Although irregular periods during the menopause transition are completely normal and rarely come with additional discomforts, some women do suffer from heavy, prolonged, or painful menses. As such, proper treatment for irregular periods is necessary to help women pass through this natural life stage with more ease.
Read on to learn about irregular periods treatments, from natural to conventional approaches, to be able to choose one that best suits your reproductive needs.
Three Approaches to Treating Irregular Periods
Women who wish to treat irregular periods can choose from among three approaches: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications and Surgery, starting from the least risky options and only moving to more risky conventional treatments if necessary.
Lifestyle Changes for Irregular Periods
Lifestyle changes are the first approach to treating menstrual irregularities. It generally involves no additional costs and poses no risk, but conversely, it requires the most self-discipline.
Since menstruation is driven by hormones, eating a diet that promotes their balance is key to irregular period treatment. Women should opt for wholesome sources of the three macronutrients, lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, which are rich in the following compounds:
- Phytoestrogens help the body achieve hormonal equilibrium and reduce period irregularities by providing it with plant estrogens.
Soy bean and soy products, beans, alfalfa, chickpeas
- Magnesium, when taken with vitamin B6, has shown to relieve period pain and other symptoms.1
Cacao, spinach, avocado, tofu, almond, sesame
- Calcium has shown to reduce numerous menstrual discomforts, both physical and emotional.2
Almonds, peas, broccoli, Brazil nuts, spinach, dairy
- Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to be beneficial in regulating hormones and menstrual patterns.3
Flax seed, salmon, walnuts, pecans, sacha inchi, leafy green vegetables
Exercising regularly has been shown to regulate menstrual cycles by promoting a balance of thyroid and reproductive hormones.4,5 Therefore, dedicating time for sports is important in treating irregular periods.
Amount: Best routines consist of 30-minute workouts, five times weekly, totaling 150 minutes a week.
Type: Yoga and Pilates are particularly effective in reducing period cramps. So are other types of low- to moderate-level exercises, such as brisk walking or light jogging.
Useful Tips: Women with painful or heavy periods should focus on gentle exercises that relax pelvic muscles, instead of putting too much pressure on the region.
Precautions: Over-exercising can have adverse effects on menstruation and halt them for several cycles. As such, heavy weight lifting and other endurance programs should be avoided.
To complement a nutritious diet and exercise, women can benefit from instilling various healthy practices known to have positive results in treating irregular periods. They might include the following:
Applying heat to the pelvis, like hot water bottles or heating pads, is known to quickly relieve cramps. Taking a long, warm bath can also have similar effects.
Tracking one's period patterns can help women make sense of the changes they experience. It can also help their doctors tailor the most appropriate irregular periods treatment.
Reducing stress in times of period pain can not only bring emotional relief, but also help balance hormones to promote regular cycles. Best stress-relief techniques can include meditation, yoga, or aromatherapy.
Quitting addictions to smoking and alcohol as well as avoiding known triggers like caffeine or sugary drinks can keep period discomforts at bay.
Alternative Medicine for Irregular Periods
Alternative medicine is the second approach to treating irregular periods. It entails little to no risk, and since it treats their root cause, hormonal imbalance, it is a highly effective and safe method of regulating periods and bringing relief.
Two types of supplements useful in irregular periods treatment are: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
Phytoestrogenic Herbal Supplements
Phytoestrogenic supplements, like dong quai, contain plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. As such, they compensate for the hormonal deficiency and relieve the symptoms it brings about, like irregular periods. While phytoestrogenic supplements are a good way to balance estrogen levels, the body can eventually become less capable of producing its own estrogen, resulting in its further decline.
Hormone-regulating supplements, such as Macafem, do not contain hormones. Rather, they nourish the endocrine glands, supporting their own production of hormones and ultimately leading to estrogen and progesterone balance, which is necessary for healthy periods. With virtually no side effects, they are considered the most effective for treating irregular periods and other symptoms of menopause.
From Nature and Health Magazine, Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem's nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands." Click on the following link if you want to learn more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches - namely lifestyle adjustments with hormone-regulating supplements - is the best irregular periods treatment for most women. However, those struggling with severe pain or excessively heavy flow may need to turn to the third treatment approach: medications and surgery.
Medications and Surgery
Interventions at the third level involve the highest risks and often the highest costs. However, they are sometimes necessary for those whose irregular periods cause severe symptoms or are worsened by other medical conditions.
The choice of treatment for irregular periods will depend on the underlying cause and may include the following:
Medications for Irregular Periods
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) used to be the most popular treatment for irregular periods during the menopausal transition. However, because of the potential health risks involved with its use as described by the studies below, HRT should be prescribed with caution.
Birth control pills might be a beneficial irregular period treatment, particularly in regulating menstrual pattern and flow.
Pain relievers, both over-the-counter and prescription, might be needed to help women cope with menstrual pain.
Surgery for Irregular Periods
For extreme menstrual pain and heavy bleeding, surgical interventions might be the most appropriate irregular periods treatment.
Uterine fibroid removal, called myomectomy, is sometimes necessary to relieve irregular periods, depending on the size, location, and number of the fibroids as well as severity of the symptoms.
Endometrial ablation consists of removing blood vessels in the lining of the uterus to reduce heavy bleeding.
Uterus removal, called hysterectomy, is rarely performed for treating irregular periods. It is mostly reserved for extreme case of heavy bleeding or large fibroids.
Because of the potential risks involved with conventional treatments for irregular periods, more and more women are discovering that a combination of lifestyle changes and hormone-regulating herbal supplements is the best and most effective way to regulate their periods and achieve long-lasting relief.
A Safe Treatment for Irregular Periods
Implementing Lifestyle Changes:
- Eating foods rich in phytoestrogens, magnesium, omega-3s, and calcium
- Doing gentle exercises to relax pelvic muscles 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking, excess caffeine, sugary drinks, and over-exercising
- Applying heat to the pelvis, tracking one's periods, and reducing stress
And Taking Herbal Supplements:
- Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements, like dong quai or black cohosh
- Or natural hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem
- Cleveland Clinic. (2015). Abnormal Menstruation (Periods): Management and Treatment. Retrieved January 22, 2019 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14633-abnormal-menstruation-periods/management-and-treatment
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2017). What are the common treatments for menstrual irregularities? Retrieved January 11, 2019 from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menstruation/conditioninfo/treatments
- National Health Service UK. (2018). Irregular periods. Retrieved April 6, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Periods-irregular/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Office on Women's Health. (2018). Period problems. Retrieved January 11, 2019 from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/period-problems
- Office on Women's Health. (2018). Uterine fibroids fact sheet. Retrieved January 11, 2019 from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.html
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. (2010). Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved January 30, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208934/
- Obstetrics & Gynecology Science. (2017). Effect of calcium on premenstrual syndrome: A double-blind randomized clinical trial. Retrieved January 30, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313351/
- Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine. (2013). The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Retrieved January 30, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941370/
- Breast Cancer Research. (2015). Effect of physical activity on sex hormones in women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Retrieved January 30, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635995/
- Sports Medicine. (2008). Exercise and primary dysmenorrhoea: a comprehensive and critical review of the literature. Retrieved January 30, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18620466
- JAMA. (2002). Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. Retrieved January 30, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397?dopt=Abstract
- The Lancet. (2019). Type and timing of menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis of the worldwide epidemiological evidence. Retrieved January 30, 2020 fromhttps://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext