The sensation of warm blood seeping onto our clothes and the unfortunate furniture presently residing beneath our bottom...  might be a familiar scenario for a lot of us. Sometimes, menstrual leaks occur because of improperly fitted menstrual products, and sometimes it's because our endometrial lining sheds like the Niagara falls.

Apart from being the reason for frequent bathroom visits to check on the situation + a rapidly diminishing stock of ones' period products, heavy periods can be painful and uncomfortable. The most important thing to take into consideration is that heavy menses cause weakness due to excessive blood loss - which can lead to iron deficiency anemia. In this situation, correcting ones diet can help bring health, ease and comfort.

Increasing the consumption of foods rich in iron and vitamin C prevents both iron deficiency anemia and fatigue. Since Vitamin K assists the production of certain clotting factors in the body; intake of foods high in Vitamin K may also prevent excessive menstrual bleeding.

Phytoestrogens are estrogens found in food. Estrogen causes the uterine lining to thicken; the thicker the uterine lining, the heavier the menses. Therefore, decreasing the consumption of phytoestrogen-rich foods can reduce menstrual flow. Here's a list of foods to consume and to avoid if you suffer from heavy and painful periods:

FOODS TO CONSUME FOR HEAVY PERIODS:

Meats

○ Red meat: beef, lamb, mutton; these are a great source of iron, but consume a moderate quantity because they are also high in unsaturated fats.

○ White meat: Salmon, Chicken and Turkey

○ Liver: an awesome source of both iron and vitamin K

The following fruits and vegetables are rich in iron, Vitamin C, and K. Vitamin C is also a phytoestrogen, which means it can stimulate uterine contractions; so intake should be moderate.

Fruit

○ Green: apples, grapes, and pears; these are rich in Vitamin K

○ Kiwis and Oranges

○ Guava: High in Calcium, which also helps decrease menstrual cramps


Vegetables

○ Leafy greens: Spinach, Kale & Arugula

○ Bell peppers

○ Artichokes

○ Green beans

○ Brussel sprouts

○ Broccoli


Others

○ Cinnamon: A study found that cinnamon reduces period pain and menstrual flow

○ Blackstrap Molasses: a by-product of cane sugar, a powerhouse that contains

magnesium, calcium, selenium, and iron; triggers periods, but relieves cramps and PMS.


FOODS TO AVOID FOR HEAVY PERIODS:

Meats

Processed meats: sausages, hamburgers, bacon

These foods are emmenagogues; this means that they increase the blood flow to the pelvic area and induce menstruation. These foods may help bring about periods, but their consumption should be avoided during a heavy flow.

Fruit

○ Papaya: contains the enzyme papain, which acts as an emmenagogue. Carotene in

papaya also stimulates estrogen production.

○ Pomegranate: dietary phytoestrogen, which stimulates the uterine muscle.

○ Pineapple: contains the enzyme bromelain, which softens the uterine lining.

Vegetables

○ Celery

○ Beetroot: Although this vegetable decreases bloating and is rich in iron, calcium, and

folate, it is also an emmenagogue.

Others

○ Parsley: contains apiol and myristicin which can stimulate uterine contractions

○ Cumin, fenugreek seek

○ Tumeric

○ Honey, dates, jaggery

○ Coffee, Alcohol


Avoiding these foods can help manage heavy menstrual flow, and at the same time, avoiding foods high in starch and fats can reduce bloating and cramping.

A heavy flow may be the norm for some women. They may also signal an underlying medical reason; heavy menstrual bleeding can occur because of stress, hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, fibroids, endometrial polyps, and bleeding disorders. If heavy menses are causing fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and headache, then it's time to seek a physician's advice.

REFERENCES

1) Jaafarpour, M., Hatefi, M., Najafi, F., Khajavikhan, J., & Khani, A. (2015). The effect of

cinnamon on menstrual bleeding and systemic symptoms with primary dysmenorrhea.

Iranian Red Crescent medical journal, 17(4), e27032.

https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.17(4)2015.27032

2) Bacciottini, L., Falchetti, A., Pampaloni, B., Bartolini, E., Carossino, A. M., & Brandi, M.

L. (2007). Phytoestrogens: food or drug?. Clinical cases in mineral and bone

metabolism: the official journal of the Italian Society of Osteoporosis, Mineral

Metabolism, and Skeletal Diseases, 4(2), 123–130.

3) Ajmera, P., Kalani, S., & Sharma, L. (2019). Parsley-benefits & side effects on health.

4) Kale, R., Sawate, A., Kshirsagar, R., Patil, B., & Mane, R. (2018). Studies on evaluation

of the physical and chemical composition of beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.). Int J Clin Sci,

6(2), 2977-79.

5) Clifford, T., Howatson, G., West, D. J., & Stevenson, E. J. (2015). The potential benefits

of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients, 7(4), 2801-2822.

6) Monji, F., Adaikan, P. G., Lau, L. C., Said, B. B., Gong, Y., Tan, H. M., & Choolani, M.

(2016). Investigation of uterotonic properties of Ananas comosus extracts. Journal of

ethnopharmacology, 193, 21-29.