What is the best way to determine if your menstrual cycle is abnormally heavy? Take note of how often you need to change your pad or tampon. If your period is heavy enough to require changing more often than every one or two hours, or if you have a period that lasts more than a full week, you may have menorrhagia. Depending on the cause, it could also be associated with abnormally painful periods.
Causes of Menorrhagia
The condition should always be diagnosed by a doctor to rule out a variety of potentially serious underlying conditions such as cancer and uterine fibroids. A hormonal imbalance during adolescence or menopause is a common cause of heavy menstrual bleeding. Others causes include:
- Vitamin K deficiency
- IUD (Intra-Uterine Device). These contraceptive devices can cause abnormally heavy periods. If this occurs another form of birth control should be sought.
- Uterine fibroids: thought to be estrogen-dependent.
- Cervical polyps are small, fragile growths that begin in either the mucosal surface of the cervix, or the endocervical canal and protrude through the opening of the cervix.
- Endometrial polyps are typically non-cancerous growths that protrude from the lining of the uterus. They are often associated with an excess of estrogen following hormone treatment or some types of ovarian tumors.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of one or more organs that affects the uterus, fallopian tubes, and cervix. PID is, most often, a sexually transmitted disease; however, it sometimes occurs following childbirth or other gynecological procedures.
- Bleeding disorders or Von Willebrand disease: A rare inherited blood coagulation disorder characterized by a deficiency or defect in plasma protein called the von Willebrand factor which leads to bleeding problems.
- Menstrual bleeding lasts more than seven days
- Tampon or pad must be changed every every one to two hours
We address this condition by addressing vitamin deficiencies, balancing the hormones and detoxifying the liver. Deficiencies in D and A in adolescent girls can result in infertility, excessive bleeding during menstruation and anemia.1 Vitamin A stores are depleted by stress, including the stress of pregnancy. Foods rich in Vitamin D and Vitamin A, such as butterfat from grass-fed cows, liver and other organ meats and wild-caught fish are very beneficial to the health of the reproductive organs. Along with pastured raw dairy and grass-fed meats, eating dark leafy greens, fresh herbs, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are another good way to obtain vitamin K (which is often low in women with menorrhagia). Your intestinal bacteria also are responsible for producing vitamin K, which is why fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut are so important.
Foods such as apples, cherries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower contain a pyhytochemical called indole-3-carbinol, which supports the liver’s detoxification of estrogen. Beets, onions, garlic,and carrots stimulate liver detoxification. 2 Tbsp. of flaxseeds in 10 oz. water (daily) helps balance estrogen levels
Good quality protein, phosphorous, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and iron are all recommended for conditions involving the reproductive organs.2 In order to absorb these minerals and protein, one must have the appropriate amounts of natural sources of vitamin A and D in the diet.
Cod liver oil provides the best source of vitamin A in the retinol form, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Excessive bleeding respond very well to vitamin A therapy. In South Africa, vitamin A has been used as standard practice for the treatment of menorrhagia since 1977 with a 92 percent cure rate.3 Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in hormone regulation.
Iron deficiency is a critical problem for women suffering from heavy bleeding but iron cannot be absorbed without proper amounts of vitamin A. Many women have reported that bleeding worsened when iron was given without supplementation with vitamin A.4
The good bacteria in your gut produce vitamin K along with b-vitamins.
*Salicylates are substances that also block the action of vitamin K. Aspirins contain high amounts of salicylates, which is why people who take lot of aspirin often develop bleeding problems. Certain foods are high in salicylates; check with your practitioner to determine if you are sensitive to them.
Helps with the lining of the uterus and helps iron absorption.
Calcium and magnesium play a major role in reproductive health and are consistently too low in the diet.
1. Bottom Line’s Prescription for Natural Cures, James F. Balch, MD and Mark Stengler, ND
2. Wise Choices, Healthy Bodies: Diet for the Prevention of Women’s Diseases, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD, Weston A. Price Foundation