Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS

Premenstrual syndrome refers to the physical and emotional changes that can begin up to 10 days before a woman’s period, and often continues into the first few days of menstruation. Symptoms can include fatigue, anxiety, depression, abdominal cramping, low back pain, acne, digestive issues, bloating, breast tenderness, and a heightened sense of emotional upset or sensitivity. The majority of women are affected by at least some of the symptoms of PMS, with estimates being that 3 out of 4 women experience PMS to some degree.

Although it is unknown what exactly causes PMS, cyclic changes in hormones, and chemical changes in the brain throughout the course of a woman’s cycle, are thought to be the main factors. Many theorize that fluctuations of serotonin could be to blame. While for some women, the symptoms are mild, other women may experience a significant upset in their daily activities. Those who experience the highest degree of adverse symptoms are often diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, a severe form of PMS that causes extreme and sudden mood shifts that can disrupt relationships and work. Symptoms of PMDD include all of the normal PMS symptoms but with extreme depression, anger, sadness, and irritability. Multiple studies have shown acupuncture to be highly effective at treating both PMS, and PMDD symptoms*.

It has been noted that PMS symptoms are generally worse in those who experience high stress. Chronic stress can increase cortisol levels, and reduce the amount of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, helping to minimize the body’s innate response to chronic or acute stress**.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, PMS can also be due to imbalances in the body, diet, and lifestyle. We seek to not only relieve the symptoms you are experiencing, but resolve their root cause. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help to be more than just a temporary fix for PMS and PMDD. Contact our experienced acupuncturists to help get to the bottom of your symptoms!



*Using acupuncture to treat premenstrual syndrome. (n.d.).

**Li, Q., Shi, G., Xu, Q., Wang, J., Liu, C., & Wang, L. (2013). Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation.



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