A 33-year-old woman waits her turn at the clinic to try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for her menstrual cramps and PMS. She has heard that Chinese medicine is good for treating menstrual pain, and she hopes that todays appointment will begin to treat the cramps, which have gotten worse with each passing year. Looking for an alternative treatment to her problem, she is typical of a growing number of women in America who are tired of taking NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) like Advil and Tylenol to treat their menstrual cramps every month.
Most of the women who seek treatment are in their childbearing years and have had pain for several years. One of the causes of menstrual cramps is endometriosis. This is a condition in which the tissue which forms the lining of the uterus forms outside the uterus. Aside from menstrual pain, this condition also causes lower back pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, problems with urination and bowel movements, and infertility.
Western medicine can diagnose this problem and can offer surgical options such as laparoscopy or a hysterectomy to treat the condition. Laparoscopy may treat the condition for the time being, but many women find the problem may return in a few months or years. A hysterectomy will leave a woman unable to have children since the uterus is removed. Other Western medicine options include taking medications such as oral contraceptives. These medications can have many side effects and hormonal effects on the body.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we have ways to treat this condition without any side effects. Acupuncture is used to control the pain, regulate the menstrual cycle, move the Qi (energy) and blood. We then address the root cause of the problem with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. In TCM, we see this condition as being caused by several internal states. A licensed acupuncturist can make the diagnosis, and it can be different for each patient even though their symptoms may be the same. The treatment for each patient is also different depending on their diagnosis.
There are several other conditions that can cause menstrual pain. Whatever the reason, acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are very successful in treating cramps, PMS, etc. Treatment for menstrual pain usually requires a series of treatments. Usually, most patients will see a difference in three to four weeks of treatment, but generally six to eight treatments (one treatment per week) are required. Usually, Chinese Herbal Medicine is prescribed as well. If youre living with menstrual pain, there is hope.
Jasmine Patel graduated from Bastyr University with her degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She went to China and did advanced internships in a hospital in Shanghai, China, and completed a one-year residency in Chinese Medicine at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. She is a licensed acupuncturist in the states of Washington, Wisconsin and Illinois. To make an appointment with her, call 815-963-3755.