Abnormal uterine bleeding according to Chinese Medicine

abnormal vaginal bleeding, atypical vaginal bleeding, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, flooding and dribbling, flooding and dripping, flooding and trickling, intermenstrual bleeding, metrorrhagia, metrostaxis, midcycle bleeding, midcycle bleeding pain redirect here

Abnormal uterine bleeding can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like abnormal uterine bleeding here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here abnormal uterine bleeding is often associated with dizziness, restlessness and dark clots in menstrual blood in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-stagnation”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of abnormal uterine bleeding we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat abnormal uterine bleeding.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding

In Chinese Medicine abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-stagnation

Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Firm (Lao), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Blood Stagnation, like the name indicates, is when Blood flow becomes Stagnant. It can happen in the whole body or in specific Organs. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the body.

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-stagnation include dizziness, restlessness and dark clots in menstrual blood.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-stagnation is associated with health issues such as Scanty Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-stagnation is often treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Tao He Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dispels Heat and".

Read more about Blood Stagnation here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat include dizziness, restlessness and poor appetite.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat is often treated with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the king ingredient for Si Jun Zi Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-deficiency

Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Qi Deficiency simply means lack of Qi. It includes the lack of Original Qi, Nutritive Qi, Defensive Qi or the Qi that resides in Organs or Channels. It mainly manifests itself in a weakened function of Organs and a declining ability of the body to resist diseases.

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-deficiency include dizziness, thin and watery periods and palpitations.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Qi Deficiency here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-the-blood

Heat in the Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue color: Red

Heat in the Blood (or Blood-Heat) refers to a condition whereby Heat, as a so-called "Pernicious Influence", entered the Blood. This invasion tends to accelerate Blood flow (leading to a faster pulse) and to manifest itself in various types of bleeding as well as other symptoms.

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-the-blood include dizziness, thin and watery periods and tinnitus.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-the-blood is associated with health issues such as Early Menstruation or Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-the-blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Heat in the Blood here

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

Damp-Heat in the Liver

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern is caused by excessive Heat in the Liver and Dampness due to Spleen Deficiency. Dampness can cause the formation of Phlegm.  Patients often have a feeling of fullness. It is often caused by bad diet and lifestyle, hot and damp environment and emotional stress such as anger.

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat-in-the-liver include poor appetite, dark urine and irregular menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat-in-the-liver is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Liver here

Five herbal formulas that might help with abnormal uterine bleeding

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/blood-stagnation' of which abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom.

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Why might Yin Chen Hao Tang help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat' of which intermenstrual bleeding is a symptom.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao Tang here

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/qi-deficiency' of which abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Why might Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-in-the-blood' of which abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom.

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat-in-the-liver' of which midcycle bleeding is a symptom.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Acupuncture points used for abnormal uterine bleeding

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat abnormal uterine bleeding

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom, like Yin Chen Hao Tang or Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a key herb in Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi Deficiency' (a pattern with abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom)

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a key herb in Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' (a pattern with abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom)

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here

Why might Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a key herb in Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Liver' (a pattern with abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom)

Chinese Gentian is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. Clears Liver-Fire. Clears Liver-Wind.

Read more about Chinese Gentian here

Why might Virgate Wormwood (Yin Chen) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a key herb in Yin Chen Hao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' (a pattern with abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom)

Virgate Wormwood is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Drains Damp and clears Heat, especially from the Liver and Gallbladder. Eliminates Heat and relieves the Exterior. Relieve Jaundice.

Read more about Virgate Wormwood here