Updated: Jun 11, 2020
In honour of women's health week (4 Sept-8 Sept) I decided to kick my butt into gear and start a women's health blog series! I figured it was about time that I focus on some of the health issues that effect women and how Chinese medicine looks at them. This issue will look at the 7-year cycles and the phases during a menstrual cycle, as well as also having a look at a few common conditions experienced by women.
For some unknown reason, our menstrual cycles are not really discussed in our teen years. Like, what is a normal period? Am I meant to bleed for 4 days or 7? Is pain normal? Why do I feel depressed and moody right before my period? The unanswered questions of my youth were all answered once I began studying traditional Chinese medicine!
When we started learning about gynaecological issues at college, one of the very first things we learnt were the 7 year cycles (for women) and the 4 phases during a menstrual cycle. According to TCM theory, every 7 years a women's body will change due to their building (first 4 cycles) and declining (remaining cycles) Jing*. Sounds about right? Ok so if you can wrap your head around the 7 year cycles then the 4 phases will probably make even more sense to you. Did you know that each of the phases during a menstrual cycle is linked with different symptoms? Especially if our body is a bit out of balance. So let's start from the beginning and have a look at how Chinese medicine views what is 'normal' in regards to our uterus's. Hoorah!
Women's 7 Year Cycles
7 years old - This is when our kidney energy is growing, our hair starts to grow longer and stronger and our teeth change. This is when our reproductive system begins to develop.
14 years old - Menstruation begins and a woman is able to have a baby. Early or late menarche can indicate a disharmony within the body.
21 years old - A woman reaches peak fertility at this age. Her teeth are fully developed and her kidney qi has reached a balanced state.
28 years old - From 21 to 28, a women's fertility energy will reach its peak. This is the best time to have children (from a Chinese medi