Many women suffer from pain and discomfort during menstruation. And for those who prefer not to use pharmaceuticals or hormone treatments, it can feel like there is little help available and that menstrual discomfort is simply something to be accepted and endured.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) takes a holistic approach to women’s health, viewing the body as an interconnected system rather than isolated parts and aiming to address the root causes of menstrual issues rather than just treating the symptoms.
Within just a couple of months of natural Chinese herbal treatments, women can expect to see significant improvements to their menstrual cycle as the body comes back into balance, including less pain and a more regular flow. In this blog, I’ll explore the root causes of 3 common menstrual disorders and how they can be effectively treated using TCM.
In TCM, excessive menstrual bleeding is produced as a result of ‘blood heat’, which is comparable to low-grade inflammation in western medical terms.
Blood heat tends to be caused by everyday lifestyle choices such as too much spicy food or excessive intake of coffee and alcohol, as well as strong emotions such as frustration and anger. When heat is present, it makes the blood flow ‘recklessly’ so it effectively spills out of the blood vessel, causing excessive bleeding. To treat heavy bleeding caused by blood heat, blood cooling herbs are used, such as Mu Dan Pi and Pu Huang.
It can also be that the body’s ability to hold things up has become impaired. For instance, when the spleen qi is weakened by overwork, poor diet, a history of illness or miscarriage, it will cause the menstrual flow to ‘fall out’ rapidly.
To treat heavy bleeding, herbs to balance the spleen and increase yang energy would be prescribed, since the spleen contributes to the health of blood vessels and increasing yang energy supports the body’s ability to hold things in the right place.
Period pain and PMS
Menstrual pain is usually associated with stagnant chi and blood, typically caused by excessive stress and anxiety. Since the liver is responsible for moving chi through the body as well as regulating blood circulation, herbs to nourish and strengthen liver function would be prescribed.
The liver also controls histamine levels in the body which can lead to pre-menstrual symptoms such as mood swings, anger and irritability when out of balance. Chinese herbs support the liver to gently readjust histamine levels, leading to an improvement in pre-menstrual symptoms as well as other histamine-related issues such as allergies, acne and eczema.
From a TCM perspective, irregular menstruation can be caused by a range of factors including stress, overwork and trauma; exposure to excessive cold, heat or damp; and poor lifestyle or dietary choices.
All these factors contribute to hormone imbalances which cause the natural menstrual cycle to fall out of sync. A well-known Chinese herbal formula for irregular menstruation is Si Wu Tang, or Four Substance Decoction, which nourishes and regulates the blood.
Supporting your cycle naturally
Chinese herbs offer a simple and natural way to treat menstrual pain and discomfort, so if you’re struggling with your cycle, don’t hesitate to reach out. I can prescribe a ready-to-use 11-day formula that regulates most menstrual issues and is suitable for those who are otherwise healthy – and it comes with a free 15-minute online consultation to ensure it’s right for you.
I also offer bespoke herbal formulas to address specific issues including painful periods, irregular cycles and the issues triggered by hormone changes. You can make an appointment for an online consultation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07944 848953.