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Heavy Periods

My daughter suffers from painful, heavy periods every two weeks.

Question

For the past four months, my teenage daughter has experienced heavy, painful periods that seem to occur every 15 days or so. We consulted her GP, who has suggested that we put her on the pill for six months to stabilise the situation. We are not happy about this course of action. What is your advice?

Answer

I believe that improving general health and regulating the hormones naturally is the best solution for any woman, at any age - and hormones are key to this process. The production of oestrogen stimulates the endometrium (lining of the womb) to grow rapidly in the first half of the cycle, in preparation for receiving a fertilised egg. If the egg is not fertilised, the other main reproductive hormone, progesterone, stops the growth of the thick lining, which by then is full of tiny blood vessels, and prompts it to break up and leave the body. So it is important to make sure that hormones are working well.

However, there are other potential problems. Normally, when the inner lining is cleared, the bleeding stops and the menstrual cycle is completed. This part of the process is dependent on the contraction of a layer of muscle called the myometrium. Blood vessels run through this muscle layer and, at the end of a period, the muscle constricts them so that clots are formed. If, for some reason, proper constriction does not take place, the bleeding will continue. Similarly, bleeding will not stop if the endometrium is nor fully expelled or the clotting system in the blood is poor due to a deficiency in the body.

Sometimes women bleed because of injury to the endometrium (say, through a contraceptive device such as the coil) or infection. An infection usually causes smelly, yellowishbrownish discharge- anyone suffering from this should to see their GP or gynaecologist.
It is important to get the body in the best of health.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Make sure that your daughter's diet includes sufficient protein (eggs, fish and meat, preferably organic) and three to four pieces of fruit daily (including two apples and one banana, but no citrus fruit). Many teenagers become vegetarian, and this does not help the situation, particularly because heavy periods involve the loss of protein (in the blood).
  • Three times a week for three months at least, make these two nourishing recipes to boost her energy. In a juicer, process about four organic carrots and apples (don't peel, but top and tail the carrots and core the apples), and add the juice of a squeezed pomegranate (add the seeds to a salad). Make chicken soup by boiling a jointed poussin (preferably organic) in 2.25 litres-3.4 litres/4pt-6pt fresh water with I clove chopped garlic and ½ tsp grated fresh ginger, a few bay leaves and a cinnamon stick, for about an hour.

Give your daughter these remedies:

  • Lachesis 30: suck two three times a day for three days, starting on the fifth day of bleeding. I also suggest you consult a qualified homoeopath, such as Dr David Curtin, a colleague at the Integrated Medical Centre, who has helped several women with this problem. You can find a qualified homoeopath in your area by contacting the British Homeopathic Association, (www.trusthomeopathy.org ).
  • Shatavari, a traditional Ayurvedic supplement used to regulate hormonal functions, one tablet twice a day for three months.
  • One quarter of a teaspoon of kolonji oil ( nigella sativa) with one teaspoon manuka honey, once a day for three months. This, too, helps to regulate periods and boost energy.
  • Massage the neck and shoulders for ten minutes three times a week with Dr Ali's Lifestyle Massage Oil or 30 drops lavender essential oil in l00ml 3½ fl oz sweet almond or other base oil. This will reduce tension and help blood flow to the pituitary gland in the brain, which is the main controller of reproductive hormones.
  • Your daughter should also support the pituitary gland by avoiding excessive use of a computer (two to three hours a day at most) and using only one pillow to sleep on.
  • She should avoid late nights, which reduce energy.
  • Yoga can regulate menstruation. Particularly helpful postures are the cobra, swing, semi-bridge, abdominal lock and turtle. These are detailed in Therapeutic Yoga, which I co-wrote with Jiwan Brar. For a qualified yoga teacher in your area, contact the British Wheel of Yoga tel:015293 06851( www.bwy.org.uk ).
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