Many women will probably experience at least one or more irregular menstrual cycles and PMS symptoms at some point in their lifetime. However, if the irregular menstrual cycle persists it could suggest an internal disharmony. A woman’s life can be significantly disturbed by these problems and if not given the necessary attention, can contribute to infertility and illness. Some women believe that menstrual irregularities are a normal part of life and will eventually resolve themselves.
However, irregular, absent, painful, frequent, infrequent, heavy or scant menstrual periods are not usually considered normal and do not always resolve by themselves. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), when unrelated to pregnancy, irregular menstrual cycles are usually manifestations of certain imbalances in a woman’s body that need to be normalized. TCM views a healthy consistent period as a general barometer of women’s health. Therefore, in many cases, when the menstrual period is regulated by acupuncture, it is common to see other health-related conditions improve as well; such as a reduction of PMS symptoms like pelvic cramps, hot flashes, bloating, irritability, backache, depression, headaches, cravings, nausea, nightsweats, vaginitis, etc.
In Western medicine the common approach to regulating a menstrual cycle is to prescribe a birth control “pill.” However, some women, after they stop taking it, may experience what’s known as post-pill amenorrhea. The pill prevents your body from making hormones involved in ovulation and menstruation. When you stop taking the pill, it can take some time for your body to return to normal production of these hormones. But for some women, especially those who took the pill (for a long time) to regulate their menstrual cycles, may not have a period for many months.
In some cases, the “pill” can mask an existing imbalance instead of treating the root cause. In TCM, menstrual irregularities are ways your body is alerting you that there an unhealthy balance. Although your period may be “regular” while on the “pill” it should not be assumed that the problem has been corrected. It sometimes occurs that after women stop taking the “pill” their body’s resort back to their irregular menstrual cycle and abnormal periods. This may suggest that the menstrual irregularities and abnormal periods were not resolved but only managed. After many years of taking the “pill,” some women stop taking it in the hopes of getting pregnant. Unfortunately, some find it difficult to conceive as a result.
In many cases, menstrual irregularities as well as PMS symptoms can be regulated safely, effectivelyand drug-free using a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine. When the imbalance is normalized, women will often find that their period becomes regular and that PMS will resolve. A recent study involving eight acupuncture studies found that acupuncture for PMS was effective in relieving PMS symptoms by 78%. In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, traditional Chinese dietary modifications, lifestyle management tips and qi-gong breathing exercises will also be recommended with each visit to help you maintain your health and improve your overall vitality.