How to Support a Loved One with Heavy Periods
For women with heavy periods, each menstruation brings with it a series of complications that may be hard for others to imagine: unpredictable waves of pain, days of staying home for fear of bleeding through in public and intense exhaustion. This, compounded by the remaining stigma of period-talk as taboo and the tendency of the public to downplay period symptoms, can result in a woman suffering from heavy periods who feels frustrated, misunderstood and alone. If you have a loved one who suffers from abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), or heavy periods, here are quick tips on providing some much-needed support.
Take Her Symptoms Seriously
This might seem obvious, but the absolute worst thing you can do for a woman suffering through a heavy period is to try to downplay her symptoms. If she’s feeling fatigued and needs to lie down for the day, don’t pressure her to take a walk with you. If she suggests taking a sick day due to pain, don’t imply that she can work through it. Listen to what she’s experiencing, ask her how you can be of help and most importantly, don’t try to tell her how she’s feeling.
Go with Her Flow
As a supporter, your main job is to offer your loved one whatever she needs. Is she in pain? Make her some tea and grab a heating pad. Is she in the mood to vent? Be a good and sympathetic listener. If she’s stuck in the bathroom or doesn’t want to talk about her period, just sit on the couch and put a movie on. The bottom line is, be flexible to what will make her feel better in the moment, and understand that it might change.
Don’t Play Doctor
The causes of heavy periods can be hard to pinpoint, but include fibroids, polyps and hormonal imbalances.1 Depending on where your loved one is in her mission to recognize, receive a diagnosis and treat her heavy periods, she may not want your inexpert opinion on what’s going on with her uterus. Tough as it may be, refrain from asking too many questions while she’s going through her period, especially those that begin with “Have you considered…” – because chances are high that she has, and your string of unsolicited solutions might come off as condescending or accusatory. Stick to your job as her support system, and leave the medical advice to her doctor.
But DO Guide Her to a Doctor
Heavy periods can have serious consequences, including extreme pain and iron-deficiency anemia. If your loved one has been suffering with heavy periods, be sure to suggest that she doesn’t wait to see a healthcare professional. The sooner she seeks a diagnosis and treatment, the sooner she can get her periods, and her life, back in her control.
- Centers for Disease Control. Blood disorders in women: Heavy menstrual bleeding. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed June 12, 2016.
- Posted by Dot.
- On November 30, 2017