Menorrhagia is the medical term for abnormally heavy periods. This bleeding is often associated with severe cramps. What is considered heavy? Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several hours or needing to wake up during the night to change protection is heavy. Bleeding for longer than a week or passing blood clots is abnormal also. Menorrhagia should be evaluated by a physician to rule out polyps, bleeding disorders and other medical conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis or thyroid problems.
Once reversible causes have been excluded, most women respond to treatment with oral contraceptives to regulate hormones and minimize bleeding. For women who do not want to go on the pill, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are very effective in reducing blood flow and cramps. The best choice is Naproxen at 500mg twice a day. Ponstel is another drug that is effective for bleeding and hormone associated migraine headaches.
Women who took Naproxen were 10 times more likely to report an improvement in symptoms compared with placebo and there was a 30% reduction in blood flow. Naproxen is cheap and does not require a prescription. (Aleve)