PMS can sneak up on you each month. Before you know it, you can feel like a different person – easily overwhelmed, tearful, and embarrassingly cranky with your sweetie. It can take a minute to realize that you’re not suddenly a bizarre version of yourself, you’re just premenstrual.
Hormones drop in preparation for each period, and, for many people, this leads to mood swings and other challenging symptoms that can last for up to a week or more, disrupting your life and relationships.
Good news! Acupuncture is amazing at helping balance hormones and reducing PMS symptoms. If you’re suffering from PMS, read on to learn the 7 ways acupuncture can help with PMS.
1. Mood changes
Moods are very affected by our hormones, and even slight hormonal changes during your cycles can lead to big mood swings. Suddenly crying at commercials, feeling less confident at work, and getting super mad at your spouse for not putting the cap back on the toothpaste tube can be signs that you are on the rocky hormonal road to getting your period.
Acupuncture can help smooth that path forward by helping to balance your hormones and make your moods more even. You don’t have to dread that time each month where you have to apologize to your family for being a mess – getting regular acupuncture throughout your cycles can make a big difference in keeping things balanced and can help you feel like yourself again.
2. Abdominal bloating and digestive changes
For many people, the biggest sign that their period is coming is that they can’t fit into their pants. Some of us have “PMS pants” – you know, those leggings that you pull out when you feel like your belly is blowing up like a balloon. It’s pretty uncomfortable, and is often paired with diarrhea or constipation – or both!
When hormones are not balanced, changes at the end of your cycle can cause you to retain water, causing that full feeling. Hormones can also cause temporary changes in your digestion, either slowing things down or speeding them up. All of this can cause you to feel heavy, full, and “off,” making it hard to focus on the rest of your life.
Regular acupuncture treatments can help improve the body’s fluid metabolism and regulate digestion, so that these symptoms are decreased, and, over time, eliminated. We use acupuncture, and sometimes herbs, to help make sure that digestion is regular and that fluid doesn’t get stuck in your abdomen. The result? No more PMS pants and a happier you!
Many people have terrible headaches around their periods. Whether they are migraines or tension headaches, they are caused by complex changes in the body that happen right before your period, allowing for more inflammation and tension in the head and neck areas. Acupuncture is excellent for pain and can bring great relief to you during this time.
Your acupuncturist can work with you throughout your cycles to help balance hormones and prevent headaches from occurring. We can even help relieve a headache while it’s happening. For headaches, we often work with you via both the hormonal and muscular systems.
We can determine if there is tension in the neck, shoulder, and back areas and reduce it with acupuncture, bodywork, and stretching or movement exercises. We might also recommend herbal therapies to maintain balance throughout your cycles, so headaches are less likely to occur. Using this holistic approach, many people find great relief from cyclical headaches and can be free of that dreaded pain around the period.
Speaking of pain, most people we see have some form of cramping before and/or during their periods. Cramping can be intense, whether it’s at your belly, legs, low back, or vaginal area. It can definitely take the wind out of your sails when it shows up, making it hard to focus or even function.
Period pain is usually caused by a combination of hormonal changes, inflammation, and muscle tension – all of which just leads to a crummy day, and having to take a lot of Ibuprofen.
Acupuncture can help create a better environment in the pelvic area, decreasing pain before it even starts. Like menstrual headaches above, to decrease pelvic pain we usually work with people using a combination of acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, and diet to help reduce the inflammation that leads to the pain.
As always, we are treating the hormonal system as well, to help you feel more balanced. Period cramps can be a thing of the past with regular acupuncture sessions, and you can enjoy your life more with less pain!
5. Night sweats and Insomnia
These annoying symptoms can creep up for many people as they get into their late 30s and into their 40s. Those few nights before the period starts can be messy, with restless sleep or waking often at night feeling hot or sweaty. These symptoms are often due to hormones being less able to regulate as we age, and, sadly, due to stress catching up with us.
SO, it’s great news that acupuncture is well known to decrease stress, regulate our stress hormones, and balance our reproductive hormones – at all ages. Our sleep is precious, and we should do everything we can to avoid developing poor sleep patterns. Disruptions in sleep can lead to many other health concerns.
Acupuncture is truly a blessing here. To be honest, the #1 thing we hear after someone comes in for acupuncture is: “Wow, I slept so much better after I saw you!” With acupuncture’s ability to reduce stress and balance hormones, you can see immediate changes in sleep and stress levels, leading to better sleep, and fewer signs of hormonal issues like premenstrual night sweating.
6. Breast tenderness
Like abdominal bloating, premenstrual breast tenderness is due to hormonal changes causing more fluid retention in certain areas of the body. For some people, this is just a mild, slightly annoying symptom. For others, it is truly disruptive, making even simple movements and tasks difficult.
Do you ever feel like it is too painful to walk downstairs, or lie down on your stomach due to breast pain? While this can be common, this level of pain is not normal and is a sign that your hormones need more balancing and your circulation needs to improve.
Acupuncture and herbal treatments can be a huge help for premenstrual breast pain. In fact, this is one of the first PMS symptoms we see improve, because acupuncture is so good at helping with circulation, fluid metabolism, and hormone regulation.
Please don’t go on feeling like you need to buy a new bra for that time of the month, or hold your breasts while going downstairs (awkward!) Try acupuncture and free yourself of this unpleasantness.
While it’s true that spending a bit more time resting and decreasing your activities is a good idea around your period, being exhausted before or during this time isn’t what we expect. If you are too tired to do much of anything, that means that your system needs more support, often in many areas.
As acupuncturists, we look at the whole body to figure out why you are feeling so wiped out. We can work with you over time to help support hormones, sleep, digestion, stress levels, and other systems to make you feel better, at period time and beyond.
Once we make our diagnosis, we will use a combination of acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, diet changes, and exercise to gently help your system feel stronger and more resilient.
Life is too short to feel exhausted every month! Consider seeing an acupuncturist if your period wipes you out. We can likely help you get back on your feet, and help you have the energy to enjoy your life again.
Need Help with PMS?
At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we are committed to helping people improve their health and feel more balanced every day. Don’t let PMS symptoms run your life every month. Contact us today to get help with PMS and make real, lasting changes in these symptoms, and no longer feel like a victim to your hormonal changes.
We can support you to feel less moody, have less pain, less digestive upset, and have better energy. We are happy to answer your questions about how this would work for your circumstances.