Up to 85% of women suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome in the west.
Premenstrual Tension is very common in our community due to our lifestyle, and primarily the level of day-to-day stress, lack of sleep and diet.
Premenstrual Syndrome may present very mildly, or be extremely debilitating. Unfortunately, many women think that suffering in this way is normal, but that isn’t so, and the cycle should be smooth and painless unless a more serious pathology exists.
Breast distension and tenderness, abdominal bloating, cramping pain or a heavy umbilical pain, moodiness or rage, headaches or emotional depression, fatigue, insomnia and nausea – these symptoms do not have to be a monthly event.
What is the cause?
While Western Medicine is able to relate Premenstrual Syndrome to the Leuteal phase (2nd half of cycle), as the name suggests, no hormonal abnormality can be identified. Some theories point to reduced circulating ß-endorphins and claim some relationship to serotonin levels.
Clearly, very little understanding of the PMS phenomena can be established in Western Bioscience, and so, treatment is also lacking.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, has a deep understanding of PMS, and is able to ease many of the presenting symptoms.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine explains both emotional and physical manifestations that arise in this time of the cycle through the concept of the free flow of energy. Constriction of this free flow, which is crucial for normal physiological function, is seen as the cause for PMS.
A Chinese Medicine practitioner needs to look at the reason behind the constriction of Qi and Blood. In most cases it relates to the Chinese concept of ‘Liver Qi Stagnation’. This form of stagnation may arise from several factors. Emotional stress, fatigue, deficiency of blood and deficiency of Qi, all lead to Liver Qi Stasis.
In extreme manifestation of Premenstrual Syndrome, irritability and rage are prominent, with distended feeling in the chest, red eyes, headaches and even mania. In this case, not only is Liver Qi stagnated, but a concept of phlegm or turbidity is also involved. Phlegm and turbidity arise primarily from a weakened digestion. Turbidity tends to coagulate and generate more heat than Liver Qi stasis can generate alone; hence, we see the extreme manifestations of irritability, mania, and more severe distension.
Often Premenstrual Tension of this nature intertwines with manifestations of irregular period, clotted period blood, unusual discharge and other treatable gynecological disharmonies.
In Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture is used in the treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome, to free the flow of Qi by invigorating the Liver channel. The acupuncture points are located on the hands and feet, ankles and the torso, depending on the presentation of the condition.
The herbs used in the treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome need to move Liver Qi, nourish blood if it is deficient, soften nodules, and relax tendons and muscles to ease soft muscle cramping and pain.
If a more severe type of condition presents, it is necessary to provide clients with stronger herbs. Mineral type herbs settle the mind and calm excessive conditions. If turbidity and phlegm are present, treatment will focus on resolving phlegm and aim to strengthen the digestive system. This will correct the underlying disharmony that leads to the turbidity, and the resulting heat which leads to this severe presentation.
The above examples of Premenstrual Syndrome are only a few of the conditions which are recognized and successfully treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine.
There is no need to suffer the pain of Premenstrual tension, the distension, the cramps, the emotional states, insomnia or headaches.
Traditional Chinese Medicine provides for a natural solution that addresses both the symptom and the cause.