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Heavy periods, fatigue — can the pill help?

That time of month is unfortunately the bane of most women’s existences. It’s painful, uncomfortable, messes with your mood, your digestion, what you can wear — the list of inconveniences is endless.

But what if your period is more than just a little inconvenient — debilitating, even? That’s the case for women who experience a variety of symptoms from dysphoria to fatigue during or before their period.

It’s especially difficult for women who experience heavy periods. These women lose enough blood during their period that not only are they weakened by sheer blood loss, they also risk becoming anemic either during their period or over time.

Considering that the number one symptom of anemia is fatigue, heavy periods create a vicious cycle of fatigue and weakness.

Fatigue Caused by Hormonal Changes

Over the period of a month, women’s bodies experience a range of hormone and other menstrual cycle related changes. In some women, these changes cause minimal symptoms, but in others, the results can be debilitating.

Fatigue, specifically, is quite different from your average tiredness of exhaustion. It manifests in extremes. Women who experience it find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, become easily exhausted from routine activities such as walking around the block, and sometimes even feel much weaker than they normally are.

Fatigue Caused by Blood Loss and Lack of Iron (Anemia)

To compound the hormonal issues, when you experience a heavy period, you lose a substantial amount of blood. Most women who experience heavy periods are aware that their periods are heavy, but have no context to figure out exactly how heavy and whether the amount of bleeding is detrimental to their health.

Medical professionals give guidelines regarding how much blood loss is considered normal, but the amount really depends on variable factors. These factors include your body size, current health, pre-existing conditions, and much more.

If the amount of blood you lose on your period is too much for your body, then you may well be at risk for anemia. Anemia is the medical term that describes lack of iron in the blood. Losing blood is a great way to deplete the iron in your body — so great in fact that even one heavy period can leave you acutely anemic.

If you find yourself weak and fatigued during your period, then you may be experiencing this acute form of anemia. Heavy periods are not innocuous and should be discussed with a medical professional.

Identifying Your Own Symptoms

Does this sound like you? Do you feel oddly tired during or before your period? Do you find that even if you get a good night’s rest, you don’t feel properly recovered and ready to face a new day? Does everything just seem harder?

If these symptoms do indeed sound like you, then you may be having period related fatigue. The bad news is that there are any number of reasons that you’re having these symptoms. Your best bet at figuring out what is going on in your particular case is to talk to a trusted care provider and try different treatment options.

The good news is that the pill might be able to help. Yes, that pill.

Treat Fatigue with the Pill

The birth control pill is a common part of many women’s lives. We use it to prevent pregnancy, regulate our periods, prevent acne, and much more. It can also, however, be used to help mitigate the fatigue associated with your period.

Though your fatigue may be manifesting due to a number of symptoms, clinicians commonly prescribe the pill to help regulate your hormones and lessen the load of your period on your body.

How the Pill Works

There are many forms of birth control and the kind you are prescribed largely depends on your medical history and your doctor’s evaluation of what may work best for you. There are IUDs, rings, patches, and of course pills. Even within the pill category of birth control, there are different types of pills. Combination pills contain a ratio of progestin along with estrogen, whereas the mini pill contains only progestin.

Pills are, in a nutshell, hormone therapy. They work by adjusting the amount of certain hormones circulating in your body. The adjustments produce a certain effect in the body. To help prevent pregnancy, the pill adjust hormones so that your body doesn’t get pregnant — but also such that you get fewer and lighter periods. The ring, the patch, as well as the Mirena IUD also help in decreasing menses.

In the treatment of fatigue, it’s this effect of the pill that can help. By adjusting your hormonal balance so you get shorter, lighter, and fewer periods, the pill solves both the hormonal and anemia related fatigue. Adding the pill stabilizes your hormones and helps avoid the changes that cause hormone related fatigue. Secondly, by minimizing periods, the pill also helps minimize the blood loss associated with your period. This helps reduce the chances of becoming anemic and helps combat anemia related fatigue.

Is the Pill Right For You?

Now that you know how the pill can help with heavy periods and fatigue, you may be wondering how to get the right prescription. The answer is simple — start your online consultation with an Alpha Provider.

You’ll have to answer a few questions around your medical history and health, and an Alpha Provider will prescribe the treatment that they think is appropriate for your needs. Are you experiencing heavy periods, fatigue, and also cyclical acne? You can make note of all of this in the Alpha patient dashboard.

We hope that we were able to shed some light on heavy periods and fatigue.




Alpha Medical is a telemedicine company that provides instant access to doctors who can diagnose and treat over 70% of conditions online, including mental health, primary care, skin & hair, and urgent care.

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