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‘Leaving this disorder for too
long without treatment perhaps
out of fear will result in other
health issues manifesting,
extreme fatigue and anemia.’
The term menorrhagia is used to
describe heavy bleeding that
goes on for a longer than normal
men strual flow of 5 -7 days.
Approximately 40ml of men strual fluid is
passed during the average period with the
bleeding stopping onc e the lining of the
uterus (endometrium) is shed.
Bleeding is often referred to as excessive
a nd heavy when more than 80ml is lost,
including any spotting at other times in
the menstrual cycle. It is more common in
women over 40 who are on the verge of peri
menopa use or menopause but it can still
a f fect younger women.
Heavy bleeding is one of the signs that
menopa use is approaching and the woman’s
c ycles c an lengthen or shorten in duration.
Sometimes mid cycle bleeding will occur.
Heavy bleeding can a lso be an indication
of other illness that may be present, such
a s endometriosis, uterine cancer or c anc er
of the cervix. Polyps or fibroids can also
be instrumental in causing heavy bleeding
depending on the loc ation a nd size of
the fibroids. Some small fibroids cause
no problem but others may cau se pain as
they increase in size. They can also block
the fallopian tubes and interfere with the
function of other organs such as the bowel.
Stress can contribute to heavy bleeding
by disrupting the endocrine system. If the
pituitary gland is over stimul ated due to
excess stress, an imbalance of hormones
results with changes to the menstrual cycle
a nd function of the endocrine system.
Heavy bleeding ca n a lso be a sign of iron
deficiency, so diet needs to be addressed.
Serum iron levels should be mea sured to
determine any deficiency in iron store s.
Intrauterine devic es or IUDs have been
known to contribute to he avy bleeding,
a long with ectopic pregna ncy where the
fertilised egg lodges in the fallopian tube
instead of the uterine lining.
Some hormona l c ontraceptive pills and
HRT have been known to instigate heavy
bleeding; you re ally should con sult with
your prescribing doctor if this happen s.
Other causes are: Hypothyroidism,
polycy stic ovarian disease (PCOD), Stein-
Leventhal syndrome, ovarian tumour, obesity,
coag ulation disorders, thrombocytopenia ,
disease, leukaemia, ingestion of aspirin or
anticoagulants, renal failure/dialysis.
In the majority of ca ses, most medical
people will say the cause of menorrhagia
is unknown. Recent research indicates
that a particular chemical substance inside
the uterus contributes to the process of
men struation. Endothelin is a substance that
helps to stop the bleeding, but women with
menorrhagia have very little endothelin.
Sugg estions from this re sea rch a re that
exc es sive bleeding could b e curbed with
medications that act on endothelin level s.
However, a ny synthetic hormone s you ta ke
may result in other side affects.
Treatment for menorrhagia depends on the
cause and can include:
inhibitors , hormone therapy or antibiotics.
• Dilatation and curettage (D&C) where
the cervi x is dilated a nd the endometrium
gently scraped away.
• Change of contraception – IUD or
hormone s may need to b e e xplored.
• Surgery to remove tumours, polyps or
fibroids, or to treat ectopic pregnancy.
• Treatment of underlying disorder –
hypothyroidism or bleeding disorder.
• Hysterectomy – the removal of the
entire uterus is a drastic last resort, and
usua l ly not considered a s a treatment for
menorrhagia unless serious disease, such a s
cancer, is also present.
Natural Therapy Treatments
Natural therapists would always take into
consideration the thyroid and liver function,
which a s part of the endocrine sy stem have
a direct influence on the men strual c ycle
• Herbs and/or homoeopathics and
supplements a fter the cause ha s been
• Bowen Therapy can establish a balanced
flow of qi energ y and blood to the uterine
area while alleviating any cramps or pain
a nd relea sing stress. Many people are still
unaware of this therapy and the many
benefits you can receive for a myriad
of health disorders by working along
meridian pathways with gentle movements
that send neurologic al messages to the
brain. It is non-manipul ative (unlike
Chiropractic which manipulate s), gentle
and non invasive and can be received while
wea ring loose clothing. B owen therapy has
been known to stop the bleeding in some
c a ses sometimes with just one treatment,
but the cause must always be investigated.
• Acupuncture is another therapy to rec eive
in conjunction with any remedies a
naturopath prescribes, bal ancing qi energy
via meridian pathways, using tiny needle s
in the application. The expertise of the
ac upuncturist is important. They do not
necessarily need to tap the needle and turn
it, which can create pain. You need to ask
• Meditation to combat stress along with
enc oura ging 7-8 hours of unbroken sle ep
a night. If there are sleep problems such as
insomnia then this is treated with necessary
remedies. Lifestyle factors c ontributing to
stress need to be addressed. Over the years,
I have had positive feedba ck from many
people who have e xperienced the b enefits
of meditation for stress and various health
disorders , some saying they have slept
through the night for first time in yea rs.
• Fish oils/Cod Liver Oil are important
nutrients since rese arch indicate s that
vitamin A is generally deficient in heavy
bleeders. The qu ality of any supplement
is very important – cheaper oils may not
be optimum in nutrition and some can be
rancid or contain traces of heavy metals
such as mercury.
• Diet must be addressed – a wholesome
healthy diet with good quality proteins, high
complex unrefined carbohydrates if you do
eat some grains, but I would recommend
eliminating all grains if possible including
anything that includes gluten/yeast. Gluten
a nd yeast contribute to inflammation and
bloating. Include plenty of dark green leafy
vegetables and natural sugars from fruit,
which play an integral role in your overall
health and maintaining a healthy balanced
• Some herbal remedies that could be used
to assist you would be Shepherds Purse,
Vitex Agnus Cast u s, Greater Periwinkle,
Crane sbill, Helonias,
Hydrastis and Blue Cohosh. S ome of the
homeopathics that could be used to assist
heav y bleeding are Sepia, C aulophyllum,
Secale cor, Sabina, Melifolium, Ham amelis,
Trillium pendulum and Cyclamen to name
a few. However it is important that you
do not self prescribe any of these remedies
at all! Some are what herbalists refer to as
“low dose” herbs and can make matters
worse if you are not skilled in formulations
or understand what the actives of each
plant can do. Herbs are potent and
not to be underestimated. They
have to be handled by trained
herbalists many of whom
have studied for up to three
I recommend anyone
e xp eriencing
bleeding obtain an
ultra sound, and have a full blood count
to determine any deficiencies. Also have a
full hormona l reading, including thyroid,
and a pap smear then decide if you wish
to see a medical doctor or a qualified
naturopath or ac upuncturist for treatment.
Leaving this disorder for too long without
treatment perhaps out of fe ar will result in
other health issues manifesting, extreme
fatigue and a nemia. Hysterectomy is not
always necessary if you begin to treat the
disorder in the very early stage s. Remember
there are other options tha n convention al
pharmaceutical drugs which can create
many side effects.
Sydney-based Lyn Craven is a practitioner of
naturopathy, nutrition, medical herbalism, Bowen
therapy, Reiki energy healing, meditation, and is
a corporate health presenter/consultant with 18
years experience in natural therapies.
ww w.facebook .com / naturopathandBowenTherapy
Disclaimer: Information presented in this column is not
intended as medical advice but to advance the understanding
of holistic nutrition and lifestyle and its place in a balanced
approach to health. Readers are encouraged to be guided by
their own healthcare professionals.
Naturopath Lyn Craven sheds some light on one of those
generally taboo subjects – heavy menstrual bleeding.
‘Heavy bleeding is one of
the signs that menopause is
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