Harmonizing Your Menstrual Cycle: Chinese Medicine’s Perspective on Relieving Premenstrual Symptoms

Having a menstrual cycle is a wonderful opportunity to tune into the body, and menstruation can be a beautiful time for rest and release. Far too often, though, menstruation is preceded by a host of uncomfortable or at times debilitating symptoms that make it difficult to appreciate the body’s wonder. Premenstrual symptoms have become the norm, but there are actionable ways to relieve them. Chinese medicine offers clear explanations for how and why various premenstrual symptoms arise along with treatment strategies to alleviate pain and discomfort.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the channels become full before menstruation. The active, movement oriented Yang energy of the body is rising, and the Qi of the Liver is preparing for its role in the release of menstruation. If the Liver isn’t flowing freely, we’re more likely to experience discomfort during this premenstrual time of fullness. The Liver is responsible for coursing Qi and Blood through the body, and it has a tendency to become stagnant during times of stress and overload. This stagnation of Liver qi gives rise to a range of premenstrual issues such as breast tenderness, bloating, irritability, anxiety, headaches, and skin breakouts. From a Western perspective, premenstrual symptoms aren’t well understood, but may be attributed to the sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone that signals menstruation to begin.

Coming in for acupuncture and herbal medicine is a wonderful way to help relieve PMS symptoms. We tailor each acupuncture treatment and herbal formula to the specific symptoms you may be having, as there’s no one size fits all approach to managing premenstrual issues.

There are, however, some lifestyle changes that may minimize premenstrual symptoms. Here are some tips to incorporate the week before your period:

EXERCISE: Move your body in ways that feel nourishing to you. Take walks outside, do cardio at the gym, or practice yoga. Moving your body helps relieve stagnant Liver qi and can play a significant role in moving Qi to reduce PMS.

DIET: Be careful not to consume much cold food or drink, as they can contribute to stagnation. Eat warm, well cooked soups and stews. It’s also a good time to incorporate cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage to help rid excess hormonal buildup.

DETOX: Reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and OTC medications if possible the week before menstruation. This gives the liver a break from detoxifying and allows it to flow more freely in preparation for menstruation.

It’s possible to have a discomfort free premenstrual time! Come in to see us and we’ll tailor a plan for you.

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