S​pring Advanced Acupuncture

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What is PMS?

PMS, also referred to as premenstrual tension (PMT), is the name given to the physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms that can occur in the two weeks before a woman's monthly period.

The exact causes of PMS are not known, but it's thought to be related to changing levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone during a woman's menstrual cycle.

This theory is supported by the fact that PMS improves during pregnancy and after the menopause, when hormone levels fluctuate less.

'Women, especially younger women, often don't realise the effects hormonal changes can have on how they feel, so they don't link the feelings they're having to their periods.'

The effects of PMS

On emotion

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and nervous tension
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Reduced coping ability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lower libido or, rarely, increased libido
  • Feeling unloved
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Reduced interest in life

On your body

  • Fluid retention (swollen fingers or ankles)
  • Bloating
  • Breast swelling/tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Food cravings
  • Aches and pains
  • Poor coordination
  • Skin problems such as acne

How Does Western Medicine Treat PMS? 

Modern medicine attempts to establish harmony to hormones and brain chemistry through medications. Often birth control pills or antidepressants are recommended. Lifestyle changes such as increasing sleep, reducing unhealthy dietary habits, and increasing exercise are also recommended.

How Does Acupuncture Treat PMS?

Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and involves using fine needles inserted into the skin at specific points of the body.

From the point of view of Chinese patterns of disharmony, all of these symptoms can be traced to a stagnation of liver qi.  Since the liver stores the blood and regulates the smooth flow of qi, it is almost always the organ involved in menstrual problems. When liver qi flows smoothly, the menstrual cycle is also smooth.