Struggling With Premenstrual Tension? Get The Help You Need

All women have experienced premenstrual tension or PMS at some point: feeling irritable for no reason or mood swings where you are angry and irritable one minute and depressed and crying the next. Other symptoms include feeling bloated and uncomfortable, breakouts or spots that appear out of nowhere, headaches or migraines, sore breasts and of course, those cravings for chocolate or other junk food.

Why Do You Feel Like This?

Changes to the delicate balance of hormones during your monthly cycle are the usual culprits behind PMS. Transitions between the different types of hormones during your cycle should occur smoothly without dramatic changes or swings. Stress, foods and daily life can also have an impact on these hormones. Once they are out of balance it’s difficult to get back on track.

What Can Help?

For some women, their PMS is manageable and not a big deal. But for others, it can seriously affect their quality of life and make them dread their period each month. That’s where acupuncture and Chinese herbs can greatly help. Hormonal balance and positive changes are typically seen in as little as three months with regular acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Are There Other Options?

Some women choose the birth control pill to help with the symptoms. Taking the pill keeps the hormones at an even level throughout the cycle so less fluctuations means less symptoms. But the pill is not for everyone and can bring its own side effects with it. Obviously the birth control pill is not an option for women who are trying to get pregnant.

How Does Chinese Medicine View Premenstrual Tension?

Liver Qi (pronounced “chee”) Stagnation is the main diagnosis in Chinese Medicine for women with premenstrual syndrome. The Liver in Chinese Medicine is responsible for the free flow of qi or energy and helps to regulate emotions. When the Liver energy gets ‘stuck’ or ‘stagnates’ it can lead to physical and emotional problems such as those that are experienced in the days before a period. It’s also interesting to note that women who have problems with premenstrual tension regularly describe themselves as feeling stuck in their emotional or personal lives.

What Can You Do To Help Yourself?

1. Acupuncture and herbs is great for treating PMS quickly and effectively.
2. Use spices that move Qi such as peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, turmeric and thyme.
3. Peppermint tea is excellent for moving Liver Qi. Peppermint is ‘menta’ in Hebrew NOT nana. You can buy dried menta from the shuk or health food store.
4. Avoid foods with preservatives, chemicals or those treated with hormones such as meat and dairy as these can also upset the hormonal balance of the menstrual cycle.
5. Eat plenty of fiber to help the Liver do its job of clearing hormones from body. If you suffer from constipation, drink the juice of half a lemon in warm water when you first wake up in the morning.
6. Vitex agnus castus (chaste tree berry)is a Western herb that has traditionally used to treat premenstrual tension. It is available here in Israel from the Altman brand of supplements or from Bara Herbs. Stop taking Vitex if you get pregnant.
7. Red raspberry leaf is another Western herb that has been used to help with premenstrual syndrome. You can buy the leaves at most health food stores and make a tea out of them. Discontinue if pregnant.
8. Limit alcohol and caffeine and if you smoke, QUIT.
9. If you feel you are under a lot of stress, take a vitamin that contains the B vitamins as they help the body deal with the effects of stress

Sharon Kastoriano
Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist
Women’s Health and Fertility
Tel Aviv, Israel

Using the time-tested methods of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, Dikur Nashi offers women a gentle, holistic approach to their health. Behind infertility, premenstrual tension, hot flashes, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, migraines, and all other women’s health issues, lies an individual.

YOU are unique. Your treatment should be too. Dikur Nashi offers customized care with acupuncture and Chinese medicine that is tailored to meet your individual needs.

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