Premenstrual syndrome from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine
Premenstrual syndrome is a set of pre-menstrual problems and current medicine does not classify it as a disease, but this syndrome greatly affects a woman’s health. But how does a woman know that it is also a so-called premenstrual syndrome? We can talk about 2 areas of difficulty – mental and physical. Psychological symptoms are characterized by particularly rapid mood swings, irritability, tearfulness, depression, fear, melancholy, annoyance, frustration, exhaustion, reluctance to live or, conversely, increased work activity, taciturnity or, conversely, increased talkability, etc. Physical symptoms that appear before menses, include breast pain and enlargement, chest tightness, dumpling or tightness in the throat, frequent sighing or yawning, bloating and enlargement of the abdomen, weight gain, swelling of the lower limbs or face (water retention), back pain, worsening of acne or eczema, increased sugar cravings, appearing cysts in the ovaries, fibrous swelling in the breast (cystic fibromastopathy).
How does Chinese medicine explain these seemingly unrelated problems?
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the following 3 meridians are mainly responsible for menstruation: the path of the kidneys, liver and spleen. In our case, the paths of the liver and spleen are the main “contributors” of premenstrual problems. The spleen path “produces” blood, and liver path is then a kind of blood “reservoir”. At the same time, however, all mental disharmonies are the first to be directed back into the liver path. It doesn’t matter if the emotions are suppressed, retained or, on the contrary, aggressive and choleric – in the end all they lead to slowing down the flow of blood and energy in the path of the liver to their blockade. The blocked liver then oppresses the spleen, which suffers like a slave under the slaver’s whip and which then cannot produce enough energy and blood, creating a famous vicious circle. And this is precisely the cause of the above-mentioned problems – inability of the blood to flow through the liver due to the blockage of blood and energy, which has 2 causes:
- emotions – whether small but constantly recurring (according to the motto: a hundred times nothing killed the donkey) or excessive in the form of various shocks
- “weak” blood in the liver – this Chinese term can be imagined as little water in the stream, which has no strength to flow further and stops, which again creates a kind of blockage.
What is risky or even dangerous in premenstrual syndrome for a woman from the point of view of traditional Chinese medicine is the fact that any blockage in the future may manifest itself on a physical level as a long-term clogged gutter, which may “bulge” in the form of a cyst, tumour (whether malignant or non-malignant), myoma, fibroma… That’s why it’s so important to get rid of premenstrual problems early on. It is necessary to unblock and make passable the liver and thus release emotions, strengthen the spleen, nourish and stimulate the blood.
According to TCM, premenstrual syndrome can be caused most often by 3 causes:
1. Stagnation of Qi energy in the liver GAN QI ZHI – It is manifested mainly by feelings of nervousness, depression, and fear, also by pressure on the chest, anorexia.
Suitable diet is e.g. beef, celery, cumin, cashew mushrooms, field mint, yellow soy, cucumber, mung beans, egg yolk, orange peel.
2. Rising hot mucus – It is manifested mainly by great irritability, insomnia and headaches, then by a red face, red eyes and pressure on the chest.
Suitable diet is e.g. celery, mung beans, corn, cucumber, seaweed (seaweed).
3. Heart blood deficiency XIN XUE XU – It is manifested mainly by feelings of depression, incoherent speech and long-term menstruation, as well as insomnia, forgetfulness, nervousness, fatigue, timidity and general mental fatigue and weakness.
A suitable diet is e.g. rice, cereals, chicken eggs, walnuts, honey, ham, mutton, pork, potatoes and grapes.
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