An interesting phenomenon in the cause of disease has caught my attention recently.

Over the past few months, five patients with heavy, irregular bleeding, all having fibroids, have consulted me for holistic treatment.

Heavy, irregular bleeding in younger women is usually dysfunctional uterine bleeding without any serious cause but may need investigation for polycycstic ovary or hormonal imbalance.

In older women, fibroids or perimenopausal change in hormones low oestrogen and progesterone production by the body is often a common problem.

Other hormone imbalances, such as from an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, may also cause such problems.

Proper gynaecological examination is essential to rule out cervical or uterine cancer or ovarian problems.

Many women with irregular bleeding and fibroids have been helped by natural progesterone cream and multivitamin supplements.

They also may have a degree of osteoporosis, so a calcium and magnesium supplement is helpful, in addition to exercise and wholesome diet.

Modern medical treatment with high-dose progesterone and cyclic oestrogen replacement often arrests and regulates the bleeding but a large number of women find no benefit from this treatment and are advised there is nothing more can be done and they need a hysterectomy.

One interesting feature that emerged from my holistic enquiry was emotional turmoil and mental stress.

All five women spoke of having had a traumatic bereavement. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine mention suppressed anger and deep grief as a cause of heavy, irregular bleeding.

One of my patients said that she had bled heavily at the funeral of a very dear friend and had developed irregular, heavy bleeding and fibroids.

Can suppressed anger and grief express themselves as physical disease? One study showed increased incidence of cancer of the colon in people harbouring suppressed grief after bereavement.

One of the ways we can prevent physical illness is by expressing our grief and anger in a positive way by connecting with our spiritual self and reducing our emotional and mental agony not blocking our emotions, or holding them inside.

Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines both seem to prescribe treatment of irregular periods by treating the root cause, the fire in the body, (Pitta in Ayurveda).

Stop the bleeding (with appropriate herbs kutaj or gentian), harmonise blood (herbs like agnus castus, dong qui, ashoka), calm blood (by taking nervous relaxants like ashwagandha, valerian, St Johns Wort).

Clear heat and drain fire (with herbs such as shan, zhi zi, fructus gardiniae, jasminoidis) and replenish Qi (liquorice, ashwagandha, asparagus racemosus, agnus castus).

Yoga and meditation can help and cognitive therapy is also very beneficial.