Chinese Medicine for Long Periods: An Enlightening Dive into Traditional Remedies
In the realm of menstruation, every woman's experience is unique. While some have short, light periods, others experience prolonged menstrual bleeding that can last for 7 to 10 days, a condition commonly referred to as Long Periods. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with its rich history and holistic approach, provides intriguing insights and solutions to this condition. Let's dive in to understand more.
Unveiling Long Periods
In the landscape of menstruation issues, Long Periods stand out as a distinct condition. Characterized by extended menstrual bleeding, typically ranging from 7 to 10 days, it is different from Heavy Periods, which is identified by an excessive amount of bleeding, and Flooding and Trickling, marked by irregularity in the menstrual cycle.
Tracing the Causes
TCM perceives Long Periods through a unique lens, attributing it to several interconnected causes:
Emotional Stress: In TCM, emotions are believed to have a profound impact on physical health. Emotional stress, resulting from anger, worry, or guilt, can affect the Liver, leading to a state called Liver-Qi stagnation. Over time, this may progress to Liver-Blood stasis, obstructing the Directing and Penetrating Vessels and causing Long Periods.
Overwork & Close Childbirths: Overwork or having too many children too close together may lead to Kidney-Yin deficiency. Over time, this deficiency can give rise to Empty-Heat, which disturbs the blood flow in the Penetrating Vessel and prolongs menstrual bleeding.
Excessive Physical Work & Irregular Diet: An excessive workload or irregular diet can cause Qi deficiency in the Spleen and/or Kidneys, thereby disrupting the menstrual cycle.
Emotional Stress & Irregular Diet: Emotional stress can cause Heat and Fire in the Liver and Heart, leading to a condition called Blood-Heat. This disrupts the blood flow, causing prolonged periods. Consuming hot foods and alcohol excessively can also contribute to this heat.
Decoding the Pathology
The pathology of Long Periods in TCM is multifaceted, primarily revolving around:
- Qi Deficiency
- Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood Stasis
- Kidney-Yin Deficiency with Empty-Heat
Identifying Patterns and Treatment
TCM distinguishes different patterns of Long Periods and suggests treatment accordingly:
Qi Deficiency: Symptoms include long periods, fatigue, poor appetite, abdominal distension, backache, dizziness, and frequent, pale urination. Treatment involves tonifying and raising Qi, strengthening the Spleen and Kidneys, and consolidating the Penetrating and Directing Vessels.
Blood-Heat: Identified by long, heavy periods with dark blood, irritability, thirst, a red face, and a feeling of heat. Treatment aims to clear heat and cool blood, clear the Liver and Heart, and regulate the Penetrating Vessel.
Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood Stasis: Characterized by long but scanty periods with dark blood and clots, depression, irritability, and abdominal pain. The TCM approach is to move Qi, invigorate blood, eliminate stagnation, and regulate the periods.
- Kidney-Yin Deficiency with Empty-Heat: Manifested through long periods with scanty blood, a dry throat, malar flush, night sweating, and dry stools. The treatment includes nourishing Yin, strengthening the Kidneys, clearing Empty-Heat, stopping bleeding, and regulating the periods.
Prognosis and Prevention
The good news is that Long Periods can be effectively managed through TCM practices such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs. It's important to note, however, that Kidney-Yin deficiency may be a bit more challenging to treat.
Prevention plays a significant role in managing Long Periods. Women dealing with Yin deficiency should avoid overworking and ensure they rest adequately. Those contending with Liver-Qi stagnation should pay attention to their emotional wellbeing, and consider counselling or psychotherapy if necessary.
Understanding the TCM perspective on Long Periods opens a new dimension in managing this condition. Through recognizing patterns, identifying the causes, and employing unique treatment principles, women can effectively navigate this challenge and enhance their overall wellbeing.