythms.