China Elevator Stories

according to my Chinese Mother-in-law, becoming pregnant will cure menhorragia

I’m sceptical when my mother-in-law tells me that pregnancy could cure heavy menses.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


Whenever my mother-in-law asserted me that my menstrual problems would be healed with pregnancy, I was sceptic. After all, I’ve had had menorrhagia (heavy and prolonged periods) for more than a decade. I used to be afraid of that time of the month, for good reason. With having to get up and go to the toilet every few hours, sleep was often hard to come by.

In the past, I had to plan around my periods to make sure I wouldn’t get into uncomfortable or embarrassing situations while on my period. Oftentimes, I had to take a day off work. When I climbed the mountains at Tiger Leaping Gorge in the summer of 2013, I decided to take a shorter route and head right on to Shangri-la instead of trekking to other villages further down the road because my period was about to start.

menstrual cup Ruth Silbermayr

Before becoming pregnant, I used menstrual cups, because pads or tampons simply wouldn’t do it. I also had severe back pain and other menstruation-related pain. The pain completely disappered after getting TCM treatment from a doctor in Siping, but my periods were still extremely heavy.

In the summer of 2013, I went to the hospital for check-ups and the doctor told me that my menorrhagia was connected to hormonal imbalances (excess estrogen and low levels of progesterone). She prescribed me hormones. I decided to stop taking hormones after reading all the side effects and online articles saying that the hormones could cause breast or other cancer.

In early fall of 2013, I went to see a TCM practitioner specialising in gynaecology instead. A few days after I started treatment for my hormone imbalances (a condition that can be treated very well with TCM, I’ve heard), I found out that I was pregnant.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding were the perfect short-term solution for my menstrual problems. When my menses came back 5 months after giving birth, they weren’t heavy.

My husband always emphasises that I should wear slippers at home and avoid the cold – cold foods (both in temperature as in TCM terms), cold weather (meaning not staying outside for too long or wearing enough layers in windy or rainy weather), cold water and cold feet. In China, many kitchen sinks only have cold water, so he usually washes the dishes when I’m on my period.

In contrast to what my mother-in-law predicted, my menhorragia was not healed by becoming pregnant. My periods turned back to being as strong as I was used to from before my pregnancy after I stopped breastfeeding my second son.

Have you ever had menstrual problems?

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