Wellness Articles

Painful Periods (aka Dysmenorrhea)

Health Tips Provided by Vancouver Chiropractor and Naturopath

The monthly period. It is a pivotal marker for a woman’s fertility, and the body’s constitution and state of health have significant influence on how smoothly the body will undergo the menstrual cycle.

For some, the monthly period is just a minor inconvenience. But for many, the monthly period is a time of agonizing pain, cramping and other bodily discomfort that is met with dreaded anticipation every single month.

When women experience strong painful cramping before, during or just after the menstrual period, that is referred to as dysmenorrhea.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are five primary causes for painful periods:

1. Qi stagnation and blood stasis: seen as abnormal circulation or flow of energy and/or blood in the body
◦ Distending abdominal pain
◦ Pain aggravated by pressure
◦ Pain occurs just before or during onset of menstruation
◦ Often restricted menstrual flow during the first day
◦ Dark purple blood with clots or large pieces of decomposed tissue
◦ Breast tenderness
◦ rib/flank pain or discomfort

2. Cold-dampness coagulation and obstruction: seen as abnormal cold in the lower abdominal area
◦ Cold pain in lower abdomen just before or during menstruation
◦ Pain that worsens with pressure, but is relieved by warmth
◦ Light menstrual flow
◦ Dark purplish blood with clots
◦ Loose stools or diarrhea
◦ Dislike cold temperatures

3. Qi and blood deficiency: seen as lack of energy and blood in the body
◦ Persistent dull pain during or after menstruation
◦ Pain relieved with pressure
◦ Heavy or very light flow
◦ Pale thin blood with no clots
◦ Tendency for fatigue, dizziness and palpitations

4. Insufficient Liver and Kidney: seen as overworked or exhausted Liver and Kidneys
◦ Dull pain in lower abdomen after menstruation
◦ Light flow
◦ Dark blood with no clots
◦ Aching lower back and knees
◦ Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
◦ Occasional feverish sensation

5. Down Pouring Damp-Heat: seen as abnormal heat in the lower abdominal area
◦ Pain or burning sensation in lower abdomen during menstruation
◦ Pain is worsened by pressure
◦ Distending pain the lower back
◦ Thick dark red blood with clots
◦ Frequently have yellowish vaginal discharge
◦ Frequent low fever

Acupuncture and TCM herbal therapy have a long history in aiding reproductive health. They can help harmonize and correct your body constitution to alleviate painful periods.

If you are experiencing painful periods just recently, it is advisable to go see your family doctor or gynecologist to check for any functional or structural abnormalities first before seeking alternative therapies.

Book your appointment at Vitality Clinic at 604-687-7678, or contact myself (clow.vitality@gmail.com) to see if acupuncture and TCM would be right for you.

Have a great day,
Clarissa Low, RTCMP
Vancouver Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

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