I read somewhere that folic acid supplements are beneficial for women with heavy periods. How does folic acid help heavy periods?

Answer From Tatnai Burnett, M.D.

Folic acid is a B vitamin. Folic acid supplements won't ease heavy periods. The problem with having heavy periods is that you can develop anemia. Anemia happens when you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry needed oxygen to your body's tissues.

Many types of anemia exist. Some types are related to vitamin deficiencies. But a type of anemia that's common with heavy periods is iron deficiency anemia. Heavy periods lead to blood loss over a long time. This depletes your body's iron stores. With iron deficiency anemia, you might feel tired all the time, weak, dizzy or short of breath, among other signs and symptoms.

Your health care provider may recommend:

  • A blood test to check your iron levels and the level of a blood protein called ferritin. Ferritin helps your body store iron. You may also have a complete blood count. This test includes the hemoglobin level. Iron deficiency anemia happens when you have a low ferritin level, a low hemoglobin level or both.
  • An iron supplement to rebuild your body's iron stores.
  • A daily multivitamin that has folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B-12 and other vitamins to help build red blood cells.

A number of conditions can cause heavy periods. A hormone imbalance, uterine fibroids or certain types of intrauterine devices are just a few.

If heavy periods bother you, talk with your provider for more information and guidance.

With

Tatnai Burnett, M.D.

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Sept. 08, 2021 See more Expert Answers