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Henry McGrath Dip.Ac Dip.TCM ND MTh

Bristol based – Worldwide web consultations
Acupuncture – Chinese Herbal Medicine – Naturopathy

Pre–Menstrual Syndrome & Period Pain

26th February 2010

In Chinese medicine the period cycle is regulated by the “Liver Qi”.

The Liver Qi ensures the smooth flow of energy throughout the body, and is particularly important in ensuring the smooth running of the period cycle.

The smooth flowing of the Liver Qi is disrupted by:

  • Stress
  • Overwork
  • Caffeine
  • Irregular lifestyle
  • Contraceptive pill

When the Liver Qi does not flow smoothly, Chinese Medicine refers to it as “Liver Qi Stagnation”.

What problems can “Liver Qi Stagnation” cause?

  • Cramping pain in the uterus;
  • Symptoms along the course of the Liver meridian*, such as tender & painful breasts & headaches;
  • “Blood Stagnation”, which can cause more severe stabbing pain, heavy bleeding, blood clots and endometriosis (where uterine tissue exists elsewhere in the abdomen).

Why do some symptoms occur pre–menstrually?

According to the Chinese understanding, in every period cycle the uterus gradually fills with blood. When it is full, the period comes.

The Liver meridian* flows through the uterus. When the uterus is full of blood this slows down the Liver Qi. It is a little like being stuck in a traffic jam! This interferes with the normal functioning of the Liver, causing the problems mentioned above.
Luckily, acupuncture is great at moving stuck Qi. If there is blood stagnation, herbs will probably be necessary and are the treatment of choice in China for conditions such as endometriosis.

* The meridians are channels of energy that run through the body, carrying “Qi”, or “Life Force” to every cell.