“Practically every woman experiences symptoms of PMS, period pain or menstrual cramps. Just because it is common, though, doesn’t mean that it is healthy. Nor does it mean that women have to endure it each month either. Acupuncture and herbs can help. I tailor treatments for each patient to target her individual causes and symptoms of premenstrual suffering.” Melani Bolyai, L.Ac.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs, can help dramatically reduce the severity of PMS. Chinese medicine helps regulate imbalances in hormonal cycles and promotes relaxation to combat symptoms worsened by stress. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) occur approximately one week before a woman begins her menstrual flow, and can result in a variety of symptoms. These include: bloating, acne, headaches, moodiness and crying, digestive upset, food cravings, irritability, weight fluctuation, breast tenderness and swelling, cramping, pelvic pain and sleep problems. PMS symptoms can vary in range from mild to so severe that they significantly disrupt a woman’s life.
From a Chinese medical perspective, PMS and PMDD are caused by a block or stagnation of energy, or qi, in a woman’s body. This lack of smooth energy and blood flow causes irregular hormonal fluctuations and a build up of symptoms which finally release when menstruation starts. For example, it is often the case that if a women has menstrual cramping along with headaches and digestive issues before her period, it likely points to a stagnation of the Liver Qi, which affects the flow of energy through the body’s organs and muscles. Stress and tension can play a factor in effectively “trapping” the qi, disallowing it to move, and causing pain in the body.
I work with each patient to re-balance and smooth-out qi and blood flow so she can experience a menstrual cycle with minimal or no pain, discomfort and emotional stress. Because Chinese medicine approaches the body as a whole, it is important that during the first appointment a full understanding of all of the body’s systems are taken into account. In doing this, I am able to treat each woman’s body and her specific issues in a tailored, unique, and more-effective way. Often, Chinese traditional herbal formulas can be extremely effective in treating issues gently, and can increase the effectiveness of regular acuuncture treatments in-between appointments. Depending on the formula, herbs can be taken via small pills, powdered forms that can be mixed with water and drunk, or raw forms that can be cooked as a tea and drunk.
Acupuncture needling is also an effective treatment. Treatment can provide pain relief as soon as during the first visit, but with regular treatment, symptoms can decrease in severity and frequency. Although always dependent on the individual, a suggested treatment plan might be that a patient have weekly appointments for four to six weeks, then taper off to every two weeks, then less often to maintain a state in which symptoms do not recur.