Aunt Vadge: spotting and bleeding and weird periods after miscarriage

Hi Aunt Vadge,

I had a miscarriage this past November. I bled for about a month or longer afterwards. I recently just had my first normal period last week, and the period ended, but I continue to spot, or what I think is spotting, for the past four days. It is red, sometimes a brownish colour. This morning while wiping, a mass that looked like a cluster of tissue came out of my vagina. It looked old, and I’m not sure what it was and just need a little guidance.

United States, Age 22

Hi Spotty,

It sounds like your hormones are out of whack and your uterus is not being as proficient as it might in expelling your menstrual tissue. What can happen when your hormones get muddled is that you bleed for too long, not long enough, or not at all. You could really benefit from some hormone-regulating herbal medicine, just to get you back into a natural rhythm.

In terms of the clumps, when your uterus ‘hangs on’ to blood for too long (as in, isn’t expelling it adequately) blood can go brown and old, and start to clot a bit, and then come out eventually. It doesn’t sound dangerous or that unusual, but is a sign of your uterus not working very efficiently for some reason.

Herbs that could help

The herb I’d be looking up in particular is vitex to regulate hormones, but a few others might include Beth Root, Dong Quai, False Unicorn Root, Wild Yam, or even Raspberry Leaf. These can be bought in tea form online or in a local healthfood store, but make sure you buy them from a reputable place. Generally with herbs, the more it costs, the better the quality. Buy herbs from people who are proud of how good their herbs are – organic is also best, but you want high levels of the active ingredients, which only happens when plants are grown and prepared with care.

Why it would be helpful to visit a herbalist or naturopath

Because it’s impossible for me to know anything more about you than you have offered, it’s important that you get advice from a real-life practitioner, and don’t just take high-dose herbs at home without guidance. Herbs are not ‘just natural’ and they are not safe just because they are a plant. Keep in mind that a dozen wild almonds contain enough cyanide to kill you! Plants are not benign – they are powerful and sometimes full of poisonous stuff, and they have an impact on the function of your cells (which is why we love them, but have spent many years studying them!).

Tea is generally safe to take at home and shouldn’t cause you to have a negative response, but do your homework on what you’re taking and why, even with tea. From what you’ve said, you want to regulate your hormones and cycle, and give your uterus a bit of TLC.

It would also seem – with all that bleeding – that you may be low in iron, so I would heavily recommend looking into a giant slab of steak cut up into meal-sized portions (a fist-size), but if that’s not your thing, some high-quality iron supplements and lots of fresh, green leafy vegetables, legumes, eggs, fish. I really like the undelicious iron water in the sachets of Spatone as a better-absorbed iron supplement, but they are expensive.

One of the major problems with losing so much blood is that it dumps your iron stores out, and actually iron is the thing responsible for turning the blood tap inside your uterus off! So bleeding so much makes you iron deficient, then the iron deficiency keeps you bleeding… Go figure, body. Check your energy levels, look at your skin and nails and the pinks of your eyelids – if you are pale everywhere and have low energy, iron up.

Herbal medicine can also interact with other medications you might be taking, including birth control pills. A naturopath or herbalist will take your case and prescribe you the best – fastest-acting and most appropriate – herb for your problem, so I highly advise a trip to your local person simply because they’ll help you to solve your problem sooner rather than later trying to do it at home. I understand that money can be a major problem when you’re 22, so do also understand that visiting an expensive practitioner isn’t always financially practical.

So, be really cautious and research anything you buy, and only buy good stuff – crappy products don’t work. If you have a local health-food store or shop to get advice on the best quality vs. price, go and ask or give them a call.

Write back and let us know how you go!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge