Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Your low back hurts every month. Your stomach feels like it’s so bloated and the cramps are unbearable. You’re unsure if you need to pass some gas or if you’re about to have a massive diarrhea when you run to the restroom. Constipation may also be a part of the equation. Your breasts are tender and feel swollen and you want to finish that entire pizza. You’re easily annoyed and want to be left alone (to say the least). It is understandable. But! This does not have to be your monthly subscription.
Even if PMS does not hit you with migraines like a freight train but like dull teeth
scraping against your temple, PMS is not normal. It is how your body communicates with you to let you know that something is not balance. It is the most common complaint among women in reproductive age. It is estimated that 3 out of every 4 women experience some form of PMS.
Two hormones that are responsible for your symptoms are estrogen and progesterone. If everything is balance, your liver should be able to transform and process excess hormones. When there is an imbalance causing estrogen dominance, you may suffer irritability, headaches or migraines, breast soreness, overstimulation, or anxiety (to name a few). When the imbalance causes high levels of progesterone, you may notice night sweats, vaginal dryness, depression, weight gain or fatigue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we always discuss about Yin and Yang. In this case, estrogen would be considered Yang while progesterone considered Yin. Yang energy is very active and while Yin energy is very calm in comparison.
Many women who suffer from PMS deal with it by either 1) putting up with it because they think it’s part of being a woman 2) take hormone therapy such as birth control or 3) take pain reliever every month to combat the menstrual pain. All of these have their own side effects but the important thing is that they do not address the root cause of PMS.
So how can TCM help? PMS occurs because of the fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone that can lead to chemical changes affecting mood, sleep, stress, and even fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to relax the uterine muscle and flood the body with endorphins to help relax the nervous system. It produces an anti-inflammatory response while sending signals to the brain to regulate these hormones. Herbs are often prescribe to work congruently with acupuncture to help bring nutrients and balance to the system.
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