Updated: Mar 30, 2019
It's amazing how little we pay attention to our bodies, especially the menstruation part. Maybe it's because there is very little discussion around menstruation and what is considered healthy for us ladies. I don't remember learning much about my periods when I was younger, it was always something to be embarrassed about and I would cringe and walk away as quickly as possible if mum ever tried to bring up the topic. Not anymore! Now, I am all about the period talk.
Being an acupuncturist/nutritionist and working in the health field, discussing periods is one of my favourite things! No, I am not a weirdo. It just gives me such a good insight into the internal health of the woman sitting in front of me. I often will get a lady telling me that they experience terrible period pain and need to take painkillers EVERY period but thats ok because it's 'normal' for them. Nope, definitely not normal. Pain should not be apart of every period. Here are 4 things that mark a healthy menstrual cycle.
1. The menstrual cycle is regular. Cycles that are roughly 26-32 days are considered be a regular. If a period is irregular, sometimes coming early and other times coming late, this would be related to the Liver and Kidneys in TCM. Causes include emotional stress, overwork and too many children too close together.
2. 4-6 day bleed. If your period is longer or shorter than 4-6 days, TCM would consider this to be either a long or short period and is part of a disharmony in the body. Long periods are often attributed to Qi deficiency, Blood-Heat, Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood stasis and Kidney-Yin deficiency with Empty-Heat. Scanty or short periods are often seen in pathologies such as Blood, Kidney-Yang and Kidney-Yin deficiencies as well as Blood stasis and Phlegm obstructing the Uterus.
3. There is NO pain. In Chinese medicine, painful periods are considered to be a sign of a disharmony in the body. Usually this type of pain is attributed to Stagnation. The free flow of Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood are essential for a pain free period. If either Liver-Qi or Liver-Blood stagnate it will cause pain before/during the period. There are other TCM pathologies that can cause painful periods but Stagnation will always be present to some degree.
4. There are no PMS signs. Did you know that being a moody, irritable mess is not actually a normal part of getting you period?. Weird huh? Acne, change in bowel movements and food cravings also aren't a normal part of menstruation. According to TCM, emotional strain, irregular diet, and overwork are all considered to be potential causes of PMS.
All is not lost ladies! While you may discover that your menstrual cycle isn't exactly 'normal' there is are things you can do. Acupuncture and nutrition guidance go a long way in assisting in various period related symptoms. If you would like to know if acupuncture may be suitable for you, contact your local acupuncturist or send me a message via the Contact tab.
Disclaimer: I am a registered Acupuncturist/Nutritionist and this blog reflects my own personal opinions and research. The references used for this article have been chosen to reflect a particular view point. The above information should in no way be used as a means to self diagnose and it is my responsibility as a health practitioner to recommend that you seek out a professional who is legally qualified to diagnose your specific condition.
- Maciocia, G. (2011). Obstetrics and gynecology in Chinese medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
- Habek D, e. (2018). Using acupuncture to treat premenstrual syndrome. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12410369 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2018].
- The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial. 2018. The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial. [ONLINE] Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180177. [Accessed 24 October 2018].