Amanda Cox | Acupuncture Melbourne

Premenstrual Syndrome

Acupuncture and Premenstrual Syndrome

According to a recent survey by NAPS (National Association of Premenstrual Syndrome) a staggering 83% of women in the UK suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome every month. Symptoms include mood swings that can range between irritability and even aggressive behaviour, to tearfulness. Physically many women experience breast distension, bloating, exhaustion, IBS symptoms, night sweats, and food cravings.

The lead up to your period is a time of great change in energy levels, and in terms of flow in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this is a time in the cycle where energy often gets stuck. The body requires a surge of energy to move it into the menses phase of the cycle, and this extra energy does not always flow freely. You may notice that PMS symptoms become worse if you are run down, or have had a particularly stressful or busy month leading up to it.

Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of PMS by:

  • increasing relaxation and reducing tension (Samuels 2008). Reducing serotonin levels (Zhou 2008) and increasing endorphins (Han, 2004) and neuropeptide Y levels (Lee 2009), which can help to combat negative affective states;

  • stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987, Zijlstra 2003, Cheng 2009);

  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).

Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional medical treatments for insomnia, such as benzodiazepines, helping to reduce their side effects and enhance their beneficial effects (Cao et al 2009).