Irregular periods are one of the first signs that the body is entering the menopausal transition. For most women, changes in the menstrual cycle are completely normal, and though slightly bothersome, they don't require any type of intervention. For others, particularly those who suffer from heavy, prolonged, or painful periods, treatment for menstrual irregularities can help relieve these symptoms.
If you are experiencing troublesome irregular periods, it is a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional who can rule out other rare but serious conditions and determine how to help you.
That said, for the majority of women entering the menopausal transition, medical intervention is not usually necessary. In fact, a few healthy lifestyle changes combined with natural supplements can help ease problematic irregular periods.
Read on to learn about the three main approaches to treatment of irregular periods.
Three Approaches to Treating Irregular Periods
Women who wish to regulate their periods will find three treatment categories or approaches: (1) lifestyle changes, (2) alternative medicine, and (3) medications and surgery.
Women are encouraged to begin with the least risky approach to treating irregular periods, which involves making lifestyle adjustments. These changes are often made in conjunction with the use of herbal supplements to balance hormone levels. Some women may wish to consider medications or surgery if they are unable to find relief through natural treatment, but it is important to understand the associated risks.
1. Lifestyle Changes
The first approach to treating menstrual irregularities is lifestyle changes. This method generally involves no additional costs and poses no risk, but conversely, it requires the most self-discipline of all the approaches.
A woman's lifestyle and habits can greatly affect symptoms such as irregular periods. For instance, leading a sedentary lifestyle or consuming alcohol and caffeine in excess can exacerbate irregular periods. Also, increased stress due to professional responsibilities or family demands can make irregular periods more severe.
Lifestyle Adjustments to Ease Irregular Periods
- Get more exercise (aim for five days a week)
- Decrease intake of refined carbohydrates
- Complement nutrition with multivitamins and other supplements
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
- Consider meditation, yoga, visualization, or other methods of stress relief
- Consume lots of water to keep the body hydrated
- Consider using anti-inflammatory medications to relieve painful periods
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
Lifestyle changes may be an effective and wholesome way to manage irregular periods, but it can be hard to implement them. In addition, while these greatly benefit overall health and wellness, they do not address the underlying cause of irregular periods - hormonal imbalance. The good news is that alternative treatments can relieve menstrual irregularities by balancing hormones in a safe and natural way. Continue reading to find out more about these natural treatments for irregular periods.
2. Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine treatments entail little to no risk, and they can be considered a highly effective method of regulating periods.
This approach to treatment includes several options. Generally, herbal supplements are considered to be the optimal treatment, though some women may find relief from other techniques, including massage. Any one of these methods may be helpful, but women typically find herbal supplements to be the best alternative treatment to use. They require less time, a smaller financial commitment, and they are very effective in dealing with the underlying hormonal imbalance that causes irregular periods.
Regarding supplementary herbs, two types in particular are useful in treating the hormonal causes of irregular periods: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
These supplements (such as dong quai) contain compounds that are similar to estrogen in the body but produced by plants. These supplements compensate for the hormonal deficiency by introducing plant-based estrogen into the body directly. While this is a good way to balance estrogen levels at first, the body can eventually become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This happens as a direct result of introducing outside hormones into the system, and it can eventually cause a decline in the body's natural hormone production.
These supplements (such as Macafem) do not contain plant-based hormones at all. Rather, this kind of herbal supplement nourishes and stimulates the endocrine glands, supporting the optimal production of hormones. This ultimately leads to a balance of not only estrogen in the body, but of other hormones too, such as progesterone - which also affects the menstrual cycle. In addition, these supplements are virtually free of side effects. For these reasons, hormone-regulating supplements are considered most effective in treating irregular periods and other symptoms of menopause.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem 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 to find out more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches - namely lifestyle adjustments complemented by hormone-regulating herbal supplements - is the best method of treating irregular periods for most women. On the other hand, there are some rare cases when irregular periods may be too severe for natural treatment. Women who experience severe pain, excessively heavy flow, or extreme irregularity in their periods may wish to turn to the third approach - medications and surgery.
3. Medications and Surgery
Interventions at the third level involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. However, these are sometimes necessary for those whose irregular periods may signal a more serious underlying condition.
The type of medical treatment used for irregular periods will depend on the underlying cause. For example, uterine fibroids (small noncancerous growths) will sometimes require surgical removal, though this depends on the size, location, number, and severity of the fibroids. In rare cases, the underlying causes of irregular periods will require a hysterectomy, or full removal of the female reproductive organs. Women who experience abnormal bleeding after menopause may also require medical treatment.
In the Western world, the most common medication for treating menopausal irregular periods is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This may be a quick and strong way to combat hormonal imbalance, but, unfortunately, it entails the risk of serious side effects, including certain types of cancer, as the following study has revealed.
In 1991, The National Institute of Health (NIH) began the biggest clinical trial ever conducted in the U.S., called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). This study was designed for the purpose of determining the risks and benefits related the use of HRT. However, the project was halted more than 10 years later, in 2002, when it was concluded that the artificial hormones used in HRT increase the risk of breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, strokes, and ovarian cancer. These results were subsequently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Other medications, such as hormonal birth control, may also provide relief from irregular periods. However, it is important to understand that medications and surgery have a high risk of side effects. In fact, some of these side effects can overshadow any potential benefit. In considering this third level of approach, it is always best to speak with a healthcare practitioner before attempting any treatment.
The three approaches to treating irregular periods are not mutually exclusive. 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.
A Safe Way of Treating Irregular Periods
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for relieving irregular periods, as detailed in the alternative medicine approach, are thought to be the most advantageous menopausal treatment because of their effectiveness and minimal risk of side effects.
Macafem, for instance, is one of the best hormone-regulating herbal supplements available. Its mechanism is simple: rather than introducing hormone compounds from an external source, it nourishes the hormonal glands to support the endocrine system and help it produce hormones naturally. This is what sets Macafem apart. Click on the following link for more information on Macafem.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Irregular periods. Retrieved April 6, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Periods-irregular/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Office on Women's Health. (2015). Uterine fibroids fact sheet. April 6, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.html