The purpose of this article is to explain menstrual cramps and recommend a well-known “quick fix” that has been applied by the Chinese for thousands of years. It is not intended to specifically address all of the symptoms commonly associated with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)… just menstrual cramps.
First, I think it is relevant to explain that in Chinese Medicine there exists the notion that there is a perfect menstrual period. The ideal period should last from 3 to 5 days. Menstruation period should be painless and accompanied by minimal symptoms before, during and after. Menses should be free flowing, of moderate volume and bright red in color for the duration. Any variation from this pattern would be considered other than normal and indicative of processes occurring in the body worthy of further investigation.
For example, pain in the abdominal area below the rib cage at any time can be an initial indication of what is referred to as “Liver Blood Stasis”. Dark and clotted menstrual blood is a definitive sign of Liver Blood Stasis and is almost always accompanied by mild to severe pain (menstrual cramps). Prolonged Liver Blood Stasis can lead to serious conditions such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, or endometriosis. It is best to address early symptoms rather than wait for a serious condition to arise.
In accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine, where there is free flow of Qi and Blood, there can be no pain.
In Chinese Medicine, the uterus and the Liver are closely related. The Liver maintains free flow of the Qi in the body. When there is restricted Qi flow in the Liver, Blood stasis occurs. Liver, Spleen and Kidney channels run through the lower abdomen and all can affect the uterus influencing fertility and menstruation. If any of the channels are blocked or deficient, what will often manifest initially is a menstrual abnormality.
Liver Blood Stasis is responsible for those annoying cramps. Liver Blood Stasis is also responsible for depression, outbursts of anger or other sudden uncontrollable displays of emotion- like crying without provocation.
What causes Liver Blood Stasis?
Hereditary factors- “Constitution” as described in Chinese Medicine depicts strengths and weaknesses inherited at birth. If previous generations of females had menstrual problems due to disharmony in the function of specific internal organs it is possible for those … to be passed down….
Emotional factors- Blood can become constrained in the Liver due to deeply seeded emotions of anger or frustration. Lack of appropriately moving Blood in the Liver can occur as a result of failure to deal appropriately with past events or manifest due to an ongoing situation at home, work or school.
Other factors- Stress causes changes in breathing patterns limiting physical movement in the upper abdominal area required for sufficient movement of Liver Qi and Blood. Injury or surgery to the abdominal area is considered trauma that can heal improperly due to impeded Blood or Qi flow.
Now for the quick fix! There is an ages old Chinese herbal formula that eases menstrual cramps caused by Liver Blood Stasis.The formula is called Xiao Yao San. Active Herb carries this herbal blend under the name EaseTonic.
Ease Tonic can help alleviate these symptoms that occur in conjunction with menstrual cramps:
– Abdominal bloating
– Breast swelling and tenderness
– Migraine headaches
– Menstrual irregularity
– Painful menstruation
For irritability, ringing in the ears, hot flashes or other heat signs Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, otherwise known as EaseTonic Plus by Active Herb is more appropriate in the recommended dosages.
There are a number of conditions according to Chinese Medicine that could result in Liver Blood Stasis. The complete array of symptoms associated with PMS encompasses numerous organ systems unique to the individual and are best assessed and course of therapy recommended by a trained Chinese Medicine professional.