So many women are suffering from painful periods. In fact, more than half of women who menstruate have pain during their periods at some point. This pain is referred to as dysmenorrhea and ranges in intensity and duration. Painful periods can be caused by many different factors, but to simplify things, in chinese medicine, it is most often caused by stagnation. This stagnation of qi and blood, with a background of either deficiency or excess is causing pain. There are several meridians involved in menstrual cycle health and regularity. Stay tuned for a more detailed post on the chinese medicine theory on the menstrual cycle as it compare to the western view on the menstrual cycle.
In western medicine terminology dysmenorrhea is typically caused by increased release of prostiglandins and can also be a result of conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, or fibroids. The uterine lining releases prostaglandins in response to the triggering of your period, if these levels are too high, there can be increased pain, discomfort and crampng. In conditions such as endometriosis, the lining of the uterus that is growing outside the uterine walls, responds to hormones and can cause adhesions to other tissues which can create pain.
In the clinic a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion and sometimes cupping are employed to help treat painful periods, but there are also a lot of things you can do at home to help.
Acupressure - Here are 2 of my favorite points to use at home for painful periods.