Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the herbal tea based on Foeniculum vulgare, on inducing regular bleeding in women with oligomenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea( oligo/amenorrhea).
Methods: Forty women aged 18- 40 with oligo/amenorrhea were enrolled in this randomized controlled clinical trial and were allocated to two groups equally. The women in the first group were treated by Fomentex (Foeniculum vulgare / Mentha longifolia / Vitex agnus-castus) herbal tea 11.2 g/day in 2 divided doses for 2 weeks and the second group were treated by medroxy progesterone acetate (MP)10 mg/day for the last 10 days of their menstrual cycles. The intervention was repeated in three cycles of menstruation in both groups. Bleeding pattern was documented by the patient on diary cards. The occurrence (yes/no) of bleeding, the regularity of bleeding pattern, the interval of cycles, the duration of bleeding, the volume of blood flow, the hormonal parameters (total testosterone, free testosterone luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone), and the endometrial thickness in sonography before and after the intervention were evaluated and compared as outcomes.
Results: The number of women with bleeding during the first cycle was in the Fomentex group and the MP group 83.3% and 94.1% respectively (p = 0.61). The regularity of bleeding did not significantly differ in patients treated with Fomentex from those given MP (66.7% vs. 94.1%; p = 0.088). Mean interval of cycles decreased in both groups after intervention (P<0.001). Mean duration decreased significantly in MP group after the intervention but it was not different in patients treated with Fomentex. The difference between 2 groups was not significant (P=0.705).
Volume of blood flow, with regard to Pictorial Blood Assessment Chart (PBAC), increased significantly in MP group after the intervention (P=0.001) and it was not different in patients treated with Fomentex (P=0.757); however, difference between 2 groups was not significant (P=0.063). The percentage of patients with on time menstruation in the next (drug-free) episode, was higher in the Fomentex group compared with the MP group (50% vs. 23.5%; p = 0.105). Secondary outcomes such as dysmenorrhea, acne and hirsutism reduced in the Fomentex group (P≤0.05), while they increased in the MP group (P=0.007). At the end of the treatment, there was a significant decrease in luteinizing hormone, total testosterone and free testosterone in patients taking Fomentex. The decrease of endometrial thickness, was significant in both groups after the intervention (P=0.001), but the difference between 2 groups was not significant (P=0.58). No notable complication or side effect was reported in relation to Fomentex.
Conclusion: Fomentex herbal tea is a safe, well-tolerated, and effective choice in inducing bleeding and maintaining regular bleeding in women with oligo/amenorrhea.
Keywords: Fomentex, amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, bleeding, Foeniculum vulgare, Mentha longifolia, Vitex agnus-castus.
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