Do you also belong to the group of women who experiences mood swings, strong irritability, low mood, having eating frenzies, headache, and tension in the chest or insomnia?
Or do you suffer more from painful monthly periods or an irregular cycle, too heavy or long term blood loss?
You can treat these symptoms without adding hormones with the help of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Actually, all irregularities with respect to the menstrual cycle fall under this heading. It can involve an irregular cycle, periods that are too early or too late, bleeding between two cycles or premature menopause. The irregularity could also concern the bleeding itself, such as excessive or lengthy blood loss.
Excessive blood loss can be organic in origin or function. Organic means that a deviation exists at the level of the uterus or the uterine tracts, such as with myoma’s, polyps or malignant tumors of the uterus. When gynaecological exams have shown that there is no organic injury, Chinese Medicine will certainly come into consideration for treating a condition. And finally, the painful periods (dysmenorrhea) can also be counted as menstrual disturbances. The pain can occur before, during or after the monthly periods and can be both at the level of the lower back and at the level of the lower abdomen. Some women also experience a vague discomfort during the middle of the cycle, at the moment of ovulation.
Also in this case, organic causes such as endometriosis should be excluded. In the latter cases, a treatment with Chinese Medicine is till possible, but the treatment duration shall be longer.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a term that covers the emotional and physical symptoms that appear in the period of two days to 14 days before the monthly period and sometimes last till during or just after the monthly period. These include: depression, irritability and anger, crying easily and emotional instability , oedema in the belly, constipation or diarrhoea, skin rash and acne, chest tension and chest pain, and insomnia. The symptoms can vary from moderate to very severe and bothersome.
Western Medicine describes the mechanism of the menstrual disturbances in terms of hormones, prostaglandins and neurotransmitters. Although this biochemical description is correct, Western Medicine has little to offer to treat the functional menstrual symptoms, unless eventually with hormonal preparations.
Chinese Medicine and menstrual symptoms
A normal cycle develops by balanced interactions between different organ systems, a normal circulation of Energy and Blood in the meridians, and a balance between Ying and Yang in the body. Note that the term Blood in Chinese Medicine covers more than the pure physiological substance we know from Western Medicine.
A surplus of Yang can lead to an excessive and premature monthly period; an excess of Yin will have a lengthened cycle duration as a consequence. A shortage of energy or a term such as Blood Heat can cause premature bleeding. A blockage of Energy however, can be responsible for painful monthly periods.
The meaning of the treatment is to restore imbalances, to release blockages to let the Energy flow freely, to complement the deficiencies or to reduce the excess. When all systems (Energy, Blood, Ying and Yang) have been harmonized, this will result in a renewed balanced situation of health and harmony.
The purpose of Chinese Medicine is therefore not to suppress symptoms in the first place, but to eliminate the underlying cause, so the symptoms will be eliminated automatically.
The treatment itself exists of puncturing well-determined points (acupuncture points), lying on energy lines.
Duration of treatment
We often concentrate the acupuncture treatment around one certain moment of the cycle, for example the second half. For most symptoms, the treatment will be carried out during three consequential cycles, although an improvement may occur during the first month.
What are the results to be expected?
The premenstrual syndrome, the monthly period, early or late cycle or long term bleeding should respond quickly to treatment. Excessive monthly periods or irregular cycles will usually need more than 3 cycles before a full harmonization is reached.
You should discuss your complaints with your acupuncturist, who will position your symptoms in the correct patterns and will be able to give you the details about the duration of the treatment and the prognosis.