PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
What is PMS?
The menstrual cycle is a result of the complicated hormonal interactions between the brain, reproductive organs, adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid glands. Premenstrual syndrome, PMS, is the set of over 150 symptoms that are the result of the hormonal shifts related to the post-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms may begin from one day to 14 days before the menstrual period, and typically cease when menstruation begins.
Symptoms may include:
- Mood swings
- Confusion or fuzzy thinking
- Changes in libido
- Cravings, especially for salty or sweet foods
- Alcohol intolerance
- Abdominal and pelvic cramps
- Weight gain
- Breast swelling and pain
- Heart pounding (palpitation)
- Urinary problems
Acupuncture is a highly effective in helping to regulate menstrual cycles, reduce stress, influence hormone regulation, and improve blood flow in the reproductive areas.
Acupuncture increases endorphin levels in the blood, blocking the transmission of pain signals, and increasing adrenocorticotropic hormone levels. Acupuncture helps influences hormonal regulation centres of the brain and autonomic nervous system so as to improve hormonal states gently and naturally. By establishing a regular cycle and balancing hormones, symptoms of PMS naturally decline.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
In conjunction with acupuncture or as treatment on its own, Chinese herbal remedies are useful in treating menstrual irregularities gently and naturally. Chinese herbal formulas are specially tailored for each individual case (and are safe for breastfeeding).
While acupuncture primarily stimulates flow of energy and blood, Chinese herbal formulas can further help to replenish deficiencies in the endocrine, immune, and metabolic systems. Chinese herbal formulas help to regulate the menstrual cycle, which in turn naturally alleviates many symptoms of PMS.
Nutrition & Diet
A healthy and balanced diet is essential in the treatment of unbalanced blood flow and hormone regulation, as food intake directly impacts the body’s natural ability to regulate hormones. Eliminate, or avoid, foods with trans-fatty acids, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
Lifestyle & Mind-Body Medicine
In addition to acupuncture and nutrition, learning relaxation techniques are greatly beneficial to general health and wellbeing. Chronic, or acute, lifestyle stress can have a wide variety of negative effects on the body, including reproductive organ blood flow and hormone regulation. Physical and psychological stress can make existing symptoms worse and delay overall internal healing.
Techniques that elicit the relaxation response (a state of deep relaxation in which the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease, muscle tension relaxes, stress hormone levels fall, and the mind becomes tranquil), and relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga may aid greatly in bringing balance to mental and emotional states. Practising focused deep-breathing, meditation, yoga, tai-chi and some examples of ways to increase your chances of a healthy life. Listening to music, focused breathing, or being outside in nature are also effective methods of managing stress.
Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to decrease inflammation and balance hormones. It helps to change your relationship with stressors, to help build resilience and decrease the negative impacts that stress can have on the body.