Menorrhagia is a term for excessive blood loss due to heavy menstrual bleeding or an extended menstrual period. Decline in hormones, especially progesterone, as a woman nears menopause, is the most common cause of menorrhagia. It is important to get a proper diagnosis before attempting to use natural medicine because you must determine whether the condition is caused by hormone changes, fibroids, polyps, endometriosis, or tumors. Another cause is von Willebrand disease, a membrane bleeding disorder affecting an estimated 1% of the population worldwide (Lusher, 1999).
All the above problems need to be treated separately, as in the case of another specific cause—low levels of vitamin A. In a South African study, researchers found a statistically significant difference between the fasting serum vitamin A values of healthy controls and patients with menorrhagia. Furthermore, vitamin A therapy alleviated menorrhagia in 92% of these patients (Lithgow and Politzer, 1977).
After assessment and treatment of underlying pathology, you can control bleeding with astringent or hemostatic herbs chosen from all traditions, such as tien chi root, asoka bark (Saraca indica), di yu root (Sanguisorbia officinalis ), cramp bark (Viburnum opulus), xian he cao herb (Agrimonia pilosa), or typha pollen (pu huang or T. angustifolia ). If the patient is weak or deficient, astragalus root, lotus embryo (lian zi or Nelumbo nucifera), or cooked rehmannia root may be helpful over the long run. If the weakness and blood loss has progressed to anemia, use iron supplements, and herbs from the blood nourishing group.
To stop bleeding quickly, try the Eclectic formula called erigeron-cinnamon compound, available from Herb Pharm. Using these strategies at our clinic, we have been able to slow or stop
many persistent cases of acute menorrhagia. Over a period of three to six cycles we have also stopped or reduced the tendency to bleed excessively.