Irregular Menstruation & Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
What is irregular menstruation?
Irregular menstruation is the abnormal variation in length, the severity of bleeding, and/or any other problems regarding the menstrual cycle. When the period cycle is not falling within the “regular” range, it can become a cause of concern as it may be related to one’s health.
For most women, the period usually starts around 12 but can range between the ages of 10 and 16. It is not unusual for irregular periods around this time, as the woman’s body may take some time to adjust to a regular pattern. The normal average number of flowing days is around 5-7 days while the entire menstrual cycle can range from 21-35 days but averages 28 days. The flow amount really depends on the person, as it can be light, moderate, or heavy and still be considered normal. When it comes to the color of period blood, it can be anywhere from bright red, dark red to brown. The cycle length, flow amount, and color of a woman’s menstruation may vary from person to person; however, it should typically be the same every month.
What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the combination of physical and emotional symptoms women experience about a week before their menstrual cycle. These symptoms can be mild for some while others may experience severe symptoms that can affect their daily lives.
What are the symptoms of irregular menstruation and PMS?
- Longer or shorter periods, such as periods lasting over 7 days
- Infrequent periods
- Missing several periods
- Much heavier or lighter menstrual flow than usual
- Periods accompanied by severe pain, cramping, nausea, or vomiting
- Spotting between periods, after sex, or after menopause
- Mood Swings or irritability
- Food cravings or appetite changes
- Tension or anxiety
- Trouble falling asleep
- Poor Concentration
- Change in libido
- Tender Breasts
- Cramping in the lower abdomen or back
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Acne flare-ups
What are the causes of irregular menstruation in Oriental Medicine?
In Oriental Medicine, the nature of irregular periods stems from 3 organs’ function: the Liver, the Spleen, and the Kidney. Therefore, when the Qi of these organs is affected, abnormalities may occur. Negative emotions such as stress, being upset, depression, and restlessness may cause Liver Qi stagnation which can affect the functions of the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney. Other factors, such as lack of care after a prolonged illness, excessive sexual activity, etc. can lead to conditions such as Blood Heat, Qi deficiency, Blood Stagnation, Blood Coldness, and Qi stagnation, all of which can lead to irregular menstruation.
What are the causes of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in Oriental Medicine?
PMS mainly stems from the Liver function; however, the Kidney and the Spleen functions are causes as well. PMS is a mix of Liver Qi stagnation, Kidney Yang deficiency, and Spleen Qi deficiency. When the Liver Qi is affected, a woman’s emotions are affected as well, causing emotional stress, outbursts, irritability, depression, headaches, etc. When the Kidney Yang is deficient, soreness in the lower back, fatigue, cramps, cold sensation is experienced. As of Spleen Qi deficiency, it shows foggy unclear thinking, digestive problems, heavy bleeding, lack of appetite, etc. When women experience these symptoms during PMS, it is usually rooted in the imbalance or deficiency of these organs.