Today we shine the light on menstrual pain.
Why am I in a position to comment on this? I’m surrounded by women who have experience/d difficult cycles, on a daily basis. Whether it’s in my home life; Mum, Sister, partner, family; or if it’s clinically with all the awesome women who turn up each week to work on ways to eliminate pain.
Context: In Chinese Medicine a woman’s menstrual cycle is key marker of general health within the body. As a woman’s hormonal system regulates over the month, we want to have the best possible period and cycle so we can maintain optimal health and wellbeing across all aspects of life e.g. sleep, training, lifestyle.
A lot of Chinese medicine ideas get dismissed in today’s day and age because we are overly reliant on conventional western medical interventions, but there are a lot of tools you can implement right now that will benefit your cycle overall. (More to come on this
One of the key markers of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is that each woman is different and thus each woman requires an individualised treatment approach whether its specific acupuncture points, herbal remedies or lifestyle changes.
For most women it is a combination of all these things that make a big difference in their cycles.
We often normalise pain and discomfort by saying that because it affects most people it is something that you have to live with- in my clinical experience this is largely false.
But, we’re up against it as the statistics aren’t great:
“Around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime. You can suffer from period pain from your early teens right up to the menopause. Most women experience some discomfort during menstruation, especially on the first day. But in 5% to 10% of women the pain is severe enough to disrupt their life. (1)”
“If your mother suffered period pains, you are more likely to suffer too. In 40% of women, period pain is accompanied by premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, tender breasts, a swollen stomach, lack of concentration, mood swings, clumsiness and tiredness. (1)”
So what can we do to address this?
First step: locate your nearest Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner- stat!
Second Step: get on top of your cycle.Know it like its the back of your hand. It’s your body; you’ve got to identify certain triggers that exacerbate your cycle.
Big triggers that exacerbate: Caffeine, chocolate, stress, over/under-exercising.
I would love to say, eat in moderation, exercise in moderation- work toward the Yin/Yang
balance in your life and “be your best self”.
But that’s an instagram fallacy- not a legitimate health strategy.
If we want to effect true change in our bodies- we have to prioritise our healths in order to get back on top of it.
Once we’re feeling tremendous, then we can a add more relaxed approach.
Key recommendations for right now:
- Purchase/Get an app that tracks your cycle: I recommend “Period Diary” or “Ovia”- this allows you to track your trends an understand your body- N.B please please please do not stress about this, this is just to accumulate data so we can have a create a pragmatic treatment plan.
- Start listening to your body: if you feel like exercising- exercise. If you’re light headed, supremely tired- don’t.
- Replace the caffeine with herbal teas- easiest way to do it is place the tea in front of the coffee- and think to yourself- what would Gandhi do . – lemon & ginger or peppermint. Keep it super simple.
, get in touch with the clinic- we love nothing more than helping women overcome debilitating pain and ailments