Know Your Flow

February 21, 2023

When I entered Chinese Medicine School, I realized I wasn’t the only woman who experienced problems with her period. Nearly every one of my female colleagues and patients had at least one complaint about their cycle, including painful cramping, irritability, acne, too late of a flow, too early of a flow, mid-cycle bleeding, skipping months, depression, breast distention, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating. According to a comprehensive review published in the Gynecological Endocrinology journal in 2013, up to 90% of women of reproductive age experience several symptoms before their period ranging from mild to severe during the course of their lifetime.  In western medicine, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is considered a “normal” part of the month for roughly 30+ years of your life. But should it be?

Acupuncturists love to ask about and analyze menstrual cycles. Your blood, and how it flows, can tell us so much about your internal landscape. Let’s look at the ideal cycle according to TCM:

  1. You should bleed every 28-35 days.
  2. Bleeding should last between 3-5 days.
  3. A moderate flow would use 3-6 tampons or pads every 24 hours.
  4. The color of your blood should be crimson red with even consistency.
  5. There should be minimal, if not no, pain or “PMS” symptoms.

If you identify with all five of these criteria, congratulations! You have a healthy cycle. However, if you are one of the many who struggle with any of the above, know you are amongst friends, and TCM can help to both explain and treat the root cause of your symptoms. So, why do these irregularities happen in the first place?

  1. An early cycle may stem from qi deficiency, and a late cycle may indicate qi stagnation.
  2. A shorter bleed or scanty flow may be due to blood deficiency, and a longer bleed or a heavy flow may indicate blood heat.
  3. Blood that is purple colored with clots indicates blood stasis, and blood that is pink and watery often indicates qi deficiency.
  4. Any pain, such as cramping or headaches, often indicates stagnation in the meridians.

Receiving regular acupuncture treatments and taking Chinese herbal medicine can lessen, and even eradicate, your symptoms over time to improve the quality of your life. Don’t suffer alone - book your treatment today to get your flow back on track.

About the Author: Danielle Gaglini Hallowell is a New Hampshire and Maine licensed acupuncturist who practices at the NH Health & Wellness Center in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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