Ginger Effective In Relieving Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Excessive menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia, is a common female complaint that may be entirely prevented by a simple herbal prescription – capsules of ginger. The chief cause of functional menorrhagia (i.e., not caused by the presence of uterine fibroids or endometriosis) involves abnormalities in the biochemical processes of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).
One abnormality commonly found is an alteration in arachidonic acid metabolism. This fatty acid is derived from meat and dairy sources and is converted to hormone-like compounds known as prostaglandins. The endometrium of women who have menorrhagia concentrates arachidonic acid to a much greater extent than normal. The increased arachidonic acid release during menstruation results in increased production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which not only leads to excessive bleeding, but also menstrual cramps.
Historically, the majority of complaints for which ginger (Zingiber officinale) was used concerned the gastrointestinal system as well as pain and inflammation. Ginger is generally regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Several double-blind studies have shown ginger to yield positive results in a variety of gastrointestinal issues, especially those related to nausea and vomiting.
In regards to pain and inflammation, numerous clinical studies have supported this use with positive results in various forms of arthritis, chronic low back pain, muscle pain, and painful menstruation.
Ginger has been shown to produce equal results in reducing migraine headache as the drug sumatriptan (Imitrex), but without the side effects like nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle weakness, heart attacks and seizures.
Ginger has shown to produce profound effects on prostaglandin metabolism including reducing PGE2, the prostaglandin implicated in excessive menstrual blood loss and menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). This effect suggests a potential use in heavy menstrual bleeding.
In order to assess the effects of ginger on heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB), 92 young women aged 15–18 years were enrolled in a double-blind study. These young women met the following criteria:
• Had regular menstrual cycles
• Experienced HMB that was clinically verified during the first three assessments cycles prior to the intervention.
• And, did not have any of the following exclusion criteria:
· Did not have irregular menstrual cycles;
· Were not diagnosed with any gynecological diseases such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc.;
· Were not any taking regular hormonal medications or NSAIDs;
vaginal infection or pelvic inflammatory disease; and overweight/obesity (BMI > 25) or underweight (BMI < 18.5)
The women took either a 250 mg of dried ginger capsule or a placebo capsules three times daily starting from the day before menstrual bleeding until the third day of menstrual period (for four consecutive days). The women were then followed for three additional consecutive menstrual cycles.
Results were determined by having the women assess blood loss through a Pictorial Blood Assessment chart with the following scoring system:
• Pads: 1 point for each lightly stained towel ; 5 points for each moderately soiled towel; 20 points if the towel is completely saturated with blood.
• Tampons: 1 point for each lightly stained tampon; 5 points for each moderately soiled tampon; 20 points if the tampon is completely saturated with blood.
• Clots: 1 point for small clot; 5 points for large clot.
For the three menstrual cycles prior to the treatment period, the average score for both groups was 113. During the treatment period, the level of menstrual blood loss dramatically declined during the three intervention cycles in ginger by 46% while the placebo group only dropped by 2% (p<0.001).
The researchers concluded, “ginger may be considered as an effective therapeutic option for HMB.”
There are a couple other important considerations in menorrhagia. The first issue is iron deficiency. With increased menstrual blood loss, many women with menorrhagia will experience low iron levels. Interestingly, low iron levels can also cause menorrhagia creating a positive feedback loop. Therefore, in any woman with menorrhagia, it is important to rule out low iron stores by getting a blood test for serum ferritin (an iron binding protein that reflects total body iron stores). Iron supplementation is indicated in any woman with a serum ferritin below 60 ng/ml.
Next, as menorrhagia is associated with increased arachidonic acid availability in the uterine lining, it makes sense to decrease the intake of animal products and increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial oils. Consuming higher intakes of fish, nuts, and seeds and supplementing with fish oils may yield beneficial effects by reducing the tissue levels of arachidonic acid. A dosage of fish oils to provide 1,000 to 3,000 mg of EPA+DHA is recommended.
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.
Sweet Relief For PMS
Think PMS is a normal part of being a woman? It doesn’t have to be! You can feel better—less moody, bloated, and fatigued, for example—by trying a few select nutrients
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)—a recurrent condition that develops 7-14 days before menstruation—affects 30-40 percent of women, with peak occurrences among those in their 30s and 40s. In most cases, symptoms are relatively mild, but they can be quite severe.
What Causes PMS?
Scientists now believe that PMS is the result of alterations in brain chemistry that influence the brain’s sensitivity to hormones—the chief of which may be low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Not surprisingly, then, conventional medicine has focused on antidepressant drugs to treat PMS, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and Zoloft—with their significant side effects. Fortunately, many natural agents also show the ability to relieve symptoms and provide PMS relief.
|Common Conventional A Second Opinion:||Treatments for PMS Dr. Murray’s Top Natural Therapies:|
|Birth control pills||Vitamin B6 and Magnesium|
Nutritional Supplements for PMS
Vitamin B6 has been shown to be effective in relieving PMS symptoms in over a dozen double-blind clinical trials. It may work in part by boosting the accumulation of magnesium within cells–magnesium deficiency has been implicated as a contributor to PMS.
Studies have shown that when PMS patients are given a supplement containing high doses of Magnesium and B6, they experience a substantial reduction in symptoms. Recommended daily dosages are 25-50 mg of B6 and 300-450 mg of magnesium.
5-HTP is the “intermediate” compound between tryptophan and serotonin. It is more helpful in boosting serotonin levels than tryptophan, and has also shown greater effects in improving mood and reducing sugar cravings. The typical dosage recommendation is 50–100 mg three times daily before meals.
The benefits of Chaste Berry in PMS appear to be related to its effects on hypothalamus and pituitary function. As a result, the herb (also called chaste tree berry or vitex) is able to normalize the secretion of various hormones.
One double-blind trial compared a daily dose of vitex (20-mg tablet) with a placebo in 170 women. Over the course of three menstrual cycles in a row, the women were asked to rate changes in their PMS symptoms. Women taking vitex reported a 52-percent reduction in symptoms, compared with only 24-percent for those taking placebo. The recommended dosage of chaste berry (often standardized to contain 0.5 percent agnuside) is 175–225 mg per day in tablet or capsule form, or 2–4 mL (1/2–1 tsp.) per day for liquid extracts.
Is your diet to blame?
Women suffering from PMS typically eat a diet that is even worse than the much-maligned standard American diet. Compared with symptom-free women, PMS sufferers typically consume:
• 62% more refined carbohydrates
• 275% more refined sugar
• 79% more dairy products
• 78% more sodium
• 53% less iron*
• 77% less manganese*
• 52% less zinc*
* Foods rich in iron include soybeans, spinach, lentils, sesame seeds, and olives; mustard greens, kale, chard, romaine lettuce, raspberries, pineapple, garlic, and eggplant are among foods plentiful in manganese; and some good food sources of zinc are beef, lamb, scallops, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, yogurt, and turkey.
RYE POLLEN FOR PROSTATE
Rye pollen extract has been shown to improve BPH symptoms.
Rye pollen extract has improved the symptoms of BPH in preliminary trials.1 , 2 , 3 Double-blind trials have also reported that rye pollen extract is effective for reducing symptoms of BPH4 , 5 This rye pollen extract was shown to be comparable in effect to an amino acid mixture used for BPH in a double-blind study.6 A double-blind comparison with pygeum resulted in significant subjective improvement in 78% of those given the rye pollen extract compared with 55% using pygeum.7 Research on this commercial rye pollen extract has used three to six tablets, or four capsules, per day; the effect of other pollens in men with prostate conditions has not yet been studied.
An extract of flower pollen, derived primarily from rye, may improve symptoms of chronic prostatitis and prostadynia.
An extract of flower pollen, derived primarily from rye, may improve symptoms of chronic prostatitis and prostadynia. In a small, uncontrolled trial, men with chronic NBP or prostadynia given two tablets of flower pollen extract twice daily for up to 18 months reported complete or marked improvement in symptoms.8 In a larger, uncontrolled trial, one tablet three times daily for six months produced a favorable response in 80% of the men based on symptoms, laboratory tests, and doctor evaluations.9 Men who did not respond in this study were found to have structural abnormalities of the urinary tract, suggesting that uncomplicated prostate conditions are more likely to respond to flower pollen. Additional uncontrolled studies support the effectiveness of flower pollen extract,10 , 11 , 12 but no controlled research has been published.
From Health Info Newsletter November 23, 2015: Heavy Menses, PMS Relief, Prostate Health