Traditional Chinese medicine to treat abnormal uterine bleeding
Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any bleeding which occurs outside of a normal menstrual flow. This includes spotting small amounts of blood between periods or extremely heavy periods.
Normal vaginal bleeding or menstruation occurs every 21 to 35 days. A menstrual period may last for just a few days or up to a week. Of note, the menstrual flow may be heavier in teens or women nearing menopause.
Abnormal uterine bleeding may be caused by:
- thyroid conditions
- fluctuating hormone levels
- polycystic ovarian syndrome
- changing or stopping birth
- intrauterine devices (IUD)
- menopause related hormone
- noncancerous growths such
- perimenopause (the
transition time before
- infections of the female
- some medications
- cancers and precancerous
conditions of the ovaries,
uterus, vagina or cervix.
Generally, it is best to contact your gynaecologist to evaluate the cause of any abnormal bleeding.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the treatment of any abnormal uterine bleeding seeks to reduce the flow in the event of an excessive menstrual flow or prevent mid-cycle bleeding or spotting, primarily through the use of herbal preparations. These herbs vary in their ability to stop or restrain bleeding and so the herbal selection will vary, depending on the extent of the flow and the surrounding symptoms.
While many of these herbs should be administered under the direction of a certified practitioner, there are a few which are easily accessible and can be taken as follows:
OU JIE (NODUS NELUMBINIS RHIZOMATIS)
This is the node of the lotus plant. In fact, the lotus plant is a very popular plant in Traditional Chinese medicine and has eight parts which are used as medicines. The different parts of the plant, including the flower and the leaves, have different functions. This herb has no known sideeffects and is used for the treatment of various bleeding disorders. Due to its hard texture, this herb should be boiled for 30-60 minutes to make a tea.
LIAN FANG (RECEPTACULUM NELUMBINIS)
This is another part of the lotus plant – the lotus receptacle. This is particularly for profuse menstrual bleeding. This herb should be boiled for no more than 30 minutes.
AI YE (FOLIUM ARTEMISIAE ARGYI)
Ai Ye is indicated for profuse menstrual bleeding and what is referred to as an unstable pregnancy accompanied by some bleeding. Ai Ye is a warm herb and is especially recommended in cases of weakness and cold in the abdomen. It should, therefore, be used cautiously in persons with feelings of heat in the body, excessive sweating or thirst. In the case of pregnancy, the herb should be taken under the guidance of a herbal practitioner.
In the case of chronic bleeding, stronger herbs may be appropriate and are best administered under the guidance of a trained herbal practitioner. Once the bleeding is controlled, the practitioner will then focus treatment on resolving the underlying condition.
Persons taking anticoagulant medications, such as Warfarin, should not take these herbs as their actions work counter to anticoagulant medications.
- Chinese Medical Herbology & Pharmacology. John K. Chen, Tina T. Chen.
Dr Tracey-Ann Brown, BSc, MScA, MScOM, is a Chinese/Oriental medicine practitioner. 17 Latham Avenue, Kingston 6, Suite #5, Fairview Office Park, Montego Bay. Tel: (876) 927-8473, (876) 927-9212
www.nccaomdiplomates.com/acupuncturejamaica. Facebook: An Oriental Medicine Approach!