Mood swings, irritability, breast tenderness, food cravings, fatigue, skin problems, bloating, headaches, and depression… Oh, some of the many ‘joys’ of womanhood…Many women dread the last week of every cycle because of how miserable they feel, and, yet, they have accepted this as their ‘normal’. They have relinquished one week each month – that’s 3 months of their year(!)- to feeling terrible.
…But does it have to be this way?
The answer is: Absolutely not!
Chinese medicine has been treating premenstrual symptoms for thousands of years and here at Four Gates Acupuncture, we implement this time-tested wisdom to help Mainers address their PMS simply and effectively. Many of our patients are surprised and thrilled to find out that they don’t have to put up with feeling irritable and uncomfortable every month.
In Chinese medicine, uncomfortable symptoms before the period are related to an underlying imbalance, resulting in hormonal transitions that are not smooth. At Four Gates Acupuncture, we address this underlying imbalance with a combination of weekly acupuncture along with natural herbal formulas and supplements to help balance hormones, gently and effectively. Your herbs are always customized to address your particular presentation of symptoms.
Typically, for most PMS sufferers, a 3-month course of acupuncture and herbal treatment is necessary to regulate their cycle, bring their body back into balance, and reduce- or even eliminate -all PMS symptoms. Life-changing improvements are possible with treatment. These results are commonly seen in our clinic.
The research backs this up. Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments for PMS showed a 50% or better reduction of symptoms compared to the initial state. In both acupuncture and herbal medical interventions, there have been no serious adverse events reported, while most of the interventions provided over 50% relief of symptoms associated with PMS/PMDD.*
Dysmenorrhea is characterized by painful periods with abdominal cramping, lower back pain, pain that can radiate into the legs, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and can disrupt a women’s quality of life for multiple days each month.
Acupuncture for PMS
Acupuncture has been found as effective as NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil, etc.) for relieving pain in women experiencing dysmenorrhea.*
Aside from acupuncture care, there are strategies you can implement to help yourself. Here’s some of the advice we give our patients to improve their PMS symptoms:
- Get regular exercise.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale). These vegetables contain a phytochemical, Indole-3-carbinol, which can promote estrogen metabolism while supporting liver function. This makes it great for estrogen-dominant conditions such as endometriosis, PMS, and Uterine Fibroids. Note: consult your doctor before increasing intake if you have a thyroid condition.
- In the week before your period avoid alcohol, coffee, salt, and processed foods.
- If you feel irritable take Vitamin B6 (50 – 100 mg daily)
- If you suffer from breast tenderness take Vitamin E (400mg)
- If you suffer from bloating take Magnesium (400mg)
- If you feel weepy take Calcium (1200mg)
Dadkhah, H., Ebrahimi, E., & Fathizadeh, N. (2016). Evaluating the effects of vitamin D and vitamin E supplement on premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research, 21(2), 159–164. https://doi.org/10.4103/1735-9066.178237
Doll H, Brown S, Thurston A, Vessey M. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and the premenstrual syndrome: a randomized crossover trial. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1989 Sep;39(326):364-8. PMID: 2558186; PMCID: PMC1711872. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2558186/
Facchinetti F, Borella P, Sances G, Fioroni L, Nappi RE, Genazzani AR. Oral magnesium successfully relieves premenstrual mood changes. Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Aug;78(2):177-81. PMID: 2067759. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4815371/
Jang SH, Kim DI, Choi MS. Effects and treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine for premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder: systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Jan 10;14:11. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-11. PMID: 24410911; PMCID: PMC3898234. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24410911/
Shobeiri F, Araste FE, Ebrahimi R, Jenabi E, Nazari M. Effect of calcium on premenstrual syndrome: A double-blind randomized clinical trial. Obstet Gynecol Sci. 2017 Jan;60(1):100-105. doi: 10.5468/ogs.2017.60.1.100. Epub 2017 Jan 15. PMID: 28217679; PMCID: PMC5313351. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28217679/