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Part Two: Remedies for Menstrual Problems
- Categorized in: Specific Health Problems
Having addressed some of the mental and emotional issues that may surround a woman's periods, let's look at some herbal remedies for specific physical problems. I'm going to deliberately skip PMS because will be covered in a separate article. I want to focus on more specific problems.
Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
There are several possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding. These include: excessive estrogen and deficient progesterone, low thyroid, infections in the reproductive organs, stress, excessive weight, fibroids, polyps, and endometriosis. In order to completely remedy the problem, the specific cause will have to be identified and corrected. However, there are some general remedies for heavy bleeding.
Menstrual Reg was formulated primarily for heavy menstrual bleeding, although it may have some benefits for other menstrual problems. I helped create this formula, so I've pleased with what it does. It works primarily in two ways. First, it helps to directly control bleeding through an astringent action that tones tissues. Secondly, it helps to adjust hormone levels from the pituitary.
Menstrual Reg is very effective by itself, but it can be augmented by other herbs. Yarrow is particularly helpful for excessive bleeding in women due to uterine fibroids, and extra yarrow (2 capsules 3 times daily) can be taken along with Menstrual Reg. For extremely heavy bleeding, bayberry and capsicum can be used to help slow the blood flow. Use 2 capsules of bayberry and 1 capsule of capsicum every 2 hours along with 2 capsules of Menstrual Reg until the bleeding subsides.
Another thing that can help stop severe bleeding is to do a retention douche with a decoction made of bayberry rootbark or white oak bark. I've also seen a douche using Colloidal Minerals (1 oz. per pint of water) arrest excessive menstrual bleeding.
If the problem is severe or persistent, consult with a medical doctor for a proper diagnosis. Heavy blood loss can be a serious condition causing severe anemia. If a woman is experiencing some anemia from heavy blood loss, herbs like I-X, yellow dock, alfalfa and nettles can help restore blood iron levels. The Chinese Blood Build Formula is actually very specific for use with women who are anemic and experiencing heavy bleeding. I've seen it work effectively in a number of cases.
Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhea)
Pain during periods typically comes from one of two sources—muscle cramping or inflammation. A slight amount of cramping during the period is normal. This is due to the release of the hormone oxytocin, the same hormone that causes labor pain. Native people considered this slight cramping the body's way of practicing for childbirth.
When cramping is severe and painful however, antispasmodic herbs can be used to ease tense muscles and relax the cramps. Cramp Relief is a formula that contains a number of these herbs and will help to ease these cramping pains. Severe menstrual cramps are often a sign of magnesium deficiency, so women who experience severe cramping pains during periods should consider taking Magnesium Complex on a regular basis. A good program for menstrual cramps would be 2 Magnesium Complex 2-3 times and 2 Cramp Relief 3 times daily.
The other kind of menstrual pain is associated with congestion and inflammation in the pelvic region. This kind of pain is relieved by herbs that decongest pelvic circulation and reduce inflammation. This kind of pain usually occurs just before the period and is relieved once the period starts. Monthly Maintenance is usually very helpful for this type of menstrual pain. It is taken during the 10 days just prior to the start of the period. Other helpful herbs include ginger, yarrow, dong quai, and, believe it or not, Vari-Gone. Using herbs to cleanse the liver (Enviro-Detox or LIV-J) can also be helpful.
Lack of Periods (Amenorrhea)
When periods are scanty, infrequent, or absent, we again need to try to identify the cause. The most common causes are vegetarian diets (or diets low in fats and protein), excessive exercise, stress, general poor health, thyroid imbalances and medications. Some possible remedies for amenorrhea include Super GLA for essential fatty acids, protein supplementation, and remedies for stress.
Female Comfort or FCS II with Lobelia may be helpful for balancing hormone levels for both heavy and scant periods. Herbs that may stimulate menstruation by bringing blood flow to the pelvic area include wormwood (found in Artemesia Combination), blue cohosh, rosemary and yarrow. The essential oils of fennel, geranium, sweet marjoram, rose and yarrow may also be helpful.
Well, that wraps up my short discourse on herbal aids for problems with women's periods. Oh, just to let you in on a little secret—the reason I trust the information I've presented here is because I learned it from some very talented female herbalists. (See, it is possible for a man to actually listen to a woman now and then, which proves it can't all be blamed on hormones.)