Premenstrual Painaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Menstrual Pain and Discomfort

Parent symptom: Menstrual Cramps

What is Premenstrual Pain?

Premenstrual pain encompasses the physical discomfort and aches that occur before the onset of menstruation. It differs from menstrual cramps in timing, as it precedes the menstrual flow rather than accompanying it. The pain can range from mild to severe and often manifests as a dull, throbbing sensation in the lower abdomen.

For some women, premenstrual pain may also include symptoms like lower back pain, headaches, and general malaise. Understanding this symptom is crucial as it affects a significant portion of women in their reproductive years and can considerably impact daily life.

How Does TCM View Premenstrual Pain?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches premenstrual pain through the lens of energetic imbalances within the body. Unlike Western medicine, which often focuses on symptomatic relief, TCM seeks to identify and address underlying patterns of disharmony causing the pain.

Premenstrual pain, in TCM, is often seen as a manifestation of disrupted flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood within the body, especially related to the Liver and Spleen systems. This perspective allows for a more holistic approach to treatment, aiming not just to alleviate pain but also to correct the root cause of the imbalance.

Root Causes of Premenstrual Pain in TCM

In TCM, one common cause of premenstrual pain is Blood Stagnation, a condition where the flow of blood is obstructed or slowed, leading to pain and discomfort. This pattern is often characterized by symptoms such as a fixed stabbing pain, dark menstrual clots, and a sallow complexion.

The patterns underline the TCM principle that the smooth flow of Qi and Blood is crucial for pain-free menstrual experiences.

Explore below more details about what might cause Premenstrual pain according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • Blood Stasis
Detailed description of the cause

Blood Stasis

Blood Stasis in TCM is a concept where the blood flow in the body is not as smooth or efficient as it should be. Imagine a river that's supposed to flow freely, but instead, it's getting blocked or moving too slowly in some parts. This can lead to various health issues, like pain that feels sharp or stabbing, dark bruises, and a complexion that looks purplish. TCM believes that good health relies on the smooth and vibrant flow of Qi and blood throughout the body, so when blood gets stuck, it's like a traffic jam in your body, leading to discomfort or health problems.... see more

Blood Stasis Patterns That Can Lead to Premenstrual Pain

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Blood Stagnation Premenstrual pain, Dark face, Purple lips, Stabbing fixed pain, Abdominal masses, Purple nails, Menstrual cramps, Dark menstrual clots, Dark menstrual blood, Lumps... see more Tao Hong Si Wu Tang | Shi Xiao San

TCM Herbal Formulas for Premenstrual Pain

For treating premenstrual pain, TCM practitioners often turn to specific herbal formulas. In cases of Blood Stasis, formulas like Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, which includes Peach Kernels (Tao Ren), are used to invigorate Blood and alleviate pain.

For symptoms stemming from Qi Stagnation, Shi Xiao San, containing Cattail pollen (Pu Huang), can be effective. These herbs work to re-establish the balance and flow of Qi and Blood, addressing both the symptoms and underlying causes of premenstrual pain, thereby offering a comprehensive approach to menstrual health.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address premenstrual pain, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Blood Stasis
  • Formulas that tonify blood
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation

All Formulas Recommended for Premenstrual Pain Caused by Blood Stasis

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Tao Hong Si Wu Tang Blood Stagnation
Shi Xiao San Blood Stagnation

TCM Herbs for Premenstrual Pain

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address premenstrual pain, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Herbs that stop bleeding

"Herbs that invigorate the Blood" recommended for premenstrual pain

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) Tao Hong Si Wu Tang
Safflowers (Hong Hua) Tao Hong Si Wu Tang
Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) Shi Xiao San