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Activity level, Cramps and Heavy Flow

Question

I used to play a lot of sports between the ages of 13-17 and my period was always regular with a normal amount of flow lasting between 3-4 days at max i never used to get cramps and my period was not an experience that i would ever dread as it was easily controllable. I now am 19, not as active and suffer from severe cramping, a high flow and periods that last up to 8 days. They sometimes are not as regular and do come as often as every two weeks. What should I do?

Answer

Thanks for your question.
Heavy flow often occurs in teenagers in part because that is a time of our lives when our ovaries normally make a lot of estrogen but may not yet be coordinated enough to ovulate (release an egg) and to make enough progesterone. Estrogen's "job" is to make the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grow and get very thick and juicy. But progesterone is needed to change the uterine lining into something that can help a fertilized egg to implant and grow into a fetus and placenta and also to have a normal amount of flow. So that thick and juicy endometrium without progesterone, which is full of blood vessels, can bleed a lot and for a long time.
Your heavy flow may have increased now, as you guessed, because you've decreased your exercise and may also have gained some weight and body fat. Those changes will increase the amount of estrogen that your body makes.
We have put some general information about heavy flow and how to treat it here .
For both your heavy flow and your cramps I suggest that you take the pain pill called ibuprofen. You can buy it yourself in all drug stores and in many other shops—it has many brand names but "Advil" is a common one. The usual size pill is 200 mg. If you take one pill with breakfast, lunch and dinner your flow will decrease by almost half.
Your cramps can also be treated by ibuprofen but you have to take a lot more so I'd suggest you follow the instructions here. You must stay "ahead of the pain" so take two tablets (400 mg in total) at the first hint the cramps are starting. As soon as you get a feeling that the pain is coming back, take another tablet (200 mg). That should allow you to sail through your flow with lighter flow and almost no cramps.
Keep track of what day your flow starts for a while (you can just put a dot "period" on a calendar) so you can figure out if your cycles are regular. If they aren't yet, they should be starting to become more regular as you get older and more settled into your life.
I hope this helpful for you.

Life Phase: 
Adolescence
Updated Date: 
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 14:15

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