Menorrhagia (Heavy Periods)
Excessively heavy periods are called menorrhagia. If you have to wear double pads, pass large clots, bleed for more than 7 days, and find that your life is built around never being far from the closest toilet, you are probably suffering from this problem. Menorrhagia can significantly impact your life, as well as leading to iron deficiency and fatigue.
- Causes of heavy periods include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Endometrial cancer (usually accompanied by bleeding between periods also)
- Endometrial hyperplasia (excessive thickening of the uterine lining)
- Severe iron deficiency anemia
- Anovulation (failure to ovulate)
- Underactive thyroid
- Vitamin A deficiency
- IUCD use
- Depo provera injections
- Excessively heavy menstrual bleeding
- Large clots passed during period
Some medical investigation may be required to eliminate underlying causes of heavy bleeding, such as fibroids or thyroid problems.
Heavy periods usually respond extremely well to treatment with TCM. Commonly energetic imbalances will be found which contribute to heavy bleeding. These include: heat and or dampness in the blood; a stagnation of blood or emptiness and weakness of the kidney and spleen meridian. Where there is an issue with “heat”, periods are usually characterised by flooding, bright red blood; they are often early, and sometimes there is bleeding at other times of the month. Deficiency type heavy periods are often pale and watery, and linger on and on for days at a time. This kind of heavy period is accompanied by great feelings of fatigue and weakness.
Treatment usually involves weekly acupuncture for two menstrual cycles or slightly longer. If periods have improved significantly, then treatment can be reduced to once every two weeks for a few more cycles.
Dietary adjustment includes changing the profile of dietary fats; eliminating alcohol, heating foods and caffeine; adopting a low glycemic diet to adjust insulin levels. Herbal medicine and nutritionally supplements are also prescribed.