Menstrual disorders - Chinese medicine can help

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Millwoods Acupuncture Center
102, 2603 Hewes Way
Edmonton AB,   Canada

Phone: (780) 466-8683



Menstrual  Disorders




Kinds of menstrual disorders

There are several kinds of disorders in menstruation. It can be early menstruation, later menstruation, continuous bleeding, heavy flow with large purple or black colored blood clots; light blood flow, spasms before or after menstruation, or menstruation, as well as other factors, has ceased.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is familiar with the treatment of these disorders. Accurate diagnosis  is critical. Many disorders may be caused by completely different reasons.

1. Early menstruation

This means menstruation comes every two to three weeks.

Two major reasons can cause this problem: Fire or Yang Qi deficiency (Yang refers to life energy and the deficiency, in Chinese, means weakness) in the lower stomach cavity. There are three cavities in the body. Upper cavity refers to the chest, where the heart and lung are located; middle cavity refers the upper stomach, where the spleen and stomach are located and the lower cavity, where the liver, kidney, and uterus are located. Any factor which causes an accumulation of Fire or Yang Qi deficiency in the lower cavity could cause  early menstruation.

With the Fire, the blood is restless and wants to move, rather than resting quietly in the uterus. Whereas with the Yang Qi deficiency, the uterus cannot hold the blood and bleeding occurs earlier.

If the Fire is the reason, women usually feel hot, dry mouth. The urine might be dark yellow, tongue is red and pulse feels strong or fast. They tend to drink cold beverages. Herb formula for this disorder is Si Wu Tang plus Huangqin, Huanglian or Ajiao.

Women with the Yang Qi deficiency usually have cold hands/feet or feel cold throughout the body and like to drink warm or hot water. The tongue might be wet and with a purple tint  and their pulse feels thin,  deep, or weak. They feel tired with little physical or emotional activity and like to rest.

Herbs for the Yang Qi deficiency will be Si Ni Tang, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang plus Fuzi.

2. Later menstruation

This means menstruation comes after more than five weeks or even two to three months. This is the most complex condition in menstrual disorders.

The reasons for the long term of this disorder could be (1) lower cavity weakness and cold; (2) leakage of blood in the form of sweat or bleeding from another part of the body; (3) chronic diarrhea; (4) less supply of  blood, such as poor nutrition. Each problem requires different treatment.

Weakness and cold in the lower cavity creates a weak uterus. Therefore, the uterus has less power to push the blood down and out. Women with this problem are usually  physically and emotionally weak. They feel tired and sweat easily with little movement. Emotionally, they feel tired or get headaches with minimal mental activity, such as studying, reading, planning. They like to be warm and are comforted by massaging the lower stomach and prefer warm water or beverages. Herbal formula for this is Si Wu Tang plus Rougui and Fuzi.

Blood leakage in other forms (such as nose, teeth, gastric tract, urine, skin); reduces the total volume of blood in menstruation. The herbal formula depends upon the reasons for the bleeding. If it is due to Fire pressing the blood out, the herbs are Dihuang, Taoren, Xijiao Tang. If it is due to Yang deficiency, the blood cannot be restricted in the blood vessels, the herbs are Gangcao Gangjiang Tang, Qian Yang Dan, or Jian Zhong Tang.

Poor nutrition and long term diarrhea reduce the supply of blood to the uterus. The herbs to use could be Si Wu Tang, Jiang Zhong Tang, etc.

In TCM, sweat is regarded as a part of the blood. Too much sweat reduces the total volume of  blood in menstruation as well as bleeding from other parts of the body. For this reason, long term running nose could also be a factor causing this disorder. If the sweat is due to Yang deficiency, that fails to close the sweat holes on the skin, the herbs are Huangqi Fuzi Tang, or Jian Zhong Tang. If it is due to Fire, that steams the blood to evaporate at sweat, the herbs needed are Yi Yuan, Shengdi Si Wu Tang etc.

3. Continuous menstruation

This means menstruation continues or close to the next menstruation period.

This could be due to either to a very weak body or to the accumulation of Fire in the lower body cavity. The weakness can be caused by excessive vomiting, continual diarrhea or sweating, taking large amounts of cold medicine, excessive sexual activity or deep emotional stress, etc. All damage the Yang Qi in the body. In this condition, as mentioned above, the body cannot retain the blood properly. The treatment for this condition depends on the reasons for the weakness.

If there is accumulation of Fire in the body, the Fire disturbs the blood and presses it to flow continuously. For Fire, the herbs needed are Huanglian Ajiao Tang, Shendi Qin Liang Tang.

4. Heavy bleeding during menstruation with purple blood clots.

Similarly, there are two major reasons for black clots in the  menstrual flow: too much Fire or too low Yang Qi. If it is due to the Fire, herbs used are Liang Xue Tang, or Shengdi Siwu Tang. However, in clinic, most cases show as Yang Qi deficiency. As mentioned above, people usually feel chronic fatigue, want to lie down or feel drowsy (especially at afternoon or after work). They have cold hands and feet and tend to talk little. For such people, the herbs needed will be Linzhong Tang plus Xiangfu, Gancao Ganjiang Tang, or Xiao Jiang Zhong Tang.

5. Light bleeding in menstruation with less red in the blood.

Although it is believed (current TCM textbook) that such light menstruation is caused by Blood Deficiency, we noticed that it is mostly due to the deficiency of Yang Qi in the body. With sufficient Yang Qi, there will be enough menstruation blood. Otherwise, with insufficient Yang Qi, there will be less blood produced in the body and less available for menstruation. The herb needed is Huangqi Jiangzhong Tang, Danggui Buxue Tang plus Fuzi, or Gancao Ganjiang Tang plus Buxue Tang. Clinic experience tells us this works.  

6. Spasm before menstruation

The cessation of menstruation here does not mean pregnancy.

 In TCM, cessation of menstruation is mostly caused by two reasons: Cold attack or Deficiency.

Menstruation blood needs warm Yang Qi to flow. Cold, external or internal, could block movement, similar to  stopping  the flow of rivers in winter.

The cold can be similar to the common cold which is caused by washing or showering at about the same time menstruation is due. This is dangerous in winter when women sweat in cold weather. The Cold Xue Qi can easily come into the body to cause various diseases. The problem can easily be solved by using the Cold with ordinary herbs for this type of cold.

The cessation of menstruation can also be due to cold beverages, food (ice cream, etc.), when menstruation is about to flow or is flowing. Women may or may not feel symptoms when they come to the clinic, but they may feel slightly cold, irritable in the lower stomach area, since the cold is in the deeper area of the uterus. Herb Lizhong Tang plus Dinxiang or Rougui works for this kind of cold.

It can also be caused by pre-menstrual emotional disturbances, such as feeling angry when people quarrel or argue with others. There will be more evidence from your tongue and pulse. The colour and tint of your face also support this diagnosis. Herbs used are usually Xiao Chaihu Tang plus Xiangfu, Chuangqun or Maiya.

If the cessation of menstruation is due to weakness of Qi and Xue, women usually have chronic disease, with long term diarrhea, vomiting, sweat, etc. With sufficient blood and life energy in the body, the menstrual bleeding is easier. The herbs used for these conditions depends on the reasons causing such weaknesses.

7. Spasm during menstruation

Again, we have to point out that the major reasons for stomach spasm are either due to stagnation of blood in the uterus, which is again due to a Fire or Cold block of the blood. For the Fire block, the mostly used herbs are Taoren Siwu Tang or Tong Zhi Tang.

For the Cold block, the herbs needed are the ones that we have previously mentioned for the Yang Qi deficiency.

 8. Spasm after the menstruation

Some women have spasms after menstruation. Commonly, it is believed to be due to Qi or Xue (blood) deficiency, so the herbs used are Bazheng Tang plus Xiangfu.

We found that, in most cases, it is due to the Cold inside the body. The Cold can come into the body as a common cold. It is a short term problem. Women feel feverish or body pain; dislike wind and cold air. They like warmth on the stomach and are comforted by massaging the stomach area. The herbs used are Guizhi Tang.  Or, this condition may be due to long term Yang Qi Deficiency. The herbs needed are Fuzi Lizhong Tang plus Dingxiang or Sharen; Gancao Ganjiang Tang plus Dingxiang or Rougui, or Buxue Tang plus Rougui. 


1. According to my clinic experience, TCM is the most efficient medical system to solve this problem.

2. For menstruation disorders the herbs needed vary, depending upon the kind of disorders. However, the same pathological reason, such as the Yang Qi Deficiency, can cause different disorders, such as early menstruation, spasm round menstruation (either before or after), or the ceasing of menstruation, so the herbs for the Yang Qi deficiency can solve various disorders. Differentiation diagnosis is very important.

In clinic, more people show Yang Qi Deficiency (more than 80% of all cases), rather than the Fire syndrome. So, warm, or Yang Qi Supplementary therapy is the most commonly used herb therapy in our clinic.

The treatment usually needs one to two months of menstrual cycles to observe the effects.

For other women’s disorders, such as discharges or infertility, please contact us for more information.

Good luck and enjoy your life!