Heavy menstrual bleeding: 3 tips to sleep better
Heavy menstrual periods can make getting a full night's sleep impossible. Try these tips to manage bleeding and get a good night's rest.
Cramps. Pain. Waking up during the night to change pads, tampons or blood-stained sheets. Women who have uterine fibroids often suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding that interferes with getting a full night's sleep. Here are three tips that can help you manage heavy bleeding and sleep better.
1. Wear period panties to bed.
Most period panties look and feel just like normal underwear, but they have a special layer that helps prevent blood from seeping through. Other features of period panties that you may find helpful:
They offer a variety of protection. Some period panties are designed to be worn as backup with a tampon or menstrual cup in place. Others are built for heavier periods with multiple layers and a leak-resistant barrier.
They come in many styles. Period panties come in a variety of styles, shapes, colors and sizes. It might take a bit of experimenting, but you're bound to find a pair that works for you.
They're sanitary. Many are designed with antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties to prevent odors.
They're reusable. When properly cleaned, many period panties are reusable and designed to last a long time.
They're comfortable. Sleeping in period panties may be more comfortable than sleeping with multiple pads.
2. Try a menstrual cup at night.
Menstrual cups are small silicone or rubber cups that you insert inside the vagina to catch period blood. They typically catch more blood than tampons or pads — which may cut down on the number of trips you make to the bathroom each night.
They're safe. In 2019, researchers examined the results of 43 studies on menstrual cup use that included data from 3,319 women and girls from around the world. They found that menstrual cups did not increase any health risks and did not cause vaginal infections or increase discharge.
They prevent leaks. The 2019 study also found that menstrual cups are just as good at preventing period leaks as pads and tampons. A menstrual cup should be emptied every four to 12 hours, depending on your flow and the type of cup being used.
There are two types: Vaginal and cervical. The vaginal cup is placed in the vagina, similar to how you insert a tampon. The cervical cup is placed around the cervix, located higher in the vagina,
There are reusable or disposable options. If you're using a reusable menstrual cup, empty the cup when it's full, wash it and place it back in your vagina. These types of menstrual cups can last up to 10 years. If you opt to use a disposable type, simply throw it away after using it.
3. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before bedtime.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), can help reduce the amount of bleeding during your period. Plus, they will relieve pain and cramping. However, taking too many can cause stomach upset, ulcers and possibly lead to kidney or liver disease. Follow the over-the-counter package label for dosing or talk with your doctor to determine how much ibuprofen is safe for you to take.
There's no reason to suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding. Talk with your gynecologist about the many medical therapies that can reduce blood loss during your period and improve your quality of life.
May 27, 2021
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- Van Eijk AM, et al. Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, availability: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health. 2019; doi:10.1016/S2468-2667(19)30111-2. Accessed April 18, 2021.
- Menstrual cup. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/expert-answers/menstrual-cup/faq-20058249. Accessed April 18, 2021.
- Bleeding disorders in women. Heavy menstrual bleeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed April 18, 2021.