Are you one of those women who experiences mood swings, acute irritability, mood slumps, eating frenzies, headaches, tension in the chest, insomnia?
Or do you suffer from painful monthly periods or an irregular cycle, heavy or regular blood loss?
You can treat these symptoms without adding hormones with the help of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
These can involve an irregular cycle, periods that are early or late, bleeding between two cycles, or premature menopause. The irregularity may also apply to the bleeding itself, such as excessive or continued blood loss.
Excessive blood loss can be organic in origin or function. Organic means there is a problem at the level of the uterus or the uterine tracts, such as a myoma, polyp or malignant tumour of the uterus. Once gynaecological examination has excluded organic symptoms, Chinese Medicine could certainly be used to treat the condition.
And of course painful periods (dysmenorrhea) also count as menstrual disorders. The pain can occur before, during or after the monthly period and can be either in the lower back and in the lower abdomen. Some women also experience a certain discomfort in the middle of the cycle, at the moment of ovulation.
Organic causes such as endometriosis should not be included here. Treatment with Chinese Medicine is still possible, but the treatment will last longer.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a term that covers the emotional and physical symptoms that arise in the period of two to fourteen days before the monthly period and sometimes last until during or just after the period. These include depression, irritability and anger, weepiness, and emotional instability, swelling of the belly, constipation or diarrhoea, skin rash and acne, tightness and pain in the chest, and insomnia. The symptoms can vary from moderate to very severe and debilitating.
Western Medicine describes menstrual disturbances in terms of hormones, prostaglandins and neurotransmitters. Although this biochemical description is correct, Western Medicine has little to offer to offer by way of treatment, except perhaps hormonal preparations.
Chinese Medicine and menstrual symptoms
A normal cycle develops by balanced interactions between different organ systems, normal circulation of energy and Blood through the meridians, and a balance between Yin and Yang in the body. Note that in Chinese Medicine “blood” is more than the purely physiological substance we know in Western Medicine.
A surplus of Yang can lead to an excessive and premature monthly period; an excess of Yin will result in a longer-lasting cycle. A shortage of energy or something like “hot blood” can cause premature bleeding. But an energy blockage can cause painful monthly periods.
The point of treatment is to restore imbalances, to release blockages so that energy can flow freely, to complement deficiencies and reduce excesses. Once all systems (Energy, Blood, Yin and Yang) have been harmonised, this will restore a balanced situation of health and harmony.
The purpose of Chinese Medicine therefore is not primarily to suppress symptoms, but to eliminate the underlying causes, so the symptoms disappear automatically.
The treatment insert fine needles at specific points along energy channels (acupuncture points).
Duration of treatment
We tend to concentrate acupuncture treatment around one specific part of the cycle, for example, the second half. For most symptoms, treatment will be given for three consequential cycles, although there may be an improvement in the first month.
What results can you expect?
You should see a quick response in the case of premenstrual syndrome, the, early or late monthly periods or long-term bleeding. But for over-heavy monthly periods or irregular cycles, it usually takes more than three cycles before everything is fully harmonised again.
You should discuss your complaints with your acupuncturist, who will tackle your symptoms in the correct sequence and can tell you the details and duration of the treatment, and the prognosis.