Heavy Bleeding: Does Tranexamic Acid Help?
Last updated: February 2021
One of the few good things about my periods are they tend to be short. Usually they are over and done with in only a couple of days. The bad news is, I tend to bleed fairly heavily over those couple of days, to the point where it's hard to do much of anything else except lay around with a heating pad on my belly.
What is Tranexamic Acid?
I was discussing this with a new doctor when she suggested I try a new (to me) medication known as tranexamic acid. Tranexamic acid is for women with heavy menstrual bleeding, known as "menorrhagia". She told me it's a clotting agent that helps stanch the heavy bleeding that women with fibroids and adenomyosis, which I have both, tend to have. She told me the potential downside is that you have to take a lot of pills, an average of six daily, for it to be effective. She also told me it can have some side effects for people such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Because I was worried about these side effects and tend to be very sensitive to medication, I held off the first couple of cycles I had after filling the prescription and didn't try it.
Trying it out
Finally, I decided to take the plunge with my latest period, which had arrived on a weekend and was interfering with my plans to go out and enjoy a beautiful day due to heavy bleeding. Now, the directions told me to take 2 pills to start, which each contained 650 mg of the medication, and that this dose could be taken up to three times in a day. Again, though, I am sensitive to medication. As such, I decided to just start with one pill and see how it affected me.
Within less than an hour (only about 40 minutes), the bleeding, which had been heavy, almost completely stopped, as did the terrible cramps that were accompanying it! The thing about heavy periods for me is it really impacts my ability to do anything else. As I've written on here previously, tampons and menstrual cups are not compatible with my body, so I am stuck with pads and menstrual cloths. But this gives me a terrible feeling of flooding myself while I walk around, and sometimes, I have to change my pads quite often, which can be very inconvenient. After the medication took effect, my partner and I were able to go out for an hour-long gentle hike at some conservation land near our home. I was feeling pretty good.
However, within a couple of hours, the cramps came back with a vengeance. I had started to bleed again, but very lightly. I did have a low grade headache and felt a little woozy, but couldn't tell if that was the medication or just the side effect of my period as that is not uncommon for me to experience during it. I had a strange sensation, like my body was struggling to bleed, but couldn't, and I passed a few thick clots. I took some ibuprofen and a dicyclomine and drank lots of water and took a nap for an hour or so. The cramps subsided again. For the next day that remained of my period, my bleeding remained very light despite that I didn't take any additional tranexamic acid after that one pill. My period also seemed to end even earlier than usual. My cramps came and went, even with the light bleeding, so I continued to take other medicine for pain.
One strange thing that happened that I am unsure was related to the medication is even after the bleeding stopped altogether, I continued to have a few instances of very bad cramping for the next couple of days after my period was over, even to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night. It almost felt like I was getting my period again, but I didn't bleed again. I didn't really like that, as one of the good things about my period is usually once the bleeding is done, the cramps go away until I am about to get my period again 3-4 weeks later. So, I am struggling with whether I want to try the medicine again.
For now, I am going to play it by ear for next month. Depending on where I am at or what I am doing, I may skip taking the medication altogether and see if my experience is different (will I still get that weird phantom period cramping a couple of days later?). Or, if my period is very heavy and I have to be somewhere, I may try it once more and compare. However, if I do take it again, I will be even more conservative and probably take only half a pill instead of a whole and see how that helps. Due to my sensitivity to medication, micro-dosing sometimes benefits me.
Have you ever tried tranexamic acid? Did it help or hurt? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
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