Having a heavy flow during your period, well, sucks to be honest. I mean, it’s not the end of the world, but when you have a heavy flow, you have to be a lot more mindful of just about everything. You have to change your pads or tampons more often and need to make sure your menstrual cup doesn’t overflow. Sleeping is more stressful, unless you want your bed to look like a murder scene. And don’t even think about standing up after sitting down for a while unless you want to feel like there’s a bloody waterfall flowing from your vagina. So yeah, a heavy flow sucks, but it’s a fact of life for many of us.
But did you know that there are things you might do all the time during your period that actually make your flow heavier? Uh, I had to learn that the hard way after I nearly ruined a pair of leggings after a workout…but more on that later. Check out these six things that you didn’t know make your flow heavier. You shouldn’t necessarily avoid doing them, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware.
ExercisingYou've probably heard that excessive exercise can cause people to stop getting their periods. It's true, but guess what? A little moderate exercise can make your period flow heavier. I learned this the hard way a few weeks ago when I realized I walked home covered in blood after doing a cardio workout at the gym. It was my first day, definitely not the heaviest day of my flow, and I just put a tampon in right before I started my workout. WTF happened? I did some Googling and discovered that exercising both increases blood blow and encourages uterine contractions, which can increase the amount of blood coming out of your vagina. I'm not saying this to say that you shouldn't exercise during your period. If anything, exercise is great because it can help get rid of painful cramps! But...be careful, I'm lucky my shirt went past my hips that day at the gym or else everyone on the street would think I was experiencing some serious internal bleeding! Some Girls
PineappleYeah, here's a weird one. Pineapple might--just might--increase your menstrual flow. Why? Because they can increase the production of both red and white blood cells, which increases your overall blood flow. Does that mean you should stop eating pineapples when you're on your period? Of course not. But it doesn't hurt to be aware that eating a lot of them might have an impact on how often you change your tampons. iStock.com
StressAre you stressed out a lot? If you're anything like me, you don't remember the last time you weren't stressed out. But did you know that stress can actually thicken the uterine lining, making your flow heavier once that lining is shed during that time of the month? Bet you didn't. It's easier to say "don't be so stressed out" than it is to, you know, stop being so stressed out. For some of us, that's a damn near impossible task. But consider incorporating more relaxing activities into your routine, even if they're short. Meditate, do some yoga, try some deep breathing exercises, get more sleep, see what you can do to have a lighter load at work or school, etc. See if you notice a difference in your flow after doing this for a while. Hopefully, if both your flow and stress levels are heavy AF, this will help. Empire Records
Changing Your Birth ControlAside from preventing pregnancy, birth control can alter the body in a lot of different ways, from negative--like mood changes, sudden weight gain--to positive--clearer skin, and lighter periods. It's that last bit, lighter periods, that can really be heavenly for people who have heavy periods. But if you suddenly stop taking your birth control or even switch to a new one, your flow can seem a lot heavier than usual. Is it? Nah, it's probably just back to normal, but if you've been on birth control for a while, it can feel like your vagina is like a bloody Niagara Falls. Carrie
Gaining WeightWeight fluctuations can mess up your period in all kinds of ways, whether it's severe weight loss or weight gain. Severe weight loss can cause your period to stop all together, while weight gain is a mixed bag. You can stop getting your period--or at least get them super irregularly--or you can start having a heavier period than usual. iStock.com
Poop IssuesHave you ever noticed that you feel the urge to poop a lot more intensely during your period? I mean, you're like...poopville during your period, admit it. Why? It's a little complicated, but here's the quick and dirty: prostaglandins are a chemical signal that goes off in your body when you're about to get your period. They basically tell your your uterus to contract, which helps release the uterine lining, which is what comes out of your vagina during your period. But your uterus is pretty damn close to your bowels, which mean they get those contracting signals too. Before you know it...poopville. If you experience severe bowel movements during that time of the month, you might experience a heavy flow (and bad cramps) as well. Broad City
Have you and your partner ever made any of these mistakes? Tell us in the comments!