Ginger and heavy menstrual bleeding
Excessive menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia is a common female problem and can be completely prevented with a simple herbal prescription ginger capsule. Ginger and heavy menstrual bleeding
The main cause of functional menorrhagia (that is, not caused by uterine fibroids or endometriosis) is abnormal biochemical processes in the endometrium (lining of the uterus).
A common abnormality is the alteration of arachidonic acid metabolism. This fatty acid comes from meat and dairy products and can be converted into a hormone complex called prostaglandin. Women with menorrhagia have much more arachidonic acid that accumulates in the endometrium than normal.
An increase in arachidonic acid released during menstruation leads to an increase in the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which not only leads to excessive blood loss but also leads to dysmenorrhea.
Historically, most of the problems treated with ginger (Zingiber officinale) were related to the gastrointestinal system as well as pain and inflammation. It is generally believed that ginger has excellent effects of driving wind (promoting intestinal exhaust) and intestinal spasmolysis (regulating and soothing the intestine).
Several double-blind studies have shown that ginger has a positive effect on various gastrointestinal problems, especially those related to nausea and vomiting.
In terms of pain and inflammation, many clinical studies support this use. Ginger has achieved positive effects in the treatment of various arthritis, chronic back pain, muscle pain, and dysmenorrhea.
It has been proven that ginger has the same effect as the drug sumatriptan in relieving migraines, but has no side effects such as nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle weakness, heart disease, and epilepsy.
It has been proven that ginger can have a profound effect on the metabolism of prostaglandins, including reducing PGE2, a prostaglandin associated with excessive menstrual blood loss and dysmenorrhea. This effect shows that ginger has application prospects in the treatment of menstrual bleeding.
To evaluate the effect of ginger on menstrual bleeding (HMB), 92 young women aged 15-18 years old participated in a double-blind study. These young women meet the following criteria:
- Regular menstrual cycle
- Clinically validated HMB appeared in the first three evaluation cycles before intervention.
- And without any of the following exclusion criteria:
- No irregular menstrual cycle;
- Not diagnosed with any gynecological diseases, such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc.;
- Not taking any conventional hormone drugs or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs);
- Infection or pelvic inflammatory disease;
- Overweight/obese (BMI> 25) or underweight (BMI <18.5)
These women took a 250 mg dry ginger capsule or a placebo capsule three times a day from the day before menstrual bleeding until the third day of the menstrual period (four consecutive days). These women were then followed up for another three consecutive menstrual cycles.
The researchers asked these women to assess the amount of blood loss through the imaged blood assessment chart to determine the result. The scoring system is as follows:
- Sanitary napkins: 1 point for each lightly dyed sanitary napkin; 5 points for each moderately saturated sanitary napkin; 20 points if the sanitary napkin is completely wetted by blood.
- Cotton sliver: 1 point for each lightly dyed sliver; 5 points for each moderately dyed sliver; 20 points if the sliver is completely wetted by blood.
- Blood clot: 1 point for small blood clots and 5 points for large blood clots.
In the three menstrual cycles before the treatment period, the average score of the two groups was 113. During the treatment period, menstrual blood loss in the three ginger intervention cycles dropped significantly by 46%, while the placebo group only dropped by 2% (p<0.001).
The researchers concluded that “ginger can be an effective treatment for HMB.”
There are several other important considerations for menorrhagia. The first problem is iron deficiency. With the increase in menstrual blood loss, many women with heavy menstruation will have low iron content. Interestingly, low iron content can also cause menorrhagia, which forms a positive feedback loop.
Therefore, for women with menorrhagia, it is very important to exclude low iron reserves through blood tests of serum ferritin (an iron-binding protein that reflects the total iron content in the body). Any woman with a serum ferritin below 60 ng/ml needs iron supplementation.
In addition, since menorrhagia is related to the increase of arachidonic acid in the endometrium, the intake of animal products should be reduced, and the intake of omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial oils should be increased. Eating more fish, nuts, and seeds, and supplementing with fish oil can reduce the tissue levels of arachidonic acid, which has a beneficial effect. It is recommended to take a fish oil dose that can provide 1000 to 3000 mg of EPA+DHA.
- Kashefi F, Khajehei M, Alavinia M, Golmakani E, Asili J. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on heavy menstrual bleeding: a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2015 Jan;29(1):114-9.