Acupuncture for PMS

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome is a female disorder that refers to a specific set of emotional and physical symptoms which occur during the second part of the menstrual cycle. Often symptoms are experienced for around six days.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

Symptoms experienced vary from woman to woman and from month to month.

Frequently seen symptoms of PMS include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Feeling irritable, anxious or depressed
  • Feeling tired 
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Experiencing bloating or tummy discomfort
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Spotty or sensitive skin
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Sugar cravings
  • Poor Co-ordination
  • Weight gain

Who Suffers from PMS?

Most women experience PMS at some points in their lives. It is more likely to affect women who are in their late twenties to early forties who have had at least one baby.

What causes PMS?

The cause of PMS is not fully understood. However, it is thought to involve changes in hormone levels during the luteal stage of the menstrual cycle. Some women appear to be predisposed to be more affected by these changes than do others.

Lifestyle factors that are thought to exacerbate symptoms include a high sodium diet, smoking, excess caffeine, and stress.

How is PMS diagnosed?

There is no standard medical test that is used to diagnose PMS. A diagnosis is made based on the symptoms that are experienced. 

How is PMS treated?

Common treatments offered by GP’s include:

  • The contraceptive pill 
  • Antidepressants
  • Cognitive Behavourial Therapy (CBT) 
  • Painkillers such as Ibuprofen

Common Lifestyle suggestions include:

  • Keeping a consistent exercise schedule
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Make sure that you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night 
  • Try stress reduction practices such as breathing exercises and meditation
  • Track your symptoms so that you can gain insight into how and when they are affecting you

How can acupuncture help the symptoms of PMS?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture has been used for over 2000 years to restore balance to a woman’s menstrual cycle. 

A thorough case history is always taken to establish the root cause of your condition from a TCM perspective. This may be different from another woman suffering from PMS as we consider each case individually. We will discuss your sleep, your digestion, your emotional health and how long you have had symptoms for. As well as this we will do a tongue and pulse diagnosis. This will help us to gain an extremely accurate understanding as to which acupoints we can use to help you feel better.

What is qi stagnation?

The philosophy of TCM teaches us that specific symptoms that we experience correlate to a dysfunction in a particular organ. One of the most common organ’s involved in PMS and many other menstrual disorders is the liver, and we often diagnose a condition termed “liver qi stagnation”. 

This pattern of disharmony occurs when the energy (qi) of our liver is unable to circulate freely leading to symptoms such as:

  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Easily frustrated
  • Breast distension
  • Hiccups
  • A sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Passing bowel movements which resemble little pebbles.

As TCM is a holistic system of healing, following your session we will very likely discuss lifestyle advice that will be specific to you based on your diagnosis.



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