Period Health with Chinese Medicine
What is a healthy Period ? – What’s normal, what’s not
When it comes to comprehending a woman’s health state, Chinese Medicine believes menstruation to be one of the most important components. A TCM practitioner must inquire about and assess the regularity, color, texture, quantity, and duration of menstruation, as well as the presence of clots or discomfort before, during, or after menstruation, among other things. From this information and other observations, the disharmony pattern can be deduced.
According to TCM, regular and healthy menstruation includes the following characteristics:
- Regular: every 28-30 days.
- Duration: 4-6 days.
- Colour: fresh and vivid red, from the beginning to the end of menstruation. Read more here.
- Texture: fluid, without being completely liquid.
Other signs of a healthy period cycle include period not being too heavy or too light, no clots, no cramping. In Chinese Medicine it is believed that if you body is balanced and period is healthy you should not experience PMS symptoms such as moodiness, irritability, fatigue.
Here are 5 reasons for irregular period according to Chinese Medicine
1. Blood Stagnation/ Stasis: (Irregular period with cramps)
Stagnant blood causes ovarian discomfort in the form of a fixed-location sharp pain, characteristic monthly belly pain or intense cramping in women. Blood stasis results in a long menstrual cycle and a scanty dark red menstrual flow with clots.
It usually happens with pain in the hypogastrium that is relieved after the expulsion of the clots. This condition is often also characterised by a deep red turned tongue. To avoid it, our experts recommend activities such as exercise that will keep your blood flowing instead of becoming stagnant. Acupuncture and herbs like dong quai can be very effective if you are experiencing irregular period due to blood stagnation.
2. Blood deficiency: (Light short period)
Blood in Chinese medicine is for nourishing and hydrating the body’s tissues. Deficiency can result in cycle delay, dull ache in the lower abdomen, and other symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, palpitations, elevated heart rate, muscular weariness, hair and nail weakening, and a deficiency of fluid during the period. It may cause reproductive issues if left untreated for an extended time.
Too much fast food, fried meals, and salty snacks in the diet can cause dehydration too because of the low amount of water in them. Instead, foods such as soups, stews, and fresh fruits come with plenty of fluids in them to replenish good hydration levels in the body. Food rich in iron is also recommended to prevent anemia along with herbs such as Dong Quai.
3. Liver Heat: (Menstrual cycle shorter than 28 days)
In traditional Chinese medicine, liver heat refers to a physiological imbalance that manifests as sharp pains in the liver area. Excessive anger and stress, as well as excessive alcohol consumption, can all contribute to excess liver heat, but there are numerous other factors that can contribute to the problem.
Irritability, rage, and excessive emotionality are the most common symptoms of Liver Heat, this also affects sleep hours as insomnia or nightmares.
Those who experience period shorter than 28 days cycles with bright red menstrual flow, heat, or burnt red, thick flow with clots. Exteriorizes with a flushed face, dry mouth and great thirst at night. Constipation can appear also. To eliminate this heat herbs such as Bo He ( peppermint) and turmeric are recommended.
4. Spleen Deficiency (Irregular period with PMS)
As previously stated, Liver Heat or Liver Qi stagnation brings agitation days before menstruation begins. In certain situations, these symptoms come with pressure and discomfort in the breasts, abdomen and lumbar area of the back, as well as minor fluid retention. Most of the time, the bleeding is strong and clear.
In this context we speak of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. A diet high in sugar, refined flour, and red meat, with a low amount of fruits, and fresh vegetables has a swelling effect on our bodies. Traditional Chinese doctors called this swelling “excessive dampness”. This dampness obstructs organs’ proper function, leads to sickness, and specifically weakens the spleen.
Women with a weak spleen are more likely to suffer from sensations of cold, pale face, and slight swelling (fluid retention). Moreover, a tendency to cry, depression, decay, and tiredness before menstruation. The spleen is weakened by cold and damp foods, it is recommend to consume more warming food. Learn more about damp diet here.
5. Qi Deficiency: (Irregular period due to stress and poor diet)
Regular periods are a sign that your body is functioning normally.
Should I be concerned about the change in my period flow ? Heavy Period & Light Period
What is considered heavy or light flow?
Women often describe heavy flow as “flooding”and require change of sanitary products every couple of hours during the day. A rough estimate would be 4 or 5 pads, assuming that you’re getting at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep at night.
Heavy Period (Menorrhagia):
Women who experience heavy period run the risk of developing anaemia because of the high blood loss. Symptoms of low iron levels, fatigue, and exhaustion are common among women who experience heavy period. In Chinese Medicine heavy period can be a result of imbalances in the body: Heat due to liver Qi stagnation, Qi deficiency, and Blood stasis/ stagnation.
Light Period (hypomenorrhea)
Though having a light period, also known as hypomenorrhea, may not sound as if it would be a problem for most women, it may be an indicator that there is something else going on with your health that needs to be addressed. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), light period can be as a result of insufficient blood flow, stress, phlegm.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help With Period Health?
The goal with Chinese Medicine Treatments is to balance hormones through increased blood circulation, unblocking energy channels, eliminating accumulated toxins.
• Acupuncture can improve overall period health by improving blood flow. Administering acupuncture unblocks energy channels and promotes free flow of Qi. It also increases energy levels helping with other symptoms that arise due to menstrual irregularities and imbalanced hormones. Acupuncture has been shown in studies to be an effective natural heavy period treatment. As acupuncture promotes blood flow it can help with light period.
• Moxibustion: is used to boost warmth Yang energy, remove coldness from the body. Moxibustion also helps with accumulated body fluid and water retention.
• Cupping: is used to detox, draw out heat toxin from organs. This promotes Qi flow and rectifies Qi stagnation and blood stasis.
• Herbal tea and herbal supplements: Range of herbal supplements can promote and balance menstrual health.
Other topics you may be interested in:
- Getting Pregnant with Irregular Period
- Herbs for Period Pain
- Periods and Bloating: How to Reduce Bloating Before Period?
- Amenorrhea (absent period) & Chinese Medicine
- What the colour of your period can tell you about your health
- Can Bad Period Pain Affect Your Fertility?
- Period and Low Energy : How Chinese Medicine Can Help
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.