Traditional Chinese Medicine provides a different medical approach to women’s health where period pain is regarded as an imbalance in the body which can be resolved with non-drug therapies. Women do not need to suffer monthly menstrual pain and discomfort.
What is Period Pain?
Dysmenorrhea or painful periods, is a hormonal problem. The pain can be experienced before, during or after menstruation and may include cramping, lower abdominal pain, leg pain or lower back pain. There may also be mood swings, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, bloating, fainting, skin problems, toothache, insomnia, joint pain, diarrhoea or constipation.
Who suffers from Period Pain?
This is a common problem because around one half of menstruating women in western societies have period cramps. For 5% of women this is a severe issue for one to three days each month that stops them from functioning normally.
What are the causes of Period Pain?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the female reproductive system involves the spleen, the liver and the kidney energy channels. So the symptoms of period pain will depend on how many of these channels are disrupted and what the disruption are. For example the energy flows could be disrupted by either a Xu deficiency pattern, a Shi excess pattern or a Qi stagnation pattern.
Diagnosing the causes of the period pain is the key to the best treatment.
Why are the symptoms of period pain important?
A meridian is a life giving energy pathway in the body, which can be blocked, congested or deficient. Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at the symptoms from disrupting the energy flow of a meridian or meridians, in order to assess why and how the energy flows have been interrupted. The symptoms of menstrual pain are important because they give an insight into the deeper disturbances.
Therefore the Chinese medicine practitioner will analyse where, how and when any menstrual pain occurs, the nature of the menstrual discharge, sensitivity to heat or cold, the effect of applying pressure to a painful area and associated symptoms.
The Chinese medicine practitioner will also inspect the tongue and check the pulse to help to identify the underlying pattern of disharmony.
What are the treatment strategies for Period Pain?
The treatments will depend on how the energy flows have been distorted and how best to restore the free flow of Qi (pronounced chee).
Acupuncture points may be used to clear energy blockages and balance energies. Moxibustion may be combined with the acupuncture.
Herbal medicines are used to naturally treat the underlying patterns.
Changes to the diet, such as adding foods that can be helpful for an individual’s condition.
Lifestyle changes may be required to reduce stress, including moderate exercise.
What about western pharmaceutical medications to deal with period pain?
Their primary function may only be to mask the symptoms with pain killers, anti inflammatory drugs, and period regulators, rather than long term management of period pain. Therefore, these symptoms may only get worse over time. In addition, there is the concern about the unpleasant side effects.
Who needs Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for Period Pain?
Period pain and premenstrual pain are not normal physical symptoms for women. These symptoms are best treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine at an early stage to prevent the imbalances getting worse and the energy blockages building up into other conditions.
How many sessions of acupuncture are required to treat Period Pain?
Depending on the nature and the severity of the period pain, it can take around three to six months for the menstruation to have reduced symptoms.
Why Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture treatments?
These treatments are natural, non-invasive, effective and gentle; and avoid the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Traditional Chinese Medicine can identify the daily factors which might cause the period pain and recommend what a woman can do herself to improve the situation.
The idea is to get back into normal balance and to stay there. Period pain can be improved naturally with the correct advice and treatment. So if you suffer from period pain, Traditional Chinese Medicine could stop the progression of uncomfortable symptoms and really transform your life in a healthier and happier way.