Chandini was mortified. A 42 year old primary school teacher and home maker, she suffered acute embarrassment when her clothes became stained because of excessive bleeding while she was taking a class. She had noticed that her periods were becoming extremely heavy during the last couple of months, but had been too busy balancing her housework with her duties at school to do anything about it. Of course, she did take extra precautions on those days, but the incident in the class made her decide to seek medical help. After talking it over with her mother, she opted to go in for Ayurvedic treatment for her condition. The reason for this was that her mother, who had the same problem twenty five years earlier, had been successfully treated by an Ayurvedic physician belonging to one of the legendary families of physicians in Kerala. Chandini therefore decided to consult his daughter, who was carrying on the family tradition.

The Ayurvedic Way

Chandini’s physician explained to her that she was suffering from what is called Menorrhagia in Western Medicine or Rakta Pradara in Ayurveda. Menorrhagia is nothing but excessive bleeding during menstruation. In general, bleeding is considered excessive when a woman needs to change her sanitary protection every hour. In addition, bleeding is considered prolonged when a menstrual period lasts longer than seven days in duration. Generally speaking, in addition to heavy bleeding, a woman might feel pain in the abdomen lumbar region, and hips. In Chandini’s case, she had experienced some giddiness, headaches and breathlessness as well- but she had not realized that these symptoms were related to her condition.
There are many reasons why excessive bleeding occurs. They can range from improper diet and insufficient intake of water, to emotional disturbances, severe anemia, diseases in the pelvis such as fibroids, adenomyosis, polyps, endometriosis, and pelvic infection. Sub involution of uterus, prolapse or inversion could be some of the causes too. Other causes include spontaneous or induced abortions, incomplete abortion, and trauma to uterus as well as ectopic pregnancy. Interuterine devices, anticoagulants and the use of contraceptives can also trigger menorrhagia, while endocrine imbalance can be another cause. In Chandini’s case, after a careful study of her symptoms, constitution and case history, her physician pin pointed the root cause of her Menorrhagia as stress.

Herbs, Diet and Lifestyle Changes

The ancient sages of Ayurveda have formulated several herbal remedies for the treatment of menorrhagia. Ashoka is the herb of choice that has been used to treat this condition for thousands of years, while Lodhra is another. The powder of the barks of these two herbs is administered either separately or in a compound form, in a dose recommended specifically to suit the patient. Chandini was also advised to take seven tender leaves of the pomegranate tree mixed with 7 grains of rice in a paste that was to be taken twice daily for a month. Another very effective remedy is Marigold flower juice. Marigold flowers can be plucked from the garden, washed thoroughly and then made into juice. -1 to 3 tablespoonfuls of freshly prepared juice taken in accordance with the physician’s orders is enough to stop the bleeding. Certain minerals as well as coral and pearl in a powdered form are also recommended in some cases of Menorrhagia.

Chandini was advised to avoid all hot and spicy food. At the same time, she was told that left over rice, soaked overnight in water, was good for her as well as wheat, moong dal, milk and ghee. Milk should be boiled with ginger powder, fennels seeds powder, cardamom powder and black pepper powder as these spices make the milk easily digestible. She was also advised to include plenty of Pomegranate, sugarcane juice, grapes, banana and jack fruit in her diet. In accordance with her physician’s instructions Chandini started a regimen of yoga and meditation to reduce stress, and was careful to avoid heavy work during her periods. Rather, she took plenty of rest, and avoided travelling or going out in the sun during those days.

Chandini was wise to consult her physician when she did, for heavy bleeding can lead to an iron deficiency, and ultimately result in anemia. Today, she enters her classroom with confidence whether she is having her periods or not…and when any of her friends complains about excessive bleeding, she is quick to say “Try Ayurveda”!