What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Between 22% and 40% of women feel one or more symptoms occurring one or two weeks prior to menstruation, and subsiding abruptly at the beginning of menstruation. Women having symptoms might report digestion issues, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, breast distention or tenderness, headaches, cramping in or near the ovaries, a dragging-like low back pain or aches running down the fronts of the legs or inner thighs. Some women report fatigue, restless sleep, and sweating. Let us not forget irritability, moodiness or depression.
Western treatment includes oral contraceptives, progesterone, diuretics or bromocriptine for water retention and edema, B6 (for serotonin stimulation to reduce irritability) or prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors. Medications are the first line of defense. Western medicine accepts PMS as a "normal" occurrence. Its time to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medicine in the interest of improving patient care.
TCM (which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine) considers PMS a disease, an imbalance, and abnormal. The symptoms listed above do not represent a normal cycle. A normal cycle should come and go without pain, swelling or emotional swings. TCM addresses any PMS symptoms and often alleviates them completely. PMS is very common in Western society, rooted from not only a physical, but mostly from an emotional nature. PMS stems from anger, stress, and frustration or resentment! Irregular dietary habits, poor nutrition, overwork, multiple pregnancies and childbirth.
The Liver channel (responsible for the even flow or movement of Qi and Blood affects the transformation and movement of fluids in the body, causing breast distention, abdominal pain, discomfort, or edema. The disruption of the flow of Qi affects emotions and edema causes Blood to stagnate.
The Liver channel starts near the big toe, travels through the uterus and up through the breasts, producing breast distention (fluid retention) and ovarian cramping. To alleviate PMS symptoms, the Liver Qi and the Blood must be soothed and must move effortlessly and evenly throughout the channel.