I think we women have been sold a bill of goods. We have been taught that PMS is inevitable and unavoidable. Told that at least some degree of cramping or breast tenderness or mood swings (or all of the above and more!) just comes with the territory of having a menstrual cycle. Not true.
In Chinese Medicine PMS is a sign that something is out of balance in our bodies…which means that PMS is not a natural state of being. It also means that we can find our own natural state of being that is pain-free.
PMS symptoms range from mild to severe. Cramping can feel like some downward pulling or pressure all the way to stabbing pain that has you doubled over. PMS can also include breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, appetite changes, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances, mood swings (from crying to anger and back again), anxiety and depression. For some women, the few days before, during and/or after their menstrual cycle border on disabling.
The good news is this is not inevitable and you can experience pain free menstrual cycles without resorting to painkillers or birth control pills. Chinese Medicine views PMS, or dysmenorrhea, through two general lenses: excess or deficiency and I tailor acupuncture treatments and dietary recommendations accordingly. In general, I find that I can greatly reduce or completely eliminate PMS within a few menstrual cycles with regular acupuncture and dietary changes.
Some things you can try at home to relieve PMS:
· Exercise. Many women who experience PMS have some degree of Liver Qi Stagnation. Going for a walk, doing yoga, lifting weights or some other exercise that you enjoy gets your Liver Qi moving and reduces PMS.
· Eliminate or greatly reduce caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Sorry. I know. But these things exacerbate PMS (among other things). You’ll feel better all month long by reducing or eliminating your intake of these.
· Castor Oil packs. Castor Oil is a wonderful pain reliever! It is excellent for many gynecological issues, including fibroids and menstrual cramps. Take a piece of flannel cloth folded three times, saturate one layer of the flannel with the castor oil and put that layer against your skin on your lower abdomen, cover with plastic wrap, place a heating pad on top and relax for 30-60 minutes. Just be aware that Castor Oil can be messy and stain. Use it when you have cramps or try doing this a one or two days before your period begins, it may relieve the intensity or duration at the outset.
Tired of dreading the “time of the month”? Give me a call to get started on making your entire month feel great.