As a doctor of Chinese medicine and fertility specialist, I look to the subtleties of the menstrual cycle to give me clues about a woman’s fertility. The menstrual cycle tells us so much - not only about the reproductive system but also about the whole body. It allows me to find out exactly what’s going on with the systems, to diagnose the underlying pattern according to Chinese medicine and to know what changes need to be made. When the underlying pattern is treated, fertility is enhanced, hormones become balanced and overall health and well being are restored.
What is a normal menstrual cycle & normal flow?
In a nutshell, a normal menstrual cycle occurs regularly every 28 days, consists of 3 to 7 days of bleeding, minimal PMS symptoms, no clotting or pain and is an average flow (not too heavy and not too light).
I tell my patients that average menstrual flow is when they need to change their pad or tampon about every 3 to 4 hours.
What do heavy periods mean?
Quite commonly, heavy periods are due to high estrogen in the body - this is often referred to as Estrogen dominance. I wouldn’t label heavy periods as estrogen dominance necessarily but it could sometimes be a piece in it.
Heavy periods can also be due to not enough blood circulating through the pelvic region to the uterus.
There could be other conditions involved causing heavy periods such as polyps, cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. It’s always a good idea to see a medical doctor to rule out the above conditions and to find out more information. A medical doctor should check estrogen levels in your blood and possibly do an ultrasound to rule out any abnormalities.
What can help my heavy periods?
I have great news for you! Chinese herbs and acupuncture are a wonderful solution to heavy menstrual flow (and for other discomforts with your menstrual period). Heavy periods can be changed and improved using these tools along with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Supporting the liver is key to get rid of excess estrogen. Some ways to do this is to take milk thistle and turmeric supplements.
Increase water intake to flush out the liver. Try to drink more water than what you’re already drinking. Having a big water bottle with you all the time is very helpful to remind yourself to drink.
Increase dark leafy veggies into your diet to benefit the liver.
A deficiency of vitamin A has been shown to cause heavy periods so make sure to include vitamin A in your supplement regimen and eat more foods that contain Vitamin A such as Liver (yes..I said liver!), carrots, sweet potatoes, lettuce, squash, and cantaloupe to name a few.
Vitamin C is also beneficial for heavy periods as it can strengthen capillary walls to prevent bleeding. Make sure you’re taking your vitamin C every day.
Acupuncture and uterine massage are very beneficial to stimulating blood flow in the pelvic region and eliminating blockage.
Speak to a Chinese medicine fertility specialist to create a treatment plan consisting of Chinese herbs and weekly acupuncture visits. Typically, treatment for a duration of at least three menstrual cycles (three months) is needed to regulate your cycle and help you get pregnant.
Best of luck to you in your path to motherhood 🙂
Yours in Health,