Menstrual pain can be a real drag.

Not only in the way that it feels, but also as it can take you out of action for several days at a time. Even just to know that a sharp jabbing pain may strike at any time without warning. Menstrual or premenstrual pain can manifest as a dragging sensation, a sharp jab, a constant ache or a twisting sharp stab. It may appear with nausea, back pain, with emotional upset, anger or even rage. Period pain can come before, during or after the period.

There may be blood clots present, or there may not. Some women live with menstrual pain that comes every cycle and some have never had pain at all. Some are unfortunate enough to experience both ovulatory and period pain in the one month, and hence suffer two or more weeks out of every four, effectively suffering half of their lives with period pain.

This should not be the case. It is not normal to have period pain, and you shouldn’t have to put up with it, thinking that it is normal does not make it so. A period should not be painful and there is most likely a clearly defined reason and a treatment for your type of pain.

There are many different types of period pain, with only a few of them mentioned above. There are as many recognised Chinese Medical patterns as there are types of period pain. Each can be effectively treated. So I ask, why put up with the pain, it shouldn’t be there. In Chinese Medicine, the flow and abundance of Qi and Blood depend on the functions of different internal organs and their internal relationships. For example, if the pain comes before the period, with distension of the breasts and mood swings, it is likely that the Qi (body energy) is not moving as it should. The Liver’s natural state is to move the Qi and to regulate blood movement. Qi Stagnation (energy blockage) or stasis in energy flow causes pain. The Liver channel naturally flows to the breast via meridian channels and specifically to the nipples, which can make the nipples tender when the natural flow is stuck.

There may be pain during the 2nd and 3rd days only or prolonged menstrual flow that is heavier than normal, a down-bearing heavy sensation and heavy bleeding. In this case, the Spleen Qi may be responsible. The Spleen Qi naturally ascends; it’s abnormal for it to fall. If the spleen Qi descends in this way, excessive bleeding and a downward dragging type pain ensues.

Red clots in menstrual blood with mild pain- suggest Qi stagnation. Black, clots with more severe and fixed type of pain, suggests Blood Stagnation. Both conditions are treated completely differently in Chinese Medicine.

If period pain comes only after the menstrual blood has stopped, there may be a Blood Deficient pattern, the Herbalist needs to assist the body form more blood. Menstrual pain with discharge before, after flow or within the menstrual blood suggest internal Dampness (unresolved turbid fluids). This unresolved fluid needs to be drained and the organs supported, so the body’s fluid processing ability is re-established. Menstrual flow may start and stop for different reasons. There may be headaches, abdominal bloating, back pain, fatigue, emotional change, postural dizziness, nausea, or other symptom.

In each case of period pain all the accompanying symptoms are cross-checked and are collated by the practitioner with further questioning, observation of the tongue and consideration of the nature of the pulse, a Chinese medical diagnosis is then determined, and treatment delivered with consideration of your individual constitution.

No matter the type of pain, wether there are large clots or no clots at all, wether the blood is dark, light or brown in colour. The more information the practitioner has, the more accurate the diagnosis, and more specific the treatment.

Acupuncture, herb or both are used in the treatment of period pain. Acupuncture reduces the pain quickly and the herbs assist in correcting the underlined issues over several months. A client should note significant changes within two to three cycles.

Do not loose hope, Chinese Medicine is an ancient and wise medicine, it stood the test of time for over 5,000 years and has proven itself time and again. It is used in Period Pain and other Gynaecological conditions. It provides supports during pregnancy and assists with easing delivery; it is used to naturally induce childbirth and assists in post-delivery rehabilitation of both mother and baby.

With Chinese Medicine, you are making a healthy choice to a better life, in a safer way and a more holistic approach.

Written by: Dr. Ehud Udi Tal
(Registered Practitioner of
Traditional Chinese Medicine)