PMS - Premenstrual Syndrome

For many women, that "time of the month" does not just pertain to their actual menstruation. In the one or two weeks prior to their period they could have symptoms of PMS or premenstrual syndrome.

Premenstrual syndrome symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings that may include depression
  • Sadness, irritability, crying
  • Anger, frustration
  • Cravings (especially for sweets or salt)
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Recurrent catching of a cold during the premenstrual time
  • Foggy-headedness and clumsiness.
  • These symptoms can subside or diminish abruptly at the onset of the period.

PMS is a reasonably simple syndrome to treat with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to TCM, the basic energetic imbalance which causes premenstrual syndrome is "liver qi congestion." The qi's (energy) free flow in the body is compromised. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs often provide enormous relief from PMS.

There are some excellent classic Chinese herbal formulas, particularly the formula "Free and Easy Wanderer" that when taken regularly can greatly reduce the symptoms of PMS. Acupuncture is very good at quickly relieving the symptoms of depression and bloating. It's helpful to schedule an acupuncture appointment once a month prior to menses.

In addition to the use of acupuncture and herbs in the treatment of PMS, one may want to look at its underlying cause, which often is due to your lifestyle or the way in which you relate with the world. Therefore, my approach to treating premenstrual syndrome will include exploring ways to reduce stress, increasing exercise (which circulates our "qi"), using relaxation techniques such as Tai Chi, yoga or meditation, and eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh natural foods.