Dr. Maryam Mahanian, DTCM, RAc

Treatment of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

Are you one of the many women who struggle every single month with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)?

 

Symptoms include:

  • bloating

  • cramps

  • breast tenderness & swelling

  • mood changes and feeling irritability

  • frustration and depression

  • anxiety

  • acne

  • fatigue

  • food cravings

  • headaches

  • joint pain and water retention

These symptoms occur regularly before and/or during the menstrual period.

As many as 80% of women experience some degree of PMS at some time or another!

30-40% of these women have PMS severe enough to interfere with their day to day lives.

Some women may experience practically all of the symptoms of PMS while others may experience just a few.

What I Can Do For You

I have great news for you.

Chinese medicine has been treating PMS for centuries and in my clinical practice I use the wisdom and strategies of Chinese medicine to treat my patients effectively.

I use weekly acupuncture visits in combination with an effective, yet safe and gentle, Chinese herbal formula to help balance hormones.

On your first visit with me, I do a thorough health assessment where you’ll be asked many questions about your PMS but also about other systems in your body like your digestive system, body temperature, your diet and lifestyle. I’ll also look at your tongue and check your pulse.

With this information, I come to a Chinese medicine pattern diagnosis and treatment protocol.

You’ll then be given more information on what you can expect with the treatments and what you can do in addition to your treatments at home such as diet and lifestyle changes.

Chinese Medicine Perspective of PMS

In Chinese medicine, PMS almost always involves a pattern of disharmony between the liver and spleen organ systems.

Due to emotional stress, frustration and fatigue, the liver can become congested and the Qi (also loosely referred to as energy or life force) can become stagnant. 

Worry, lack of exercise, overwork, or improper diet cause the spleen to become weak. 

Because the liver and spleen are so closely connected, if the liver becomes congested, this itself can cause or worsen spleen weakness. On the other hand, if the spleen is weak, this may allow the liver to become even more congested. 

During the premenstrual time, liver congestion tends to worsen because the blood that was nourishing and moistening the liver is now being sent down to nourish the uterus. This makes the liver to not be able to do its job of moving Qi throughout the body and the Qi becomes blocked. 

The acupuncture treatments are wonderful in moving the Qi (energy) and getting rid of blockages & congestion in the body. 

Chinese Medicine Treatment: Treat the Root

As mentioned already, PMS has many causes and shows itself differently for different women. Most women respond very well to acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment in combination with dietary changes, exercise, and working on their emotional well being. 

In my practice, I seek to find the root cause of your PMS and I form my treatment protocols based on that. 

For example, for some women, the root cause may be dietary. For others it may be due to unbalanced hormonal fluctuations; and for others it may be a period of stress and frustration build up causing a shift in their emotional health.

What can you expect?

Typically, I advise the patient suffering from PMS to come into the clinic once per week for acupuncture and I’ll combine a Chinese herbal formula for them to take.

The Chinese herbal formulas I use in my clinic come in powder and pill form so they’re easy to take and convenient.

To effectively treat the root cause of your PMS, it takes approximately three menstrual cycles (three months). Some women will see a reduction in their symptoms right away while others it may take a longer period of time. Stress levels, lifestyle, and general health are important factors involved in response ime.

After the three months of treatment, a couple of maintenance visits may be recommended. This is enough to create hormonal balance and a permanent change for getting rid of PMS.

How does Acupuncture help?

As already mentioned, PMS is very often due to blocked Qi (energy) and blood in the body. This blockage can manifest as emotional blockage (frustration, irritability, anxiety, tension, impatience) and/or physical blockage (pain, breast tenderness, water retention etc.).

Acupuncture relieves this blockage by stimulating the circulation of blood and Qi throughout the body through the insertion of tiny thin needles into specific acupuncture points.

The results can be magical 🙂

Things You Can Do To Help Yourself

Here is some of the dietary, supplement & lifestyle tips I give my patients to help their PMS:

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables & leafy greens), whole-grain cereals and breads, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds, broiled chicken, turkey, and fish.

  • Have high-protein snacks between meals to balance blood sugar levels

  • Include foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and rich in fiber. These help rid the body of excess estrogen (if high estrogen levels are your problem)

  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid iced & cold water.

  • Avoid red meat, salt, processed foods, and junk food. Eliminating salt is especially important to prevent bloating and water retention around the menstrual period.

  • Limit consumption of dairy products and refined sugars

  • Avoid caffeine – caffeine can cause breast tenderness and anxiety as it is a central nervous system stimulant. It also depletes many nutrients out of the system as it acts as a diuretic.Studies have shown that women who consume caffeine are four times more likely to experience PMS symptoms than those who do not.

  • Avoid or limit alcohol, especially during the week before the period – it causes valuable nutrients like magnesium to be excreted out of the body through the urine

  • Regular exercise is very important as it increases oxygen levels in the blood which helps in nutrient absorption and efficient elimination of toxins from the body. It also helps keep hormone levels more stable. From a Chinese medicine perspective, exercise moves the Qi and blood and gets rid of stagnation in the body.

  • Supplements:

    • Vitamin B6 (50-100mg) plays a big role in helping your mood

    • If you have bloating, take Magnesium (400mg)

    • Calcium (1,000mg): many PMS sufferers don’t get enough calcium in their diets

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