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Traditional Chinese Medicine: Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
by Sharon A. Wyse, L.Ac.



Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of symptoms that start one to two weeks before your period. Most women have at least some symptoms of PMS, and the symptoms go away after their periods start. In recent literature it is noted that as many as 80% of women experience some form of PMS at some time or another. 30-40% of these women have PMS severe enough to interfere with their day to day lives! 

One reason that Traditional Chinese medicine is so beneficial in treating symptoms of PMS is because the therapy involved focuses on treating the root of the problem rather then just the present symptoms. Because most of the symptoms related to PMS are subjective, many Western practitioners are at a loss when it comes to treating PMS and are quick to prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen.

Please be aware that as a woman you do not need to be experiencing this pain and discomfort every month! When the symptoms of PMS are reduced or eliminated, women feel more energetic -- physically, mentally, emotionally and creatively. 


Some of the symptoms related to PMS include but are not limited to: 


Abdominal bloating and cramps, breast tenderness & swelling, mood changes (irritability, frustration, depression, anxiety), acne, back pain, fatigue, food cravings, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, water retention, dizziness.  



Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment: Treating the Root     


Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been widely and successfully used to treat PMS. The symptoms of PMS may differ from woman to woman; what is unique and special about TCM treatments is that the variations in each woman's condition are acknowledged. Most women respond very well to acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment in combination with dietary changes, exercise, and working on their emotional well being.     


In traditional Chinese medicine, groups of symptoms, or syndromes, are typically classified into patterns that involve the internal organs and/or energy pathways of the body. The three major organ systems that are primarily involved in the PMS pattern differentiation are the Liver, Heart, Spleen and Kidney.    


Liver Qi Stagnation pattern: Emotional stress is one of the main contributors to the Liver Qi Stagnation pattern of PMS. Other clinical manifestations include headache, breast tenderness, depression, irritability, and a feeling of distention or pain under the rib cage.



Heart Blood deficiency pattern: Chronic illness or excessive menstrual blood loss contributes to Heart Blood Deficiency pattern of PMS. Other clinical symptoms include: Heart palpitations, dizziness, insomnia, emotional upset, speaking incoherently, sadness, fatigue/sluggishness, poor memory and dull-pale complexion.



Spleen qi/ yang deficiency pattern: Poor diet and emotional stresses are the main causes for Spleen qi and yang deficiency pattern of PMS. Clinical manifestations include: feeling weak and lethargic, edema of the lower body, easy to bruise, bearing down sensation of the abdomen/ uterus, pale face, shallow breathing, loose stools. 


Kidney qi/ yang deficiency pattern: A pattern of menstrual disorders with Kidney Yang Deficiency will often include back soreness before and during menstruation, fatigue, watery menstrual blood, diarrhea just before menstruation, cramps after menstruation begins, ringing in the ears, or a feeling of cold in the body.



About the Author


Sharon Ann Wyse, L.Ac., is a New York State Licensed Acupuncturist and a Certified Chinese herbalist. She is a Board Certified Diplomate of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Sharon's philosophical approach to treatment includes a strong emphasis on patient education. She maintains a strong commitment to the promotion of the integration of Eastern and Western medicine as a future medical model within our health care system. Specialized areas of interest include women's health, stress management, addictions, digestive and bowel disorders, insomnia, and the treatment of sinus and allergy problems. Visit her website.





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