How To Improve A Heavy Period (Menorrhagia) with Chinese Medicine
When it comes to menstrual bleeding, women may experience a light, medium, or heavy flow. The Western medicine term for a heavier than normal flow is menorrhagia. Menorrhagia differs from a common heavy flow because women who suffer from it struggle with such symptoms as cramping and blood loss. Though some women can use one or two sanitary napkins per day, those with menorrhagia may find themselves having to change their sanitary napkin every one to two hours. Others may need to double up on their sanitary protection using both a napkin and tampon. Additional symptoms of menorrhagia include bleeding for more than one week and the passage of blood clots. If this sound all too familiar, and you are looking for some relief from heavy periods, then read on to learn more about how to improve a heavy period with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Common Symptoms Associated with Menorrhagia
Having an abnormally heavy period is more than just a monthly inconvenience for some women. Those struggling with menorrhagia are at risk of developing anemia due to the significant blood loss. Many women report symptoms of:
- Low iron levels
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Overall weakness
It is not uncommon for women with abnormally heavy periods to be impacted financially due to loss of work.
Chinese Medicine for Heavy Period
According to TCM, most types of menstrual irregularities are caused by imbalances in the body. For example:
- Heat due to liver Qi stagnation: The liver is responsible for moving both Qi and blood. In women, it works as the regulator of the menstrual When there is stagnation of the liver Qi, some women will experience irregular, delayed, or heavy periods. Other signs of liver Qi stagnation are sore breasts and menstrual pain, as well as the mental stress that is often associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). When there is heat due to liver Qi stagnation, menstrual blood tends to be bright or dark in color.
“The stagnant liver qi turns into heat, which heats up the blood and causes excessive bleeding.”
- Qi deficiency: When Qi deficiency is present, this may lead to dampness. When the spleen is not in balance, it does a poor job of moving food and fluids. In the instance of spleen Qi deficiency, the spleen will not be able to properly move food and fluid throughout the body. This disruption is the cause of both fluid accumulation and dampness. Those with Qi deficiency may find that their menstrual blood is pale and diluted.
- Blood stasis/ stagnation: Blood stasis can result in dark red blood with the presence of clots. Some patients have also reported dizziness and headaches. Both heat and phlegm can lead to blood stasis, so Chinese medicine for heavy period aims to clear heat and invigorate the blood. The blood flow in a woman’s body begins to slow when she develops blood stasis or stagnation.
Common Causes of Menorrhagia According to TCM
Stress and other lifestyle factors such as diet play a large role in menorrhagia. Unmanaged stress will lead to stagnant Qi. Often associated with liver deficiency, stagnant Qi can cause discomfort and cramping. In the long term, stagnant Qi can lead to blood stasis.
Kidney yin deficiency is also a known cause of menorrhagia. The kidney’s Qi plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle. In TCM, uterine bleeding is often treated by strengthening the kidney yin.
Consumption of alcohol and coffee can also result in menorrhagia. Alcohol can have a dampening effect, and coffee can lead to blood and yin deficiency.
Natural Heavy Period Treatment
Traditional Chinese Medicine treats menorrhagia with a holistic approach. Rather than just treating the symptoms associated with heavy period, the aim of TCM is to get to the root cause. Examples of effective, natural menorrhagia treatment include acupuncture, diet changes, and other lifestyle modifications.
- Acupuncture: Used in TCM for centuries, acupuncture has been shown in studies to be an effective natural heavy period treatment. A study out of the Penn Integrative Pediatrics in Houston, Texas successfully used acupuncture to reduce phlegm, clear heat, and invigorate the blood of a teenage girl struggling with menorrhagia. After ten treatments with acupuncture, the patient reported having regular monthly periods.
Excess estrogen levels that cause excessive menstrual bleeding can be addressed with acupuncture. Heavy bleeding is often associated with anemia, and women complain of extreme exhaustion as a result. By getting to the root cause with acupuncture even these symptoms can be treated. Acupuncture can also help if you are experiencing irregular or light period, PCOS or even having fertility struggles due to heavy period.
- Diet: A diet rich in Vitamins A, B, and C can also act as a natural heavy period treatment. Foods with Vitamin A include carrots and yams. B-complex vitamins, found in eggs and meat, can help the liver to metabolize estrogen. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and Brussels sprouts, helps to reduce bleeding by strengthening capillaries. Reducing the consumption of cold liquids will help prevent Qi stagnation. Sweetened foods will create dampness, so it is best to avoid sugar.
- Stress reduction: Since stress is a leading cause of liver Qi stagnation and heavy period, it is important to make some lifestyle changes to reduce stress. Incorporating yoga or meditation will help to reduce stress and is an effective natural menorrhagia treatment.
- Exercise: Getting plenty of exercise is also recommended in Chinese medicine for heavy period. A regular exercise routine will help to improve metabolism and boost the creation of both blood and Qi. Try getting about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, such as light jogging or cycling, to improve circulation, mood, and sleep quality.
Chinese medicine for heavy period recognizes that menorrhagia is more than just having to change a sanitary napkin more frequently. Periods lasting longer than a week accompanied by pain and blood clots are often an indicator of imbalance in the body. Thankfully, there are many natural menorrhagia treatments that can bring relief. Acupuncture can clear heat and invigorate the blood. Avoiding sweets and including vitamins A, B, and C will also help to improve symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction techniques and aerobic exercise should be incorporated regularly. If you are looking for a natural heavy period treatment, then reach out to a TCM practitioner to discuss your options.
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For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with heavy period, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.