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Can I get pregnant with heavy periods?

In this video we are going to talk about heavy periods in the context of trying to conceive & how it can affect your fertility & hormones.

I would like you to remember that even though I am talking about fertility today, fertility is not just about being able to get pregnant. It is about everything being in balanced order – hormone balance, regular periods, pain free or minimal pain, optimal cycle length, stable moods etc. A fertile body is a healthy one.

So, can you get pregnant with heavy periods?

  1. It may be a possibility, however in most cases it can be challenging because the things that are resulting in heavy bleeding also affect your ability to have a baby

  2. Also, I wouldn’t recommend trying to conceive until you manage the heavy periods and address contributing factors and what happens as a result of heavy blood loss because there are risks involved

What is considered to be a heavy period?

1) Bleeding more than 7 days ⁠
2) Having to change your pad or tampon every hour or less (due to the bleed)⁠
3) Losing more than 80mls of blood ⁠
4) Blood leaking through your clothing⁠
5) ‘Flooding’ in the tampon or pad, even when you are wearing the biggest size (super pads or tampons)⁠
6) Having to change your pad overnight ⁠
7) Having to wear a pad and tampon ⁠
8) The need to pop a towel down or wear heavy duty pad at night when you go to bed⁠
9) Clots that are greater in size than a 50 cent coin ⁠

It’s easy to get all attitude towards your body, thinking things like ‘why is my body doing this to me!’ but at the end of the day. It is just the messenger, and it is trying to deliver you a message that something is not quite right.

Why would I have heavy periods?

  • PCOS: It’s a syndrome with a collection of symptoms: Need to have at least 2: irregular or no periods, can include Polycystic ovaries but not always, high level of androgens either on blood tests or symptoms and signs of that 

  • Endometriosis: Autoimmune condition – endometrial tissue growing where it shouldn’t be 

  • Fibroids: benign growths that can appear within uterine wall, protrude into uterine cavity 

  • Hormone Imbalance: normally oestrogen & progesterone in balance regulate endometrial lining without that in place the endometrial lining builds up (with excess oestrogen it can thicken) 

  • Polyps – small benign growths in uterus that hang on the inner wall of the uterus protruding into uterine cavity 

  • Adenomyosis – tissue similar to the uterine lining grows inside the uterine wall 

  • Long term intrauterine device use – Mirena hormonal intrauterine device releasing progestin, a type of synthetic progesterone 

  • Thyroid Dysfunction – Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

Medical approach:

  • The Intrauterine device that releases levonorgestrel (synthetic form of progesterone)

  • Primolut – progestin containing oral contraceptive

  • Micronelle – combined oral contraceptive (synthetic oestrogen and progestogens)

These approaches while most of the time relatively effective at stopping the tap (however not always completely). Don’t actually address the idea of why you are experiencing heavy periods. Think of it like a leaky bucket, you can put some gum on the hole but eventually things are going to give way because you haven’t addressed it properly. It is a band-aid solution.

Why wouldn’t you try to conceive if you have heavy bleeding?

I’ve had a few patients like this who are trying to conceive they are on an oral contraceptive to control the bleeding and then they stop to go and do IVF. But you will see below this is not a good approach because along with it comes risks.

Some reasons include:

Iron Deficiency:

  • This occurs as a result of the heavy bleeding. It reduces the oxygen carrying capacity to uterus and ovaries

  • Iron is required for your ovaries, they need iron to be able to function which requires the delivery of oxygen and essential nutrients

  • Anaemia can cause anovulation

  • Poor egg quality

  • Once you are pregnant it is very hard to correct iron deficiency because of the high demand of nutrients from the baby: risks are post-partum haemorrhage, post-partum depression, miscarriage, preterm birth (baby born too early), foetal growth restriction, low birth weight baby, poor brain development & poor placental development.

Remember, if you have low iron that can result in heavy bleeding as well

Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism):

  • Impacts fertility

  • If your TSH greater than 2.5 increases the risk of miscarriage by more than double

  • Impacts fertilisation rates

  • Embryo quality

  • Live birth rates

  • Impacts ovulation (ovaries need an abundance of iodine to function properly) 

  • During pregnancy

  • Foetal death (death of baby)

  • Premature delivery

  • Abortion

  • Impairs brain development

Hormone Imbalance: body produces too much or too little of a certain hormone

Symptoms or signs of hormone imbalance may include heavy periods, light periods, irregular periods, painful periods, PMS, erratic moods, long cycles, short cycles, sore boobs, weight gain, depression, bloating, irritability etc. Let’s not forget that when your hormones are imbalanced it impacts both natural fertility and IVF success.

Impacts Fertility

  • Ovulation – whether or not that takes place or is it delayed – how will you know when your fertile window is?

  • Low progesterone – impacts endometrial lining preparation (think of it like an interior designer) which is not inviting for the embryo

  • High prolactin which is produced when you are stressed impacts ovulation

  • High oestrogen: The lining will be too thick and implantation is affected

  • Low oestrogen: poor follicle growth, prevents LH secretion > ovulation (ovulation won’t take place)

  • Irregular cycles

So, we have to assume that in these conditions fertility will be impacted also as a result of hormone imbalance: PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, polyps, adenomyosis are all impacted by too much oestrogen and as a result low progesterone. Or relative to progesterone Oestrogen is too high, it is all about balance.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for an upcoming webinar in relation to period issues…I won’t reveal too much just yet… 

See you next week for the next video!

 

Thank you so much for watching, if you have any comments or questions pop them down below.

 

If you are interested in working with me, I invite you to book a FREE 15 min consultation.