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Melinda Leeson, DOM, HMC
7029 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite A.
Sarasota, FL 34231
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TCM STOPS PAINFUL MENSES
Sunday, January 03, 2010
PAINFUL PERIODS DEFINED:
The term “painful periods” describes abdominal or low back pain that occurs before, during or after menstruation. It can be dull or sharp, and is frequently associated with contractions to evacuate blood stored in the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrial) after ovulation. These pains may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or fainting in severe cases.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICAL TREATMENT PROTOCOL:
Traditional Chinese Medicine contends that liver “Qi” is the primary energy source responsible for menstruation. Ancient medical texts liken the liver to an army's general because it manages and directs the overall planning of all body functions requiring the smooth flow of Qi (energy) and blood throughout the body. The liver regulates blood volume, consistency, and rate of flow throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. Healthy menstruation requires the free and abundant flow of liver Qi and blood. If this flow falters for any reason, the exodus of blood from the uterus backs up, causing hyper contractions in the uterus and referred pain in the abdomen or lower back. Chinese Medicine calls this back-flow “stagnation” and identifies it as the primary cause for painful periods. A key sign that liver Qi has stagnated is the presence of clots in the menstrual blood.
The most common cause for painful menstruation is linked to the pathogenic influence of “cold” and/or “damp” weather, especially on young bodies during puberty. Scantily dressed young girls may play outdoor games or school sports in inclement weather, or lounge around in wet bathing suits after swimming. The cold or damp enters through the open skin pores, gaining too easy access to the energetic organs and channels that supply the uterus with Qi and blood. Frequent consumption of cold drinks, sodas and 'fast food' also cause the flow of Qi and blood to stagnate in the reproductive system.
Other more complex causes for painful periods usually begin later in life, and may be associated with organic problems such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or benign uterine tumors. Despite the complexity of these adult pathologies, the root of Chinese Medical diagnosis is still Qi and blood stagnation. Treatment involves the use of acupuncture and herbs to soothe and regulate liver function by moving Qi and improving the circulation of blood. Depending on the physician's assessment of the prevailing pattern of disharmony, treatment may also focus on expelling cold, resolving dampness, or clearing away other pernicious influences obstructing normal flow. Harmonizing and strengthening herbs are included in the treatment plan in order to increase overall energy and wellness.
Long term emotional strain is another cause for painful periods. Stressed emotions inhibit normal menstrual circulation. This can manifest as irritability, depression, mood swings, painful swollen breasts, and abdominal distention before or during menstruation. Many of us have insufficient coping mechanisms for dealing with the complexity and speed of our daily lives. Input from our emotional bodies is often ignored or suppressed so that we can simply get through the events of each day. Chinese Medicine believes that liver function is most susceptible to stagnation by emotions involving some form of resistance - especially anger. In simplest terms, the degree of emotional resistance experienced is equivalent to the degree of obstructed Qi and blood, and consequent pain. It may take a lifetime to acquire and perfect coping skills to ensure emotional and physiological harmony. In the meantime, Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, herbal prescriptions and healthy food choices have a long history of successfully restoring balance not only to the process of menstruation, but to our entire organism, thereby improving our ability to engage fully in life without monthly pain and misery.
For an appointment to evaluate your menstrual difficulties and customize a treatment plan for you, please contact:
Melinda Leeson, DOM. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine), HMC (homeopathic physician)
7029 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite A. Sarasota, FL 34231 Telephone: 926-9082
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