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Quansheng Lu, CMD, PhD, LAc
Relieving Menstrual Discomfort – A Holistic Approach
Wholelife Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
. http://www.wholelifeherb.com

Relieving Menstrual Discomfort – A Holistic Approach

<strong>Relieving Menstrual Discomfort – A Holistic Approach</strong>

Dysmenorrhea, a common health concern faced by women worldwide, refers to periodic pain experienced during or prior to, or after menstrual periods. It occurs due to disrupted contractions within the uterus caused by an excess of harmful prostaglandins. For some women, these pains can be severe enough to disrupt their daily activities for several days each month.

Symptoms of dysmenorrhea commonly include cramping, lower abdominal pain, lower back pain, or a pulling sensation in the inner thighs. Additionally, women may experience accompanying symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation.

Dysmenorrhea can be classified into two types: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs without any physical abnormalities and usually emerges within three years of menstruation onset. Factors contributing to primary dysmenorrhea include allergic reactions, an unhealthy diet, excessive estrogen, being overweight, smoking, and stress. Many experts attribute the uterine muscle contractions to prostaglandins, hormone-like substances involved in pain and inflammation. On the other hand, secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by gynecological conditions like endometriosis, fibromas, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

In Chinese medicine, pain is regarded as a symptom of an underlying issue. According to this approach, the root cause of pain can be attributed to either an excess pattern or a deficiency pattern. Excess patterns involve blockages of Qi and blood or the retention of heat, dampness, or wind. Deficiency patterns, on the other hand, result from insufficient Qi and blood or an imbalance in the kidney and liver.

Chinese medicine practitioners employ acupuncture and herbal medicine using various strategies to address dysmenorrhea, such as expelling wind, dissipating cold, eliminating dampness, moving Qi, invigorating blood, nourishing the blood, clearing heat, and tonifying the kidneys.

A recent review aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture in treating primary dysmenorrhea. The review included ten trials with data from 944 participants, with six trials focusing on acupuncture and four trials on acupressure. The findings revealed that acupuncture led to improved pain relief compared to a placebo.

In Chinese medicine, ginger has been widely utilized for an extended period to alleviate dysmenorrhea due to its anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, and circulatory properties. Ginger helps inhibit cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes, which contribute to menstrual cramps. Another commonly used Chinese medicine ingredient for treating dysmenorrhea is peach kernel.

By adopting a holistic approach that combines traditional Chinese medicine practices such as acupuncture and herbal remedies, women can find relief from dysmenorrhea and experience improved well-being during their menstrual cycles.

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