It's been estimated that as many as one in three women in the UK suffer from heavy periods. They can cause great pain, emotional distress, disruption to a woman's day-to-day life and in some cases, even lead to anaemia. Every year, one in 20 women will consult their GP for advice on how to manage heavy periods and ease the pain.
So it's incredibly exciting to report that scientists believe they might have identified the cause of heavy periods – and found a possible solution.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh supported by the Wellbeing of Women charity examined the endometrium, or womb lining, which is shed by a woman during her period. The shedding process leaves behind a wound which needs to heal to limit any blood loss.
The scientists discovered that the body reduces the amount of oxygen travelling to the womb lining in order to stimulate production of a protein, known as HIF-1, which then helps to repair it. Women who suffer from heavy periods have less HIF-1 repairing their womb lining than women who have more regular periods, the researchers found.
So logic would dictate that by increasing a woman's levels of HIF-1, her heavy periods could be ended for good.
Dr. Jackie Maybin, the scientist who led the study, told the charity: "Our findings reveal for the first time that HIF-1 and reduced levels of oxygen in the womb are required during a period to optimise repair of the womb lining. Excitingly, increasing levels of the HIF-1 protein in mice shows real promise as a novel, non-hormonal medical treatment."
It's early days and further research will need to be conducted, of course, but this definitely sounds promising.
Read These Next