Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
326 Case Studies
147 Member Stories
36 Research

What is PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)?

What's PMS?

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is often looked at as a "problem" or disease. It's not. Instead, PMS is many different answers to an ordinary event in women's lives: menstruation. PMS generally occurs monthly, accompanied by specific symptoms and signs that could appear seven to ten days prior to menstruation and resolve after the beginning of the menstrual flow. To better understand PMS, it's essential to check the entire picture.

It's thought that there are approximately 150 physical and psychological symptoms that women may encounter. However, the most commonly reported symptoms are:

Physical Symptoms of PMS:

Abdominal Cramps

Breast Tenderness

Generalized Aches and Pains

Joint Swelling

Weight Gain

Intense Food Cravings

Bloating

Headaches

Skin Issues

Infection

Emotional Symptoms of PMS:

Sadness, Tearfulness

Irritability

Stress

Anger

Mood Swings

Depression

Panic Attacks

Poor Concentration

The amount, type, and severity of symptoms experienced may differ in women and the month. Symptoms grow about 7-10 days before the start of the interval, then immediately decline. Symptoms aren't experienced during the menstrual cycle. If a woman reports experiencing symptoms during the menstrual cycle, it isn't PMS. PMDD is when the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with regular daily activities. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) occurs in 2-5% of all women. 

See: Acne, eczema, anxiety, and PMS with Bisoma and Tetrasoma acupuncture, and Sasang herbs.

Possible PMS causes

Causes of PMS

The PMS cause is still unclear to scientists. There are various theories concerning the cause of PMS. These include:

Hormones - PMS symptoms may be triggered by menstrual hormones like estrogen and progesterone

Metabolism - Some PMS symptoms may be caused by the inability to properly metabolize fatty acids

Environment - Factors like the increased use of chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers may be related to an increase in rates of PMS

Calcium - Some researchers consider the cause of PMS may be connected to a calcium deficiency

Other factors - PMS symptoms are possibly caused by a combination of diet, stress, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Today's lives are incredibly different from those of women 100, 50, or even 20 years back. Constant physical and psychological demands, together with societal and environmental factors, can offset a woman's balance and leave her experiencing PMS symptoms.

See: Implantation Cramps vs PMS Cramps Difference

How Acupuncture & TCM view PMS

PMS view in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The National Institute of Health in 1997 released a  report which indicated acupuncture is effective in treating menstrual cramps and other symptoms related to PMS. Acupuncture can tackle PMS symptoms naturally, without drugs, by restoring balance and stability, both emotionally and physically. In Chinese medicine, PMS's leading cause is usually an imbalance or blockage of Qi (pronounced"chee") or vital energy and blood inside a particular organ and meridian systems. When Qi and blood become imbalanced or obstructed, signs and symptoms associated with PMS will look.

The part of an acupuncturist is to investigate the underlying causes contributing to PMS symptoms. Following a thorough diagnostic evaluation to ascertain what organ and meridian systems are out of equilibrium, they treat PMS symptoms according to individual imbalances and concerns.

PMS is a disorder characterized by many hormonal changes that trigger various symptoms for many women for up to fourteen days before menstruation. More than 5 million women require medical treatment for behavioral and mood changes. Symptoms tend to resolve with menstruation, and women remain symptom-free until about two weeks before the upcoming menstrual period. These types of regularly recurring symptoms from ovulation until menstruation typify PMS.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the simple energetic imbalance which causes premenstrual syndrome is"liver qi congestion," meaning that the qi's free flow from the body is compromised. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs frequently provide tremendous relief from PMS.

Acupuncturists sometimes use gentle, soothing infrared heat to the acupuncture points on the lower abdomen and lumbar sacrum area during your session, frequently providing immediate relief of various symptoms like cramping. Standard acupuncture and herbal therapy help balance female hormonal function and adrenal fatigue.

See: Curcumin attenuates severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine for PMS

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help

A systematic review of studies concluded herbal and naturopathic medicine treatments for premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder showed a major reduction of symptoms than the first state. In both acupuncture and herbal clinical interventions, there have been no serious adverse events reported, demonstrating the interventions' safety. In contrast, most interventions provided over 50% relief of symptoms related to PMS/PMDD.

When working with Premenstrual concerns, acupuncture treatments for 4-6 weeks can bring about considerable change in a woman's menstrual cycle and relieve the related symptoms. Many experience relief in their first 1-2 visits, but may require the full 4-6 or 6-12 visits to produce the necessary hormonal equilibrium. Herbal medicine is often used.

PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, is a severe form of PMS.

Physical symptoms, such as abdominal bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, and muscle or joint pain You need five or more of these symptoms to be diagnosed with PMDD. Symptoms occur during the week prior to your period and may go away after bleeding begins. These symptoms can be experienced for just a day or two per month, or they could last several weeks.

Chinese medicine believes our liver is responsible for keeping Qi's smooth movement and flow around our body. When the rise and fall of hormones within the body are interrupted, symptoms mentioned previously appear. Where does this Liver Qi stagnation happen?  Many stress factors in the modern age can be overwhelming and create more anxiety than the human body can withstand. Therapies in Chinese medicine for PMS include:

- Acupuncture

Acupuncture is among the best treatment modalities for the management of PMS. The aim of acupuncture sessions and treatment is to remove any blockages in the body and, at precisely the same time, balance hormonal alterations. Laughter leaves you feeling deeply relaxed, calms the mind, and reduces stress leading to emotional harmony. A lot of women notice a significant relief in their PMS symptoms in their first cycle.

- Sasang & Chinese Herbs 

Among the best herbal formulations for PMS is Named Xiao Yao San. It's been used for centuries with successful results in balancing hormonal transition and encouraging the liver. Chinese herbal medicine is beneficial in treating PMS. Some herbs are certain in soothing the liver, regulating blood and Qi circulation around the entire body. Your herbalist will prescribe the most acceptable formula for your unique symptoms and constitution.

- Dietary changes

 Chinese medicine thinks that consuming foods and icy drinks that are raw and cold for an extended period can weaken the digestive tract and cause more menstrual cramping during and prior to the cycle. Therefore, try to include more warm, cooked meals, and room temperature beverages.

Foods that tend to aggravate the liver that need to be avoided

-  Alcohol

- Coffee

- Red meats

- Greasy and fried foods

- Hot spicy foods

- Sugar

- Overeating

- Seed cycling

Seed cycling can help balance yin and yang, which means estrogen hormone (day 1-14, follicular phase) and the progesterone hormone (day 15-28 luteal phase). Various seeds contain various nutrients essential for our hormones: For the first 14 days of the cycle, have one tablespoon of Flaxseed and one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. On day 14 until next cycle, one tbsp of sunflower seeds and one tablespoon of sesame seeds.

- Exercise

Regular exercise (three to five times weekly for about 30-45 minutes) helps move the Qi around the body and avoid stagnation. Tai Chi and yoga helps with anxiety.

Acupressure points for  PMS:

LIVER 3 (LR3)

This is a widely used acupuncture point on the body that's mainly utilized to move stagnant energy. This stage can soothe the frustration and irritability feelings, help with abdominal cramps and breast tenderness. Location of this stage: LV3 is situated on the foot's dorsum, in the depression distal to the junction of the large and second toe. Press both points on each foot securely for 60-90 seconds while breathing deeply.

SPLEEN 6 (SP6):

This is another female acupuncture/acupressure point. It modulates the ovulation, boosts the flow of Qi in the pelvis, and calms the liver. It's the number one point for menstrual cramps since it's a direct relation to the uterus. It may also help with digestion and bloating. Location of this stage: SP6 is situated approximately four fingers over the medial malleolus tip, where there's typically a very tender depression. Press both points on each foot securely for 60-90 seconds while breathing deeply.

LARGE INTESTINE 4 (LI4)

Another significant acupuncture point is LI4 and is typically combined with LR3. This is referred to as the "four gates." It's used to start up the flow of Qi through the body. This point is usually utilized in treating migraines and headaches, but it may be used for almost any pain experienced in the entire body. Location of this point: LI4 can be found on the muscle's highest place once the thumb and index finger are held close together. Deep, firm pressure can be used to massage and stimulate the region for thirty seconds.

See: Seed Cycling For Hormone Balancing

Summary

 PMS can be a problem, but Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help. Find your community licensed acupuncturist or herbalist for possible remedies. Acupuncture has been used for healing an assortment of Women's health condition for centuries. Chinese medicine can be used as a complementary therapy to Western medical care but is frequently used alone with some success.

See: Fibromyalgia, Infection, PMS and Hot Flashes with Bisoma and Tetrasoma Acupuncture

References

1. National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Acupuncture, Program & Abstracts (Bethesda, MD, November 3-5, 1997). Office of Alternative Medicine and Office of Medical Applications of Research. Bethesda.

2. Jiayuan Zhang, Liu Cao, Yunxia Wang, Yuxia Jin, Xiao Xiao, Qi Zhang, "Acupuncture for Premenstrual Syndrome at Different Intervention Time: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2019, Article ID 6246285, 9 pages, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/6246285

3. Habek D, Habek JC, Barbir A. Using acupuncture to treat premenstrual syndrome. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2002;267(1):23-26. doi:10.1007/s00404-001-0270-7

4. Armour M, Ee CC, Hao J, Wilson TMarie, Yao SS, Smith CA. Acupuncture and acupressure for premenstrual syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD005290. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005290.pub2

See: TCM holistic treatment for premenstrual syndrome PMS

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