Cheshire Medical Herbalist

Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) Treatment

What is Menorrhagia?

It is useful when understanding medical terms to dissect the word.  Meno literally means monthly, rhagia derives from a greek verb meaning to burst out. Menorrhagia therefore means heavier than normal bleeding during a period.  Normal menstrual blood loss is defined as between 20-80ml- though of course acute measurement is very difficult!

Why does it occur?

It is essential that the cause is ascertained before treatment for menorrhagia (heavy periods) commences. Sometimes diagnosis can be made from taking a detailed case history, sometimes procedures such as dilatation and curettage, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are necessary.

The most common causes are:

  1. Functional menorrhagia
  2. Uterine fibroids
  3. Uterine polyps
  4. Endometriosis
  5. Adenomyosis
  6. Pelvic Inflammatory disease
  7. Contraceptive
  8. Non-gynaecological causes.

Functional menorrhagia

This is the most common cause of heavier than normal bleeding at menstruation.  It means that there is nothing essential wrong, but there is an abnormality of function. Natural therapists believe that this is caused by disruption of the hypothalamic –pituitary-ovarian axis.

Fibroids

This is other main cause of excessive menstruation affecting approximately 20% of  women. These are non-cancerous (fibrous) tumours of the uterus, usually in the myometrium (muscle wall) and are most commonly diagnosed with an ultrasound.

Treatment for Menorrhagia (heavy periods) by a Herbalist

Once the cause is ascertained I would prescribe a combination of the most appropriate herbs from the following categories

  1. Uterine anti-haemorrrhagics: e.g. Trillium erectum, Achillea millefolium, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Alchemilla vulgais.
  2. Hormone regulators: e.g. Vitex agnes castus, dietary phyto-oestrogens
  3. Uterine tonics: Angelica sinensis, Aletris farinosa
  4. Prostaglandin balances: Tanacetum parthenium
  5. Improve liver function: Taraxaxum off. Rad, Silybum marianum, Cynara scolymus
  6. Restore strength and vitality: e.g. Withania somnifera, Astralagus membranaceus
  7. In addition supplements to counteract nutritional deficiencies

I suggest that you seek advice from your GP if you suffer any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Irregular periods (except at adolescence or peri-menopause)
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Blood clots

If you would like to discuss any aspect of herbal medicine in more depth please contact me on 07985 200805.