Before attempting to make a period lighter and shorter, make an appointment with your gynecologist to rule out any underlying medical conditions. The heavy menstrual bleeding, called menorrhagia, could be the result of hormones being imbalanced or as a side effect of an IUD or medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. Schedule your annual gynecological visit if you missed your last one, or revisit your physician to alleviate any concerns that a heavy period is not a symptom of a more serious condition. Long and heavy periods that are merely an annoyance may be treated at home with natural remedies. When natural remedies do not work, consider birth control pills that are not natural but are proven to lighten heavy periods.
Exercising regularly is one way to keep periods lighter, shorter and more regular. Keep exercise at a moderate level and do not go overboard, as excessive exercising may cause heavy periods, according to Dr. Charles Debrovner of New York University Hospital. Engaging in gentle exercise may help lessen the severity of cramps. Exercise in the form of swimming can also help make periods lighter and shorter for some women. Yoga is another form of gentle exercise that can help alleviate heavy periods.
Vitamins and Supplements
Consume foods that are rich in calcium to decrease PMS symptoms and cramps, advises James G. Penland, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eat low-fat dairy products and spinach, which also provides iron. Add more foods naturally high in manganese to reduce a heavy menstrual flow, according to Dr. Phyllis Johnson of the Human Nutrition Research Center. Decaffeinated tea, blueberries, wheat germ, spinach and pineapple are all high in manganese, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Supplement a vitamin-rich diet with multivitamins that include iron and manganese.
What to Avoid
Easing up on your activities if you have a busy schedule may help lighten the flow, according to Dr. Debrovner. Eliminate beverages that may dehydrate the body, including alcohol and excessive caffeine. Reduce overly sugary foods and foods with high sodium that can cause discomfort and bloating. Eliminate fatty red meats and full-fat dairy, as these foods contain arachadonic acids that contribute to cramping. Never douche during a period, as this is an unhealthy way to try to control menstrual flow.