A Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic
Natrual Therapies - Acupuncture and Herbal Remedies
Menstrual Complaints - Abnormal Periods:
- Irregular Menstruation
- Absent Menstrual Period (Amenorrhea)
- Menstrual Cramp (Dysmenorrhoea)
It is not unusual to have irregular periods. About 30% of women have them. Irregular periods are sometimes early and
sometimes late in an unpredictable manner, and/or scanty or profuse menstrual bleeding (is called menorrhagia).
The regular (normal) menstruation (period)
Theoretically the menstruation usually occurs every 28 days. You may get your period every 23 to 33 days (28 ± 5
days), as long as they occur with roughly the same number of days between each cycle, they are still considered
regular. The bleeding normally lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 days, including 2 to 3 day heavy smooth fresh blood fellow
with a few small clots, and followed by 1 to 2 day medium to light fellow, then 1 to 2 day pink or brownish spotting. The
bleeding lasts too long or too short, or/and too heavy or scanty, are all considered abnormal.
The regular menstrual cycle consists of 4 phases:
Phase 1 – Menstruation Days 1 – 7 (Week 1)
Phase 2 – Post Period/Pre-ovulation Days 7 – 14 (Week 2)
- Follicular phase
- Endometrial tissue sheds
- FSH and LH stimulate new follicles
Phase 3 – Ovulation/Mid-cycle Days 14 – 21 (Week 3)
- Follicular phase
- FSH rising
- Estrogen rising
- Uterine lining thickening
Phase 4 – Post ovulation/Pre-menstruation Days 21 – 28 (Week 4)
- Ovulation occurs with LH surge
- Progesterone and BBT rises following ovulation
- Fertilization / implantation possible
- Luteal phase
- Estrogen drops
- Lining breaks down or pregnancy results
The Amenorrhea (absent menstrual period)
Absent menstrual periods are also called amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea is when a woman has not started her
menstrual cycles by the time she is 17 years old; this is very rare. Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman has had
menstrual periods in the past, but has not had one for at least 3 consecutive months. This is much more common. Of
course, first of all, it is very important to exclude pregnancy as a cause of amenorrhea. The temporary interruption of
menstruation that occurs after childbirth and during breastfeeding is normal and not considered amenorrhea.
The causes of Menstrual Complaints
Irregular Periods and Absent Menstrual Periods are generally related to disruptions in the balance of hormones. The
glands affected with the process of menstruation include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the ovaries. Some
other causes of irregular periods and absent menstrual periods:
- Poor diet
- Intense exercise
- Perimenopause (close to menopause) / Menopause
- Weight gain or Weight loss
- Pelvic infection
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine cancer / Uterine abnormalities
- Dysfunctional bleeding
TCM view of the Menstrual Complaints
In TCM, all of the major organ systems, Liver, Kidneys, Spleen, Stomach and Heart, affect proper menstruation. If the
Uterus is not receiving what it needs from the major organ systems and if the Du, Ren, and Chong channels’ flow of Qi
and Blood is compromised, menstrual irregularities occur. Important and delicate relationships between these systems
and menstruation must be properly diagnosed with the proper treatment plan.
An irregular cycle is always due to an imbalance of the Liver and Kidneys according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
"It is the rhythmic ebb and flow of blood and essence that give rise to periods".
The Kidney system provides Essence, the basis for reproduction. The Chong channel travels through the Stomach
connecting it to the Uterus. The Stomach system "receives" (nutrition), "descends," and as the origin of Qi and Blood,
helps food and nutrients absorb and transform.
The Spleen system “holds” Blood in the vessels and makes Blood.
The Du, Ren, and Chong extraordinary channels are generally involved in resolving gynecology, fertility and pregnancy
The Liver is responsible for the even flow of Blood and provides Blood to the Uterus. Liver Qi moves Blood and must be
balanced for regular menstruation to occur.
TCM treatments for Menstrual Complaints
PMS, heavy, painful cycles and other menstrual irregularities can be resolved with TCM treatments. Both acupuncture
and Chinese herbal medicine are effective – focuses on tonifying the blood, which nourishes the uterine system, and
on supporting the Kidneys, Liver and Spleen systems, and removing blockages. It can also soothe the Liver to ease
stress. All these things will improve hormonal balancing and recalibrate your period.
In our clinic, when dealing with menstruation complaints, we found that the combination of herbal medicine and
acupuncture treatments are most effective. TCM treats root cause, not just symptoms. Proper movement, amount and
delivery of Qi and Blood maintain regular menstruation and help achieve successful pregnancy, and delivery.
Chinese herbal medicine for primary dysmenorrhoea