Prolonged periods according to Chinese Medicine

Prolonged menstruation, Prolonged menstrual bleeding, Long periods and Long menstruation redirect here

Prolonged periods factsheet

Chinese name: 经期延长

Pinyin name: Jīng Qí Yán Cháng

Possible causes and remedies:

Women who suffer from this condition have their periods start at the right time with a normal volume but the periods continue beyond the normal period time (5 days or so), typically with a scanty, even dribbling volume. Sometimes the periods can last up to 10 days or even longer.

This condition should be differentiated from abnormal uterine bleeding, the key difference being that periods for women who suffer from abnormal uterine bleeding tend to start earlier than normal with a sudden large flooding of blood (on top of continuing trickling after they should have ended). Prolonged periods is also different from intermenstrual bleeding. Again they both involve a vaginal blood loss in between periods but for prolonged periods the bleeding doesn't cease after the normal menstruation time while intermenstrual bleeding tends to occur right in between two periods. Prolonged periods differs from irregular menstruation as well: the latter refers to periods starting and stopping without fixed schedule. Finally it's also different from heavy menstruation which refers to an excessive amount of blood loss during menstruation time, but not beyond.

As you can see below we've detailed for you the two "patterns of disharmony" associated with prolonged periods. Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to a Western condition, as a matter of fact here prolonged periods can be explained by two different patterns.

Each of those patterns can be treated with one or several herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. It is the Chinese Medicine equivalent to drugs, apart that it's 100% natural!

In total we detail below four formulas that can help treat the various patterns that cause prolonged periods, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with prolonged periods

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formulas: Liang Di Tang, Er Zhi Wan

Symptoms: Dry throat Dry stools Malar flush Night sweats Scanty periods

Having too many children too close to each other or prolonged overwork without proper rest can harm Kidney Yin. It can lead to Empty Heat if the Deficient condition is not addressed for a long time. Then the Blood get agitated by the Heat and leaks out of vessels continuously even when the periods should have ended. 

The treatment principle is to nourish Yin, consolidates the Kidneys, clear Empty Heat, stop bleeding and regulates the periods.

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the key herb for Si Wu Tang, a formula used for Qi and Blood Stagnation

Qi and Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Purple in the centre

Recommended herbal formulas: Si Wu Tang, Jin Ling Zi San

Symptoms: Depression Irritability Scanty periods Abdominal pain Dark colored blood Abdominal distension Dark clots in menstrual blood

If the abnormally long periods are caused by Qi and Blood Stagnation, the key characteristic is dark period blood with dark clots. The volume of the period is typically very scanty towards the end. 

The Liver is the major Organ involved in this pattern. Emotional stress such as anger, resentment or sadness can harm Liver function and cause Liver Qi Stagnation. If untreated for a while, it can degenerate further into Liver Blood Stagnation. Eventually the Directing and Penetrating Vessels are blocked by the stagnated Blood, therefore newly created Blood has no place to go and leaks out in small quantity even thought the periods should have ended. 

The treatment principle is to move Qi, invigorate Blood and remove Stagnation.

Read more about Qi and Blood Stagnation here

The four herbal formulas that might help with prolonged periods

Liang Di Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Cools Blood. Stop bleeding.

Why might Liang Di Tang help with prolonged periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with prolonged periods. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney Yin Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Liang Di Tang here

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Why might Si Wu Tang help with prolonged periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Qi and Blood Stagnation, a pattern sometimes associated with prolonged periods. If it looks like you might suffer from Qi and Blood Stagnation, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Si Wu Tang here

Er Zhi Wan

Source date: 1534 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Liver Yin. Nourishes Kidney Yin.

Why might Er Zhi Wan help with prolonged periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with prolonged periods. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney Yin Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Er Zhi Wan here

Jin Ling Zi San

Source date: 992 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Moves Liver Blood and Liver Qi. Drains Liver Heat or Fire. Stops pain.

Why might Jin Ling Zi San help with prolonged periods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Qi and Blood Stagnation, a pattern sometimes associated with prolonged periods. If it looks like you might suffer from Qi and Blood Stagnation, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Jin Ling Zi San here