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How TCM Views Premenstrual Syndrome

Gynecology is one of the main clinical specialties in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Its rich therapeutic methods and significant curative effects makes it a popular theraputic choice for these types of problems.

What is unique about TCM treatments is that variations in each woman's condition are acknowledged. Physicians diagnose conditions according to a complex set of signs and symptoms exhibited by each individual and formulate individualized remedies to rebalance the body. Instead of giving a particular drug for one or two intractable problems, drugs are tailor-made for specific conditions and exert multiple effects, eg. fighting pathogens, regulating the organs or promoting the balance between organs so as to increase the body's overall defense ability.

TCM treatments, therefore, address problems in a holistic manner and are able to reach the root of the problem. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) has been shown to be successfully treated using acupuncture and Chinese herbs in numerous double-blind controlled studies. Bodies researching TCM approaches to PMS include the National Institute of Health in the USA.

In TCM, PMS is categorized under menstrual problems, which is one of four emphases in TCM gynecology. The other categories are vaginal discharges, pregnancy and delivery problems.

There are no specific reports about PMS in TCM. Symptoms related to it are scattered in different menstrual-related monographs, such as hysteria, infertility, breast tenderness, diarrhea, edema, headaches, body aches, fever, dizziness, oral ulcers and skin rashes. The symptoms may present in single or complex forms, but they are always recurrent and cyclical with every period.

In short, TCM believes that the syndrome is due to a periodic flush of abundant blood in the Conception and Thoroughfare Vessels (the Extra Meridians) that lead to a temporary disturbance of the blood inside the body. This then gives rise to organ dysfunction and yin yang disharmony.

Both Conception and Thoroughfare Vessels are controlled by the liver and kidneys.