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Best way to stop or reduce heavy periods - anaemic

(34 Posts)
Fuddymunster Sat 20-Aug-11 08:50:47

I have heavy periods which started about 4 years ago, I'm 44. My mum had exactly the same thing and went through the menopause at 47, so hopefully it's. I've managed to get my haemoglobin up to a reasonable level but my ferritin (iron stores) remains low. Iron tablets don't suit me so I just take Floradix. At my age would you try:

Mirena coil
Mini pill
Tranexamic acid

I've booked to have the Mirena fitted but don't like all the negatives I read. One thing I have to consider is that I have benign breast disease which is being monitored, but I'm slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer.


PegPolkadot Sat 20-Aug-11 09:12:25

I suffered from heavy periods. I tried taking mefenamic and tranexamic acid but they didn't make a significant difference and I was taking 9 tablets a day.

I had a mirena coil fitted and after it settled down things have greatly improved. I have had no negative side effects. I still have periods (I know they stop entirely for some people) but now only need to use regular tampax so that is a massive improvement for me.

I decided to have my 3rd dc before having the coil fitted as I didn't want to have it removed etc and wait for fertility to return. I would hope that there are no implications with regard to breast cancer but could not be sure as I did not research it myself (just relied on GP).

Fuddymunster Sat 20-Aug-11 09:54:35

Thanks pegp, it's reassuring to hear a positive story about the Mirena. Did you Dr fit it?

Iamseeingstars Sat 20-Aug-11 12:05:33

I have always had severe bleeding problems and eventually was put on Merina coil. It has been a godsend and I would hate to go back to periods.

It did take a long time to settle (9 months) but in the long term it has been well worth it.

Fuddymunster Sat 20-Aug-11 12:33:33

Thanks Iamseeing, great to hear another positive experience. What symptoms do you get whilst it's settling down?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 20-Aug-11 13:05:50

I had a thermal ablation done a couple of months ago as I don't like the idea of stuffing my body with hormones. The difference to my periods is amazing.

EightToSixer Sat 20-Aug-11 15:51:13

Hi Fuddymunster. I have this problem too, the first I was aware of it was a blood test because I was tired and low, which led to emergency admission to hospital for a blood transfusion. Now on ferries fumerate because I'm still anaemic and low ferritin after the transfuse on, though better than before.

I was given the options of: (in order of severity)
Tranexamic acid
Progesterone just during period
Mirena coil
Uterine ablation

I've started on the tranexamic acid and will try the others in order if that really doesn't work at all. I've only taken it one cycle and it did seem to reduce the bleeding quite substantially, so will keep it up next month.

I too am a bit too worried about the invasiveness of the coil and side effects so hope to avoid that.

I'd be interested to know about the floradix? Is that prescribed? I've been told to stay on the iron tablets for at least a year but they're giving me lots of side effects and I'd rather find an alternative. Does it build up your iron quickly? Or a bit slower than horrible iron tablets?

Good luck with this.

Fuddymunster Sat 20-Aug-11 21:53:56

Hi eighttosixer, I had a similar experience 2 years ago. Was feeling tired and low but put it down to having young children and my husband works away a lot so no help a lot of the time. I woke up one night to go to the bathroom and started blacking out. Very scary and my son had to get my neighbour. My haemoglobin was 9 and my ferritin was 4. I wasn't offered a blood transfusion but was very I'll for the next few months with all sorts of symptoms, some of which were down to the ferrous fumerate iron tablets. They are evil! Floradix is a liquid herbal supplement that I buy from Holland and Barratt and which gives me no side effects at all. It made me feel a little better within a few weeks of taking it. Since using it my haemoglobin has stayed around 12 which is good but my ferritin has never gone beyond 30 and on my last blood test was 19 which is low. What were your levels when you needed the blood transfusion?

I've not heard of progesterone for during your period. Is that a pill?

Fuddymunster Sat 20-Aug-11 21:56:39

Good luck with getting your iron levels up too. Hope you feel better soon.

timetosmile Sat 20-Aug-11 22:00:34

I think most gyane/GP would advise trying tranexamic acid for 3-4 cycles first, if you are unconvinced re Mirena at present.
Have you googled 'nhs choices' to see what they say?
Whether or not you want to preserve your fertiliy/ have a/more children is a factor in choosing treatment too.
btw, taking iron with vitC eg swilling it down with orange juice, helps extract more iron per pill!

RandomMess Sat 20-Aug-11 22:02:18

AFter trying everything else, I had womb ablation using novasure (laser treatment) Has worked amazingly well.

Fuddymunster Sat 20-Aug-11 22:57:39

The ablation sounds positive but maybe that's something to consider further down the line. We are not planning on having any more children so that's not a factor I need to consider in all this.

Thanks everyone.

MrsShrekTheThird Sat 20-Aug-11 22:59:59

another one with the same tale - uterine lining was 4x thicker than it should be, got anaemic, had Mirena put in during a huge tidy-up minor op, no problem since, it's changed everything. Would definitely recommend.

Fuddymunster Sun 21-Aug-11 10:34:42

Thanks mrsshrek. Glad it worked for you, am keeping my fingers crossed for the same.

RandomMess Sun 21-Aug-11 11:28:09

I did try the mirena but after spotting for 6 months I still had 10 day long "light" periods but I got a spotty back and once I had it removed (after 2 years) realised that I didn't have an itchy vagina it must have been the threads irritating it!

Very happy post ablation I have "spotting" for about a week but at least I can tell where I am in my cycle now and no need for sanitary protection just wear black knicks for the week! Mirena worth ago but they are not keen on taking them out tbh the family planning dr was horrible to me about having mine out as they are not cheap.

mizu Sun 21-Aug-11 11:37:21

Had the ablation op nearly a year ago and it has made a huge difference. Had a 12-13 period with 4-5 days being horribly heavy. Did have the mirena coil in for 18 months but hormonally I hated it. Felt great when it was taken out. Now my periods are about 4-5 days and 1 is heavy - but no where near as heavy as before. Feel better and much less tired. Would recommend.

PegPolkadot Sun 21-Aug-11 11:45:01

I had mine fitted by the doctor, it was fine. I have had no adverse symptoms. While it was settling down I had spotting on and off for about 3 months but like others have said it is a godsend.

EightToSixer Sun 21-Aug-11 21:07:40

Fuddymunster. My haemoglobin was 6.7 and ferritin 5 so I was pretty poorly. I was breathless with palpitations and dizziness and dr still diagnosed depression, putting me on citalopram before I insisted on a blood test to check glucose and thyroid (family history), they did a routine FBC at the same time and called e straight to hospital.

I put constantly feeling low, exhausted and no energy was due to young kids and full-time work and study. I was actually pleased that there was something physically causing it that could be treated because I couldn't bear the thought of feeling like that forever.
Haemoglobin post transfusion and a month of ferrous fumerate is still only 10.1 and ferritin 14, so it's no wonder I don't feel quite as amazing as I was told I would feel post-transfusion. Will definitely ask GP about alternatives to tablets next week. When pregnant I took spatone which helped, maybe I could go back to that, or try floradix. Got appointment with hospital gynae in sept which I'm nervous about (I hate smears, not sure what I'll make of a thorough examination) and then an ultrasound.
Interesting to hear so many positive ablation stories, I can't bear the though of a coil (given I'm such a wimp with smears as it is!)

Fuddymunster Fri 26-Aug-11 15:34:18

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Eighttosixer, wow your haemoglobin was very low, no wonder you had an immediate transfusion. I also had palpitations, dizziness, along with nausea and a whole host of other symptoms for a good few months. It is pretty miserable.

Well this morning I had the Mirena coil fitted by my GP. I just can't cope with the heavy periods anymore and am going to give it a go. It was uncomfortable having it fitted but not painful. I have had bleeding all afternoon, like a light period, but was told spotting and cramps were to be expected. No cramps yet, fingers crossed. Really hope it works for me.

mummytopebs Fri 26-Aug-11 22:40:12

Hi Just wondering what you ladies class as 'heavy' periods. I have had what I class as heavy periods since my daughter was born 18 months ago. I have been offered the mirena coil but like you am anxious about it. To be a bit tmi for the first 3 days of my period I wear the night pads during the day and usually have to change them around every 2 hours. I did have my bloods done around 4 months ago and am wondering if I should ask for the iron level to be checked again as I am always tired. Does that sound heavy to you ladies or is that ok?

RandomMess Fri 26-Aug-11 23:45:33

No that sounds heavy to me. It's worth getting your levels checked but the problem is you don't know what was normal to you before they got heavy!

Ultimately for me they impacted on my life, used to flood, had to get up in the night and couldn't exercise for a week.

Fuddymunster Sat 27-Aug-11 16:41:08

Hi mummytopebs, yes good idea to get checked again. As well as your haemoglobin levels, it's good to check your iron stores (ferritin). It's awful feeling so tired. Your periods do seem to be heavy.

I also use night pads on my heavy days, they don't last an hour, sometimes half an hour. Not sure if that's classed as flooding. At night I change 2 or 3 times. Luckily I'm a SAHM, I could never cope if I were working. After each period I'm completely wiped out and feel exhausted. I cancel evenings out when I have my period and don't exercise except for gentle walking and swimming.

Hope the mirena works for me because I'm struggling to cope with my periods. No cramping yet, fingers crossed.

swingingcat Sat 27-Aug-11 16:59:58

Had my first Mirena fitted in 1999, no problems at all periods went from very heavy to nothing! Had Mirena replaced in 2008 and in the last 18mths I am back to very heavy periods again.
GP is not willing to refer me to O&G unit as "at my age these things are inevitable", GP is an arse.

I have complete blackouts and awful mood swings.

Grumpystiltskin Sat 27-Aug-11 19:28:31

I used to have very heavy periods (haven't got & can't have my own children but am a proud step mum) until I lost a stone (I was a little overweight before, now a size 12) and now almost all my premenstrual symptoms have gone. No sore boobs or back ache, period pains much better-if anyone can fix the blimmin night sweats I would probably write them into my will.

Not saying OP or anyone else needs to lose weight but the transformation was remarkable within a very short time.

lachesis Sat 27-Aug-11 19:34:02

Had Mirena replaced in 2008 and in the last 18mths I am back to very heavy 'periods again.
GP is not willing to refer me to O&G unit as "at my age these things are inevitable", GP is an arse.

I have complete blackouts and awful mood swings.'

Make an appointment at your local Family Planning Clinic. You can be referred from there, especially as you have a Mirena in and it is no longer controlling the bleeding. You have a medical problem, need to find out what it is and what can be done about it.

Complain in writing about this GP.

NO ONE needs to suffer with bleeding that is compromising their lives in such a way.

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