A heavy period can range from anything such as needing extra thick pads and tampons, to being a medical issue called “Menorrhagia”.
For some a heavy period is highly inconvenient, and for others it can be debilitating.
The point at which a heavy period can become menorrhagia is the severity. With menorrhagia, one can not maintain usual activities because of the flooding, blood loss and cramping.
If you have menorrhagia, you will need to address some of the many causes including hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids, cancer, pregnancy complications, adenomyosis, polyps, or even IUDs.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, heavy or flooding periods nearly always have to do with 3 causes. Sometimes a combination of the 3 causes may be seen.
The first cause is a weak qi, which fails to hold the blood in the vessels resulting in uncontrolled blood loss. This may be likened to a hose where the integrity of the rubber is compromised, and so it fails to contain the water flowing within.
It springs leaks here and there leading to uncontrolled blood loss.
The second cause is from heat in the blood. You may think of this situation as follows: When you boil water, the fluids bubble and move recklessly in the pot. When there is excess heat in a woman, her menstrual blood may also move recklessly leading to heavy or uncontrolled bleeding.
The third cause of heavy menstrual cycle is where there is blood stagnation. If you build a dam in the river, the circulation is blocked.
The pressure builds up behind the dam, and eventually either the dam will overflow, or will break from all the pressure. When you have blood stasis in the uterus, the blood can also be hard to control, and so will move recklessly.
In nearly all cases of heavy menstruation, Chinese medicine practitioners will look at the quality of Spleen Qi and the functioning of the Liver.
One of the Spleen’s role is to keep the blood within the vessels. Strong Spleen qi means that the menstrual cycle will flow in a more controlled fashion, rather than erratically.
The Liver is the organ for smooth flow of blood and qi. It is the organ that is most likely to heat up causing reckless blood flow. A good working Liver will result is consistent regulated blood flow during the cycle.