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Can vitamin K deficiency affect your period flow?

Heavy periods can be due to many reasons. Vitamin K deficiency may be one of the causes of heavy menstrual bleeding. Check out the connection between vitamin K and periods.
View All Images Woman having period pain
Vitamin K deficiency may be one of the causes of heavy menstrual bleeding. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 4 Jan 2024, 19:59 pm IST
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Medically Reviewed by

Heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia can have various causes. It might be due to hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids or certain medical conditions like thyroid disorders or bleeding disorders. Sometimes stress or weight gain and weight loss also play a part in affecting your menstrual cycle. Similarly, a lack of vitamin K can affect your periods. We tell you how vitamin K and periods are connected.

How does vitamin k deficiency affect periods?

Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting, and a deficiency in this vitamin can potentially affect menstrual bleeding, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Pooja C. Thukral. Without sufficient vitamin K, the blood may take longer to clot, leading to increased bleeding or heavier periods.

Woman experiencing period cramps
Vitamin K and heavy periods are connected. Image courtesy: Freepik

However, it is important to note that vitamin K deficiency is not very common. If you suspect vitamin K deficiency is impacting your menstrual cycle, it is advisable to consult with a doctor who can conduct appropriate tests to determine the cause of any menstrual irregularities and recommend the necessary interventions.

Identifying vitamin K deficiency involves considering various factors. Some of the early signs and methods that may be used to identify vitamin K deficiency are –

• A blood test can measure the levels of vitamin K in the blood. This is the most direct and accurate way to diagnose a deficiency.
• Prothrombin Time (PT) Test assesses the time it takes for blood to clot. Vitamin K is crucial for the synthesis of clotting factors, so a prolonged PT may indicate a deficiency.
• While not specific to vitamin K deficiency, certain symptoms may raise suspicion. These can include easy bruising, excessive bleeding (including heavy menstrual bleeding), and bleeding gums.

How to use vitamin K to avoid heavy periods?

Including vitamin K in your diet is relatively easy as there are various foods rich in this nutrient, says the expert. If your doctor determines that a vitamin K deficiency is contributing to heavy menstrual bleeding, they may recommend ways to increase vitamin K intake.

Here are some dietary sources of vitamin K that can be included to support overall health, including potentially managing heavy periods:

1. Leafy greens

Include a variety of leafy green vegetables in your salads, stir-fries or smoothies. Options like kale, spinach and collard greens are excellent sources of vitamin K.

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2. Cruciferous vegetables

Prepare dishes that feature cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. These can be roasted, steamed or sautéed as side dishes or main components of a meal.

3. Salads

Create nutrient-rich salads with a mix of dark, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and other colourful vegetables. Drizzle with a dressing made with olive oil for an extra boost of vitamin K, suggests the expert.

4. Herbs

Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and basil are not only flavourful, but also contribute to your vitamin K intake. Add them to salads, soups or as garnishes.

5. Fish and meat

Include fish like salmon and tuna in your diet. They contain vitamin K along with other essential nutrients. Eat eggs, lean meats and poultry to add vitamin K to your diet.

While vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting, addressing heavy menstrual bleeding may involve multiple factors.

Foods rich in vitamin K
Fish, meat and leafy greens are rich in vitamin K. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the other ways to manage heavy periods?

Managing heavy menstrual bleeding involves addressing the underlying causes and adopting lifestyle changes. Here are some general strategies that may help to manage heavy periods –

1. Medical evaluation

Consult with a doctor to identify the underlying cause of heavy menstrual bleeding. This may involve blood tests or other diagnostic procedures.

2. Medication

Depending on the cause, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches or intrauterine devices), or other medications to help regulate menstrual bleeding.

3. Iron supplements

Heavy bleeding can lead to iron deficiency anemia, says Dr Thukral. If needed, your doctor may recommend iron supplements to maintain healthy iron levels.

4. Lifestyle changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can positively impact your menstrual health. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise and managing stress.

5. Hydration

Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health, including menstrual health. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day.

It is crucial to work closely with your doctor to determine the most appropriate and effective management strategy when it comes to unusually heavy periods.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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