menstrual disorders by Traditional Chinese Medicine
Menstrual disorders are very
complex. Some women have their menstruation coming earlier, some
later; some have heavy menstrual bleeding, and others have
little menstrual bleeding. For the treatment, conventional
medicine basically does not work well to solve the menstrual
disorders other than using hormones (including to use
contraceptive drugs), or even asking to aggressively remove
ovary or uterus by surgical operation. Generally speaking,
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) works well to correct the
menstrual disorders. TCM mostly use herbal therapy and/or
acupuncture. There are also many different ways in TCM to treat
the menstrual disorders. In our clinic, we mostly follow the Dr.
Shen Shao-gong way, which is the hereditary TCM system of Dr.
The difference between the Dr. Shao’s way and others is that the herbal formula are set up not only
depending on the nature of the disorders (e.g. Cold, Fire,
Sufficient or insufficient condition of the body), but also on
the time during the menstrual circle. This means the herbal
formula are different on the pre-menstruation, during
menstruation and after the menstruation.
(1). Pre-menstrual period
Pre-menstrual period means the period from the beginning of
menstrual reaction to the beginning of menstrual bleeding.
During this time of period, the disorders are usually abdomen
pain or spasm, anxiety or stressful emotion, tired or sleeping,
bloating feeling in breast of even migraine.
If the patient
feels bloating in breasts, spasm in lower abdomen, anxiety or
upset, with thin and yellow tongue covering, and with
thin-string feelings from the pulse, it is a condition of Liver
stagnation. To solve this disorder, we use herbal formula Xiao
Yao San, or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, with addition of
endocrine-adjusting herbs, such as Ze Lan, Qian Cao, Gui Ban,
Bie Jia, Chuan Duan or Nu Zheng Zi.
If the patient feels cold in the lower abdomen, muscle spasm, cold in
the whole body, chronic fatigue, and has pink color in the
tongue and has deep and thin pulse, it is a Cold condition in
the uterus. Use herbal formula Wen Jing Tang, with addition of
endocrine-adjusting herbs, such as Gou Ji Zi, She Chuang Zi, Tu
Si Zi, Xian Ling Pi, Zi He Che, Lu Jiao Shuang, Bu Gu Zhi, etc.
If the patient feels chronic fatigue, short of breath, no willing to
talk or walk; has continuous pain in the lower abdomen, has poor
appetite, palpitation, poor sleep,
and if the menstrual blood is little amount and the blood
color is pink (not dark red) and the pulse feels deep and thin,
it is the insufficient Yin and Blood condition. Use herbal
formula Gui Pi Tang, with addition of endocrine-adjusting herbs,
such as Ze Lan, She Chuang Zi, or Tu Si Zi.
If it is hard to diagnose whether the condition is Fire or Cold, and if
the body constitution is strong, especially if the person
usually has tightness and sore on the neck and upper back or on
the front head, we can directly use herbal formula Ge Gen Tang
with higher dose of the herb Ge Gen in it, and also with
addition of endocrine-adjusting herbs, such as Ze Lan, She
Chuang Zi, or Tu Si Zi.
(2). Menstrual correction during the period
During period means the time from the beginning of the menstrual
bleeding to the cessation of the bleeding. During this time, it
is needed to consider the amount of menstrual blood, and the
nature of disorder, e.g. if the condition belongs to Fire, Cold,
sufficient, or insufficient condition.
If the menstrual blood is little in amount and the patient feels cold in
the lower abdomen, we use herbal formula Ba Zhen Tang.
If the menstrual blood is heavy in amount and the patient also feels
cold in the lower abdomen, we use Jiao Ai Si Wu Tang.
If the menstrual blood is little in amount and the patient does not feel
cold in the lower abdomen, use Tao Hong Si Wu Tang.
If the menstrual blood is heavy and the patient feels hot in the lower
abdomen, use Zhi Qin Si Wu Tang.
The four formula
above is the basic formula for the menstrual disorders used
during the menstrual period. These formula need to be completed
with additional herbs according to accompanying symptoms, such
as stomach pain, diarrhea, swelling, sour in the lower back, or
1）If the patient has
abdomen pain during the menstruation, add herb Chuan Lian Zi,
Yuan Hu, Yu Yin, Yi Mu Cao, Di Long, Wu Ling Zhi, Can Sha, and
San Qi powder. Or, we can use the herbal formula Shao Yao Gan
Cao Tang together. The herb San Qi is used when the amount of
blood is heavy.
2）If the patient has diarrhea, add herb Shan Yao,
Wei Ge Gen, Jin Yin Zi, Long Gu, Mu Li, Chao Bai Zhu, Bu Gu Zhi,
or Wu Bei Zi.
3）If the patient has swelling, which is common in
women during the menstruation, add herb Fang Ji, Ze Xie, Sang
Bai Pi, Che Qian Cao, Huang Qi, Dong Gua Ren, and Fu Ling.
4）For sour in lower
back, add herb Ji Xue Teng, Lao Guan Cao, Jin Mo Gou Ji, Chuan
Duan, and San Ji Sheng.
5）If the patient has strong desire to have
pregnancy, we need to add some endocrine-adjusting herbs to the
formula above. Such herbs are, for example, She Chuang Zi, Tu Si
Zi, Jin Yin Zi, Huang Bo, Ze Lan, Gui Ban, Rou Chong Rong and
Chuan Lian Zi.
Post menstrual period. It is the time from the
cessation of the menstrual bleeding to the early menstrual
reaction (such as lower abdomen pain or anxiety).
post-menstrual period, herbal therapy is to nourish the Kidney
system of the body. The herbal therapy should be continued until
the beginning of the next pro-menstrual period.
If the body
condition belongs to Cold, use herbal pill Ai Fu Nuan Gong Wan,
or Nu Jin Dan. If it belongs to Fire, use Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan
or De Sheng Dan. If it is hard to tell whether the body
condition belongs to Cold or Fire, use Ba Zhen Yi Mu Wan, Bai
Tong Wan, or use Qi Ju Di Huang Wan.
Acupuncture can also be used for the treatment of menstrual
disorders. The acupuncture points and the ways to handle the
needles depend on the nature of the disorder (Fire, or Cold;
Sufficient or insufficient condition, etc.). Acupuncture is
needed once every two to three days for one to two months. You
can notice the healing effect of such treatment month after
month, unlike for the treatment of pain, that is day after day.
Many women take the contraceptive drugs for contraception or for
correction of menstrual disorders. Usually, when you take the
contraceptive drugs, your menstruation appears normal, but once
you stop it, the disorder remains the same. Therefore, it is not
at all an ideal therapy for menstrual disorders. In addition, it
is also possible that the contraceptive drug can also bring out
a disorder of menstruation. To correct the menstrual disorder,
we recommend you to stop the take of any contraceptive medicine
for a while, so that the Chinese medicine can work much fast and
much better for you.
Moxibustion and cupping therapy are also commonly used for the
treatment of menstrual disorders. They work for both Liver
stagnation and Cold accumulation conditions. They are also
commonly used in addition to the acupuncture or herbal therapy.
For those of patients with Cold body constitution, they can try
to drink brown sugar water with a piece of fresh ginger in it.
Drink it as regular green tea. They can also drink Old-ginger
tea. The sugar-ginger tea works to release abdomen pain.
However, it is recommended to consult with TCM doctor first, to
see if your body constitution is really suitable to such Warm