Spring has finally arrived and following my last article “Liver cleanse – Detox your liver with the right foods and 6 other ways” where the liver was the central role, we still stay with this organ which is always affected when menstrual imbalances exist resulting in premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Every month, millions of women experience different premenstrual symptoms that can make life difficult for 7-14 days before their period begins. Common signs of premenstrual syndrome include on the psycho-emotional level: mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness, depressions, fears and listlessness. On a physical level: tiredness, headaches, heat waves, sweating, bloating, acne, tender breasts, constipation, diarrhoea and water retention. PMS shows up differently and normally the signs disappear when the period starts. Some have such severe symptoms that they are already afraid of the next cycle.
Reasons can be found in hormonal imbalances like an estrogen excess or a prolactin or serotonin deficiency, as well as problems with the thyroid. Stress, lack of exercise, medications and defective regulation of the vegetative nervous system are causes as well.
Chinese medicine traces premenstrual syndrome symptoms down to a stagnation of liver Qi. The liver stores the blood and regulates the smooth flow of Qi in the body, and is usually the organ involved in menstrual problems. When liver Qi flows smoothly, the menstrual cycle runs also smooth. When the liver Qi becomes stagnant, it can make menstrual flow heavy and blocked and premenstrual symptoms appear. If the Qi stagnation turns to blood stagnation, pain can become more intense and localised.
Chinese Medicine and PMS
Every woman has the chance to improve the condition by following a proper diet, exercising regularly and reducing stress on an emotional level as well as in lifestyle habits. Dietary therapy involves avoiding foods and drinks that stagnate the liver Qi or heat the liver up. All sweets, strong spices such as hot peppers, stimulants like coffee and cola, alcohol and deep-fried foods should be avoided, especially up to 14 days before the period starts. Reduce meat and cow milk products during this period. If a woman suffers from strong emotional disturbances, conversations with a psychologist can support the process.
Acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion and herbal treatments will help to relieve premenstrual syndrome symptoms. The treatment takes at least three months to fully address the hormonal irregularities and subsequently can be prolonged if needed.
The classic Chinese herbal formula for liver qi stagnation is Xiao Yao Wan (Ease Form). It promotes the smooth flow of liver Qi and consequently strengthens the spleen Qi. However, Chinese herbals should only be taken after consulting a therapist for Chinese medicine, to ensure it is the right formula for your situation.
Some western herbs that are addressed for this pattern can vary from chamomile, sage, lavender, shepherd’s purse, lady’s thistle and lady’s mantle.
Acupuncture is a very efficient therapy for premenstrual syndrome. Some powerful acupuncture and acupressure points are, for example: liver 3, large intestine 4, spleen 4 and 6, pericardium 6, gall bladder 34 and 41, Yintang, conception vessel 6 and stomach 30. Acupressure Points
Yoga is a gentle and great way to help with PMS. Please see one my recent posts on facebook where you get an idea which yoga poses aid the liver Qi
PMS can be a huge burden but fortunately there are solutions. Contact me if you want to discuss your case in person.
About the author Carina Greweling
She is a state-approved naturopath from Germany who studied after her exam Chinese medicine, craniosacrale therapy and Bach flowers and deepened her knowledge of meditation and yoga while she was living in India. She offers in her practice in Paris tailor-made treatments and is specialised in women´s health. In regular workshops and yoga retreats she proposes to gain deeper knowledge and inspiration about a healthy body and mind. She also gives online consultations. Contact her if you have any questions.