Abnormal uterine bleeding according to Chinese Medicine

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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 poor appetite, fatigue and pale complexion in the pattern “Spleen not controlling Blood”. As you will see below, we have in record three 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 three 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 three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding

In Chinese Medicine abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Spleen not controlling Blood

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with Spleen not controlling Blood include poor appetite, fatigue and pale complexion.

Spleen not controlling Blood is often treated with Gui Pi Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Gui Pi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi and blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood".

Read more about Spleen not controlling Blood here

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold include abdominal masses, lower abdominal pain and lower abdominal distension.

Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold is often treated with Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Szechuan Lovage Roots - Chuan Xiong - as a key herb). Shao Fu Zhu Yu 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: "Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood".

Read more about Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold here

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

Liver Qi Stagnation with Spleen Qi Deficiency that transforms into Heat

In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, other symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation with Spleen Qi Deficiency that transforms into Heat include palpitations, irritability and spontaneous sweating.

Liver Qi Stagnation with Spleen Qi Deficiency that transforms into Heat is often treated with Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Jia Wei Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation".

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation with Spleen Qi Deficiency that transforms into Heat here

Three herbal formulas that might help with abnormal uterine bleeding

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 'Spleen not controlling Blood' of which abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Spleen Not Controlling Blood include poor appetite, fatigue and pale complexion.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.

Why might Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner caused by Cold' of which abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Blood Stagnation In The Lower Burner Caused By Cold include abdominal masses, lower abdominal pain and lower abdominal distension.

Read more about Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang here

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Source date: Ming dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation. Tonifies Spleen. Clears Deficient Heat. Nourishes the blood.

Why might Jia Wei Xiao Yao San help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Qi Stagnation with Spleen Qi Deficiency that transforms into Heat' of which abnormal uterine bleeding is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Qi Stagnation With Spleen Qi Deficiency That Transforms Into Heat include palpitations, irritability and spontaneous sweating.

Read more about Jia Wei Xiao Yao San here

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

Why might Dried Ginger (Gan Jiang) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat abnormal uterine bleeding and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom (such as Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang for instance).

Dried Ginger is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Stomach, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and expels Cold. Restores collapse of Yang and expels Interior Cold. Warms the Lungs and assists expectoration of Cold Phlegm. Stops chronic bleeding caused by Cold.

Read more about Dried Ginger here

Why might Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat abnormal uterine bleeding and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom (such as Gui Pi Tang for instance).

Milkvetch Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Wei Qi and stops perspiration. Tonifies the Spleen Qi and the Yang Qi of the Earth Element. Tonifies the Qi and Blood. Expels pus and assists in the healing of wounds. Helps to regulate water metabolism in the body and reduce edema.

Read more about Milkvetch Roots here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom, like Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with abnormal uterine bleeding?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat abnormal uterine bleeding as a symptom, like Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Other symptoms often associated with abnormal uterine bleeding

Tinnitus Sores Palpitations Dizziness Night sweats Hematemesis Hematochezia Diarrhea Insomnia Nosebleed