As many as three out of four menstruating women experience PMS.
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, includes many signs and symptoms like mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, and more. For some women, it’s so severe it keeps them from doing what they need to do.
You don’t need these symptoms to make your life difficult; PMS is manageable with lifestyle changes and treatments. However, if you’re concerned about taking medicines, acupuncture may just be the thing for you.
What Is PMS?
Before we learn about acupuncture and PMS, let’s first understand what PMS is. Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, refers to a series of symptoms women experience after ovulation before their period begins. Research suggests that PMS occurs in the days following ovulation when estrogen and progesterone levels start to dramatically fall if you’re not pregnant. Its symptoms disappear as soon as hormone levels rise again.
PMS symptoms completely disappear once you get menopause. They may also change after pregnancy.
Who Experiences PMS?
Most women experience mild PMS symptoms; less than five percent of women in their child-bearing years experience severe PMS.
PMS symptoms occur more in women with high levels of stress, a family history of depression, and a personal history of postpartum depression or depression.
The cause of PMS isn’t exactly known, but there are several possible factors contributing to it, including:
Changes in brain chemistry – Serotonin is a chemical in the brain involved in mood states. Fluctuations in serotonin levels may trigger PMS symptoms.
Depression – Sometimes, women with severe PMS have undiagnosed depression. However, depression is not the only cause of all their symptoms.
Cyclic hormonal changes – PMS often comes with the hormonal changes involved in the menstrual cycle, often disappearing once menstruation begins.
PMS has both physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms:
Joint and muscle pain
Fluid retention with weight gain
Diarrhea or constipation
Emotional and Behavioral:
Anxiety or tension
Irritability or anger
Food cravings and changes in appetite
Changes in libido
Difficulty in concentrating
Withdrawal from other people
Acupuncture and the Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is an indicator of general health and fertility in Chinese medicine that provides a lot of information about the body; a healthy menstrual cycle means you are in good health.
Problems in fertility and the menstrual cycle are often regulated using acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicines. Acupuncture can help reduce pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress while increasing circulation. It can also regulate the blood flow in women’s bodies through its effects on the ovarian sympathetic nerves.
Can Acupuncture Help PMS?
Studies have shown that acupuncture for PMS is effective at relieving symptoms; one study found that acupuncture for PMS symptoms helped 78% of the study participants find relief. It can alleviate nausea, cramps, anxiety, headaches, and insomnia.
Your symptoms and the beginning of your period will determine how many times you’ll get treated in a month. While doctors are still unable to figure out how it helps with PMS, they believe it increases the production of endorphins and speeds up circulation, which helps correct mood swings and relieves any pain within 24 hours.
Acupuncture for PMS also relieves stress, which may also cause PMS symptoms. Research shows a connection between stress and reproductive health via endogenous opioid peptides. Acupuncture can stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that influence the menstrual cycle and fertility, reducing stress hormones and positively affecting the menstrual cycle, fertility, and PMS symptoms.
Acupuncture Points for PMS
Acupuncture points used to relieve period cramps and PMS symptoms are found in the following:
The abdomen is the first and most important area for treatment. The two most important pressure points for period cramps are found two and four fingers below the navel. There is also a pair of points found around the pelvic area where the legs meet the body and another one right below them.
Acupuncture treatment at these points can relieve all menstruation-related symptoms, including bloating, cramps, headaches, and even irregularities in menstruation periods.
Acupuncture treatment at the back should begin at the bony area between your hipbone and buttocks. Acupuncture at the sacral points located at the base of your pelvis also relieves PMS discomfort and relaxes the uterus. These are also pressure points for period cramps and pain in the lower back, hips, and pelvis.
Arms and Legs
Putting pressure on the fleshy part between the thumbs and forefinger helps relieve headaches and abdominal pain. It also normalizes irregular or delayed periods.
You can also apply pressure on your legs with three fingers above your ankle and close to the shin bone. The insteps of your feet are also pressure points for period cramps that you can press on for symptom relief.
PMS Relief at Home
Here are other things you can try at home to feel healthier and relieve some of your PMS symptoms:
Eating healthy foods most of the time and avoiding caffeine, salt, and sugar two weeks before your period can help reduce PMS symptoms.
Regular aerobic exercise throughout the month can reduce symptoms like depression, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue.
Finding healthy ways to deal with stress, like sharing your thoughts with friends, keeping a journal, yoga, massage, and meditation, can also help.
Having at least eight hours of sleep every night also saves you from some PMS symptoms caused by sleep deprivation, like anxiety, depression, and moodiness.
Quitting cigarettes also helps reduce the amount of PMS symptoms you may experience. One study showed that women who smoke experience more symptoms than those who don’t.
PMS is a regular condition women feel. While its cause is unclear, factors like stress and hormonal changes contribute to its severity. Acupuncture is an effective and safe way for women who choose to avoid medications to relieve some of their symptoms. However, it’s best to consult an OB/GYN or a physician before trying acupuncture for PMS to rule out serious conditions involving the menstrual cycle that may need medical treatment.
Find pain relief at Advanced Chiropractor’s Group.
Don’t let PMS symptoms keep you from conquering the world. Our partner chiropractors in Vail, CO, can perform acupuncture and other chiropractic treatments to help relieve your PMS symptoms. Call us today, and we’ll connect them to you as soon as possible.