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The menstrual cycle is about 21-35 days. Average is 28 days. Each cycle less than 21 days is a problem called early period. Longer than 35 days is a problem called late period. Menstruation lasts 3-7 days. Longer than 7days is called long period. Total amount of period bleeding is about 50-80ml. Less than the normal amount is called scanty period. More than the amount is called heavy period. One day before or during period, women can have slight pain around abdomen or lower back. The pain belongs to normal if it doesn’t affect people’s normal work and life. Otherwise, we consider it as painful period (dysmenorrhea).
Kidney, liver and spleen play most important role in the mechanism of menstruation.
There is kidney-essence and kidney Qi. Kidney essence is source of menstrual blood.
Kidney-essence and blood can exchange each other. Kidney essence and blood both are material basis for menstrual blood. So kidney is very important organ for menstruation.
In order for a woman to have a regular menstruation the Kidney Qi (Energy) and function must be regulated with herbs and acupuncture
There are two functions of liver which affecting menstruation.
First liver stores blood.
Second, liver regulates the distribution of the blood’s amount in the body.
Liver also soothes and regulates Qi, making Qi flow freely in the whole body. It activates blood circulation. Liver blood goes down to "sea of blood"(Chong meridian) and the liver blood changes into menstruation blood, then menstruation starts.
Normal menstruation depends on the functions of liver in storing and distributing blood.
This is why TCM emphasizes on regulating the flow of Qi to have a regular menstruation.
Stress has a negative effect on the flow of Qi. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can both help regulate the flow of Liver Qi and Blood.
Spleen and stomach function is transforming the food essence into blood and Qi, so spleen and stomach are source of Qi and blood.
Menstruation blood originates from the blood. Spleen deficiency causes the menstruation problem by failing to provide enough blood. Spleen-Qi has the function of consolidating blood. If spleen-Qi is deficient, Blood may leak out to cause bleeding problems, and irregular menstruation.
Anxiety affects Spleen and causes the Spleen to become deficient, and in turn this causes irregular menstruation.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help re-store the Spleen's function for a normal menstruation.
The relationship between Qi-blood and menstruation:
Menstruation needs blood. Blood is produced by the functional activity of internal organs. Qi and blood depend on each other. Qi is the commander of the blood, while blood is the mother of Qi. Because of the interdependence of Qi and blood, a woman's good health depend on the well-coordinated harmony of the Qi and blood.
In a nut shell disharmony of the above mentioned internal organs can be a source of gynecological disorders and consequently infertility in women.
How do Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine help menstruation problems?
For traditional Chinese Medicine, any deviation from a period that is not regular and pleasant and with blood that is healthy and red is considered a clinical problem. Different medical cultures see things differently. And, I believe, in gynecology, the traditional Chinese have it right. Not only is the suffering that women put up with unnecessary, but problems of menstruation early on from the teenage years if not corrected can lead and do lead, to my mind, to greater problem of infertility, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and more later in life.
The HELMS study (1987, Re: Acupuncture resource research center and British acupuncture council) indicates that real acupuncture (as opposed to sham acupuncture) was 90.9% successful in treatment of menstrual pain and its symptoms like; cramping pain, nausea, headache, breast tenderness, and fluid retention.
At the 6 months follow up 41% reduction of analgesic medication was achieved with real acupuncture.
Here is how acupuncture can help menstruation problems:
Regulating the menstrual cycle
enhancing sleep and increasing energy levels
Balancing endocrine system
Improving blood flow in pelvic cavity
Stimulating the neurotransmitters that trigger the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone
Improving the flow of Qi (energy) in Liver and other organs
Balancing internal organs
Chinese herbal medicine can play a similar role as they also operate on the same system as acupuncture does.