I'm anaemic with heavy menstrual flow. What can I do to increase my blood count?

PHOTO: I'm anaemic with heavy menstrual flow. What can I do to increase my blood count?

Chinese medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping can help improve the condition.

Q. I am 46 and have been experiencing heavy menstruation for the past few years.

I am anaemic and have needed blood transfusion before. I am taking iron pills but they are not helping much in increasing my blood count. Please advise me on what else I can do.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), abnormal menstruation with no known cause is probably due to deficiencies in the functions of the liver, kidneys and spleen.

Good circulation of qi (energy) and blood is required for good health.

The liver stores blood and regulates qi circulation. When the liver is weak - due to insufficient qi and blood, or emotions such as anxiety, anger or depression - qi in the liver will stagnate. This creates "heat" and blood stasis, and triggers heavy menstruation with swollen breasts and pain in the lower abdomen.

The kidneys store essence of nutrients and govern human reproduction. When essence in the kidneys is insufficient - due to excessive sexual activities, ageing or chronic diseases - it will trigger heavy menstruation with dizziness, ringing in the ears and aches in the knees and lower back.

The spleen regulates blood circulation and produces qi and blood. When the spleen is weak - due to poor diet, tiredness and stress - it will trigger heavy menstruation with poor appetite, loose stool and cold hands and feet.

Chinese medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping can help improve your condition by strengthening your organs and dispelling disease-causing factors.

Moxibustion involves burning a small herb above acupuncture points to help healing. Cupping involves using fire and cups to create a vacuum on the skin to enhance blood and qi circulation.

Chinese medicine such as Chinese thorowax root, Chinese angelica, cape jasmine fruit, tree peony bark and nutgrass galingale rhizome strengthen the liver, dispel "heat" and enhance qi circulation. Processed rehmannia root, barbary wolfberry fruit, glossy privet fruit, yerbadetajo herb, Chinese taxillus herb, common anemarrhena rhizome and amur cork tree are used to strengthen the kidneys.

Ginseng, milkvetch root, largehead atractylodes rhizome and common yam rhizome strengthen the spleen and increase the amount of qi and blood in the body.

Oyster shell, baical skullcap root, India madder root, carbonised hair and garden burnet root reduce heavy bleeding during menstruation.

Cattail pollen, argy wormwood leaf, hairyvein agrimonia herb and sanqi stop prolonged menstruation.

You should abstain from spicy, oily, raw and cold food during menstruation to strengthen your spleen.

You should also take good care of your personal hygiene and avoid having sexual activity during menstruation to prevent genital infection.

Keep warm and avoid being caught in the rain to prevent "coldness" from invading the womb. Avoid becoming stressed and emotionally worked up. Have sufficient sleep and regular exercise to enhance the qi circulation in your liver.

Ms Lim Lay Beng
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner at YS Healthcare TCM Clinic