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Search Health Information    Menorrhagia (Holistic)

Menorrhagia (Holistic)

About This Condition

A heavier than normal period can be difficult to deal with and may signal other health issues. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Add some A

    To help normalize menstrual blood loss, take 50,000 IU of vitamin A each day, for no more than 15 days

  • Keep an eye on iron

    Take a blood test to find out if you need iron supplements to replace lost iron and help prevent further bleeding

  • Make time for a checkup

    Visit your healthcare provider to find out if your menorrhagia is caused by a treatable medical condition

About

About This Condition

Menorrhagia is the medical term for excessive bleeding at the time of the menstrual period, either in number of days or amount of blood or both.

Excessive menstrual bleeding must be evaluated by a doctor in order to rule out potentially serious underlying conditions that can cause this problem.

Symptoms

Menorrhagia does not produce symptoms unless blood loss is significant, at which time symptoms of anemia , such as fatigue, may occur. Women with menorrhagia may have heavy menstrual bleeding (consistently changing pads or tampons more frequently than every hour) or a period that lasts more than eight days.

Supplements

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Supplement Why
3 Stars
Iron (Iron-Deficiency Anemia)
100 to 200 mg daily under medical supervision if deficient
Learn More

Since blood is rich in iron , excessive blood loss can lead to iron depletion. Iron deficiency can be identified with simple blood tests. If an iron deficiency is diagnosed, many doctors recommend 100–200 mg of iron per day, although recommendations vary widely.

The relationship between iron deficiency and menorrhagia is complicated. Not only can the condition lead to iron deficiency, but iron deficiency can lead to or aggravate menorrhagia by reducing the capacity of the uterus to stop the bleeding. Supplementing with iron decreases excess menstrual blood loss in iron-deficient women who have no other underlying cause for their condition.1 , 2 However, iron supplements should be taken only by people who have, or are at risk of developing, iron deficiency.

2 Stars
Vitamin A
50,000 IU of vitamin A each day taken under the supervision of a doctor
Learn More

In a study of women with menorrhagia who took 25,000 IU of vitamin A twice per day for 15 days, 93% showed significant improvement and 58% had a complete normalization of menstrual blood loss.3 However, women who are or could become pregnant should not supplement with more than 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg) per day of vitamin A.

1 Star
Black Horehound
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.4 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 5 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

1 Star
Cinnamon
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.6 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 7 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

1 Star
Cranesbill
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.8 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 9 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

1 Star
Flavonoids
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Both vitamin C and flavonoids protect capillaries (small blood vessels) from damage. In so doing, they might protect against the blood loss of menorrhagia. In one small study, 88% of women with menorrhagia improved when given 200 mg vitamin C and 200 mg flavonoids three times per day.10 In another study, 70% of women with excessive menstrual bleeding experienced at least a 50% reduction in bleeding after taking a flavonoid product.11 The preparation used in this study contained 90% diosmin and 10% hesperidin and was given in the amount of 1,000 mg per day, beginning five days prior to the expected start of menstruation and continuing until the end of bleeding for three cycles.

1 Star
Oak
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.12 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 13 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

1 Star
Periwinkle
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.14 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 15 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

1 Star
Shepherd's Purse
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.16 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 17 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

1 Star
Vitamin C
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Both vitamin C and flavonoids protect capillaries (small blood vessels) from damage. In so doing, they might protect against the blood loss of menorrhagia. In one small study, 88% of women with menorrhagia improved when given 200 mg vitamin C and 200 mg flavonoids three times per day.18 In another study, 70% of women with excessive menstrual bleeding experienced at least a 50% reduction in bleeding after taking a flavonoid product.19 The preparation used in this study contained 90% diosmin and 10% hesperidin and was given in the amount of 1,000 mg per day, beginning five days prior to the expected start of menstruation and continuing until the end of bleeding for three cycles.

1 Star
Vitamin E
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

In a study of women with menorrhagia associated with the use of an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control, supplementing with 100 IU of vitamin E every other day corrected the problem in all cases within ten weeks (63% responded within four weeks).20 The cause of IUD-induced menstrual blood loss is different from that of other types of menorrhagia; therefore, it’s possible that vitamin E supplements might not help with menorrhagia not associated with IUD use.

1 Star
Vitex
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Among women taking vitex , menorrhagia has reportedly improved after taking the herb for several months.21 With its emphasis on long-term balancing of a woman’s hormonal system, vitex is not a fast-acting herb. For frequent or heavy periods, vitex can be used continuously for six to nine months. Forty drops of the concentrated liquid herbal extract of vitex can be added to a glass of water and drunk in the morning. Vitex is also available in powdered form in tablets and capsules. Thirty-five to forty milligrams may be taken in the morning.

1 Star
Witch Hazel
Refer to label instructions
Learn More

Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.22 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 23 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill , periwinkle , witch hazel , and oak , were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

References

1. Samuels, AJ. Studies in patients with functional menorrhagia: the antimenorrhagic effect of the adequate replication of iron stores. Isr J Med Sci 1965;1:851–3.

2. Taymor ML, Sturgis SH, Yahia C. The etiological role of chronic iron deficiency in production of menorrhagia. JAMA 1964;187:323–7.

3. Lithgow DM, Politzer WM. Vitamin A in the treatment of menorrhagia. S Afr Med J 1977;51:191–3.

4. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

5. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

6. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

7. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

8. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

9. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

10. Cohen JD, Rubin HW. Functional menorrhagia: treatment with bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp 1960;2:539–42.

11. Mukherjee GG, Gajaraj AJ, Mathias J, Marya D. Treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding with micronized flavonoids. Int J Gynaecol Obstet2005;89:156–7.

12. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

13. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

14. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

15. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

16. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

17. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

18. Cohen JD, Rubin HW. Functional menorrhagia: treatment with bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp 1960;2:539–42.

19. Mukherjee GG, Gajaraj AJ, Mathias J, Marya D. Treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding with micronized flavonoids. Int J Gynaecol Obstet2005;89:156–7.

20. Dasgupta PR, Dutta S, Banerjee P, Majumdar S. Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) in the management of menorrhagia associated with the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices (ICUD). Int J Fertil 1983;28:55–6.

21. Bone K. Vitex agnus-castus: Scientific studies and clinical applications. Eur J Herbal Med 1994;1:12–5.

22. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.

23. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

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