I have had my period for the last 4 weeks and am having really bad clotting, is there anything I can do?
Menorrhagia (hypermenorrhea) involves abnormally heavy bleeding (either in quantity or duration) at the time of menstruation that may or may not be associated with long menstrual periods. Menorrhagia is determined when menstrual bleeding lasts for longer than seven days.
Normal menstrual flow produces a total blood loss of 30-40 milliliters (about two to three tablespoonfuls). An individual's period may be regular or irregular, light or heavy, painful or pain-free, long or short and still be considered normal. Menorrhagia refers to losing 80 milliliteres or more of blood during the menstrual cycle.
Possible reasons for menorrhagia
- Sub-optimal levels of the female hormone Progesterone
- Underlying reproductive complaints such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, Luteal phase defect.
- Chronic Iron deficiency or low Folic acid levels
- Estrogen dominance
- Excessive consumption of saturated fats (these increase Estradiol levels
- Obesity (excessive quantities of Estradiol)
- Rejection of femininity, guilt and fear are the emotions linked to the reproductive system and menstrual complaints according to Louise Hay in her book "You can heal your life".
- Reproductive inflammation
- History of the oral contraceptive pill
- Precancerous conditions
- Liver stagnation in Chinese Medicine is a causative factor behind reproductive issues. The liver governs the quality of blood and circulation to the reproductive organs and pelvic area. Heavy blood loss, clots and dark blood is an indication of reduce liver function and toxicity.
It is strongly recommended to make a consultation with a Healthcare professional to further investigate the causes of the problem, please dont feel embarrassed as you should feel proud to be a women. Many females have reproductive concerns and if left untreated may cause further complications and poor health in the long term, it is best to address the problem now and ask for help. It is a concern that you have been bleeding for such a prolonged time as blood loss can leave women feeling extremely depleted as Iron and B Vitamin levels are dramatically decreased.
Tests to help determine underlying reasons for menorrhagia
- Have a full blood test to determine nutritional status (especially B Vitamins and Iron) and take a supplement which contains both of these important nutrients to help build new red blood cells and decrease the strain on the spleen to produce the new red blood cells which you have lost in the menstrual blood.
- Have a blood test which includes liver and thyroid function and inflammatory mediators.
- Speak to your doctor about further tests to determine the cause of the heavy and prolonged bleeding which may include internal examination or ultrasound. The complaint will continue if you do not address it, further down the track this condition may result in other complications.
- Do a hormonal status blood test to determine the effect that female hormones are having on the reproductive cycle, often menorrhagia occurs due to low Progesterone and high Estrogen (Estradiol).
Lifestyle factors for menorrhagia
- In Chinese Medicine the liver governs reproductive health, if the liver is sluggish or congested this impacts the circulation and enervation of the pelvic area. The darker and heavier the menstrual blood is and the quality of blood (clots) determines how well the liver is able to cleanse and restore the reproductive organs. Dirty, thick menstrual blood is often linked to a decrease in liver function, ultimately menstrual blood should be bright red in color, without clots and no flooding should occur
- Acupuncture to help stimulate reproductive and liver blood flow and detoxification and relieve constrained Qi
- Do a gentle liver detox and follow a low estrogenic diet Prolonged and excessive bleeding requires medical support, you may also like to make an appointment with a Healthcare professional who can take a case history and work alongside your doctor in helping to improve your situation. A Naturopath will take a full case history which includes past and present health, family history, supplements and medications, diet and lifestyle. They can tailor a regime to best suit your needs and support you emotionally as well
Natural therapies for menorrhagia
The following are some options to help this condition, however prolonged and excessive bleeding requires medical support an:
- The herb Vitex Agnus-castus is a traditional womens herb used to raise Progesterone levels and balance Estrogen and the Pituitary Gland (master hormonal regulating gland in the brain)
- Supplemental B12, Folic acid and Iron. Due to the amount of blood loss these nutrients will be depleted and need to be replenished
- Other herbs which help to balance hormones are: Beth Root, Shepherds Purse, Black Cohosh, Rehmannia, Dong Quai, Paeonia and Horsetail
- The Chinese Medicine herb Tienchi Ginseng is recommended for heavy bleeding due to its anti-haemorrhagic effects