Evergreen Acupuncture & Herbs

Health Education Articles

Menstrual Cramps

By Kimberly Guorong Du

Women with mild menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) tend to take Aspirin, Tylenol. Those with moderate pain may take nonsteroidel anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS), such as Ibuprofen. And the women afflicted with severe pain may need to take birth control pills or other prescription drugs.

The continuous consumption of these drugs may cause side effects ranging from light menstrual flow and gradual weight gain to problems with fertility. Those plagued by the brutal pains of dysmenorrheal month after month may even resort to hysterectomy. However, these extreme treatment methods are not necessarily the only solution.

In traditional Chinese medicine, intense menstrual cramps are viewed as the body being out of its natural balance. The majority can be treated through acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

With regular treatment, it may be possible to completely alleviate patients of menstrual cramps. Patients should plan regular visits on a fixed schedule a few times right before their period begins. Most patients would be able to live free of dysmenorrhea after a few sessions of this treatment method.

The philosophy behind Traditional Chinese medicine is not to merely treat symptoms and cover up pain. The main purpose of Chinese medical treatment methods is to fix the problem at its roots. The pathomechanism of dysmenorrhea is the stagnation of Qi and blood circulation. The cause of such stagnation is categorized into four main types. It is necessary to clearly distinguish the category of each individual cause of dysmenorrhea in order to determine accurate treatment methods.

The four categories are:

  1. Qi Xue Zhu Ci: Qi stagnation and blood stasis; lower abdominal bloating and pain immediately prior to and during menstrual bleeding.

  2. Han Shi Lin Ci: coldness/dampness, blood congelation, and pain in lower abdominal area; the pain may also spread to waist and lumbar (lower back) region.

  3. Qi Xue Xu Ruo: Qi-blood vacuity; lower abdominal pain during and continuing to after menstrual period; at times the pain reduces while pressure is applied on abdominal surface.

  4. Gan Shen Kui Xu: liver and kidney insufficiency; dull pain in lower abdominal and lower back regions; fatigue; lumbar region sore and weak; amount of bleeding and color of blood are light.

It is possible for some patients to fall under multiple or a combination of the four categories. The biggest benefit of Traditional Chinese medicine is its flexibility. Acupuncture and herbal medicine is always tailored to each individual's specific conditions.

It is a wonderful thing to be free of the intense monthly pains, and to be free from the dependency on painkillers to participate in everyday activities. All that's left is to call and seek a consultation to end the worries of your menstruation pains.