Researchers May Have Found the Cause of Heavy Periods
While few women would say they enjoy having their period, most would agree that there seems to be huge variability in the quality of the experience. One variable that can make several days of each month markedly less pleasant is a heavy flow.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have just pinpointed the potential biological cause of heavy periods, making it that much more likely that we may be able to “treat” this condition and ameliorate it. The study, published in Nature Communications, was the first to illustrate how the shedding of the uterine lining is accompanied by lower levels of oxygen in the body, which leads the body to produce a protein called HIF-1, responsible for speeding up the healing of the uterine wall. Women with higher levels of HIF-1 had lighter menstrual flow, while women with lower levels of the protein experienced heavier periods.
Dr Jackie Maybin, clinical lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Edinburgh’s Medical Research Council Centre for Reproductive Health and leader of the study, explained the implications of the findings: “Excitingly, increasing levels of the HIF-1 protein in mice shows real promise as a novel, non-hormonal medical treatment.”
So, while mice are clearly not the same as women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding, this research into causes certainly gives us reason to hope there may be a simple, easy treatment for a monthly nuisance right around the corner.