Acupuncture for PMS

About 31% of women in the United States experience early onset of symptoms of their menstrual cycle. These pre-menstrual symptoms happen one to a couple of weeks before the actual menstruation. They taper off at the start of menstruation. The symptoms that affected women often report include low back aches or pain radiating down to the inner thighs or front of the legs, cramping in the area near or in the ovaries, headaches, breast distention or tenderness, diarrhea or constipation, bloating or digestion issues. Other symptoms reported are depression, moodiness, irritability, sweating, restless sleep, or fatigue.

The conventional Western medical approach entails the use of prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors, vitamin B6 (this is to stimulate the release of serotonin to relieve irritability), bromocriptine or diuretics for edema and water retention, progesterone and oral contraceptives.

TCM Perspective

TCM or traditional Chinese medicine is a collection of ancient Chinese modalities that includes Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. According to TCM, PMS is a manifestation of an imbalance in the body. TCM sees it a type of disease. The aforementioned symptoms show that the menstrual cycle is not normal. TCM considers a normal menstrual cycle as one that occurs without any emotional swings, swelling or pain. It helps relieves all these symptoms completely in a natural effective way. Emotional stress and physical stress are the core causes of PMS and because of the very stressful environment of Western society, we can see why the rate of PMS in the US is quite high. TCM sees that PMS is the collective outcome of multiple pregnancies and childbirth, overwork, poor nutrition, poor dietary habits, resentment, frustration, stress and anger.

TCM explains that all the organ systems of the body are interconnected to each other with each organ system having its own unique role to play. The organ system responsible for the smooth flow of blood and chi is the Liver system. During the menstrual period, this smooth flow can be affected causing the symptoms to develop. The blood and chi pathways of the Liver system become imbalanced disrupting the movement and transformation of fluids in the body leading to the rise of PMS symptoms like edema, discomfort, stomach pain, breast distention and cramping. The chi and blood flow disruption causes edema and imbalanced emotions. Acupuncture therapy removes the factors prohibiting normal blood and chi flow and brings back the affected organ systems to optimal function.

The Liver pathways (meridians) begin near the big toe and extend to the uterus and up through the breasts. The imbalances causing PMS bring about ovarian cramping and fluid retention in the breast (breast distention). The symptoms usually pass through these channel boundaries. To help treat these symptoms, the blood and Liver chi should be soothed and be allowed to move unobstructed and evenly through the meridians. The modality most effective in bringing this about is acupuncture combined with herbal medicine.


Western medications are usually designed to only relieve symptoms. They never address the underlying cause. PMS sufferers depend on these medicines for years on end. Long-term use of these drugs can eventually destroy the kidneys and liver. If you want a safer, natural and holistic type of treatment that helps you avoid taking medicines altogether, then acupuncture is for you.

TCM is an excellent type of treatment. Acupuncture helps bring back the smooth movement of blood and chi to help treat PMS symptoms and beefs up the body to help it manage the additional workload of menstruation.

Chinese herbs have the same beneficial effects. If you do want a long-lasting and safer way to manage your PMS symptoms and normalize the premenstrual functions in your body then you need to consider acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.