How Will Vitamin C Supplements Affect a Heavy Menstrual Period?

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Although vitamin C may be used in some circles as a folk remedy for menstrual problems, its ties to heavy bleeding during menstruation are unclear. Most people get enough vitamin C from the foods they eat and don't need supplementation; however, your doctor may encourage you to take supplements in certain cases. Having your physician diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your heavy bleeding is the most effective remedy.

Iron Deficiency

Heavy menstrual bleeding can sometimes cause a condition called iron deficiency anemia. Not having enough iron in your blood will lead to a decrease in the number of red blood cells, which affects the amount of oxygen in the blood and can decrease normal cell function. Although you should see a doctor to diagnose this deficiency and its underlying cause, you can usually correct it by taking iron supplements. Taking vitamin C in conjunction with iron can increase iron absorption.

Causes

Abnormal menstrual bleeding has several causes, but most often occurs due to a hormonal change. Other causes include endometrial hyperplasia, uterine cancer, thyroid or pituitary disorders, diabetes, uterine infections, certain medications or polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you have one of these conditions, taking vitamin C would likely not affect your bleeding.

Treatment

Treatment for abnormal bleeding depends on the underlying cause. Because heavy menstrual bleeding is a possible cause of iron deficiency anemia, not the other way around, taking vitamin C and iron supplements won't necessarily help lessen the bleeding. If you have the hormonal condition called dysfunctional uterine bleeding, treatment may include birth-control pills or an intrauterine device, both of which can reduce bleeding and cramps.

Precautions

Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin C supplements, especially if you have kidney or liver disease. Taking large doses is not necessary or recommended, as extraneous amounts of vitamin C will exit your body through urine. Watch for potentially harmful side effects, such as severe back or side pain, bloody or painful urination, severe diarrhea and lightheadedness. Vitamin C can interfere with the effectiveness of several medications, such as hormonal birth control and blood thinners, so talk with your doctor before adding extra vitamin C to your vitamin regimen.

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