Self-care During Menstruation  

      Around the time of their periods wome often experience emotional changes and are more sensitive to their environment and more vulnerable to cold.  This is attributed to a mild, transient yin deficiency and a corresponding excess of yang, which are caused by the loss of blood.  The following precautions may be beneficial.

Proper temperature

      Warmth helps the blood circulate, too much heat causes heavy bleeding, and cold slows the flow of blood.  Catchig a cold, getting caught in heavy rain, coming into contact with cold water, or drinking cold beverages or herbal remedies with cold or bitter properties during mestruation---all of these factors can cause blood stasis within the Womb.  This can manifest as a cessation of menstruation, oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea, or dysmenorrhea.  On the other hand, pathogeic heat, very hot weather, or hot, spicy foods or herbs may invade the Womb and prolong the meses or cause meorrhagia.  These factor will also affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and possibly cause anovulation ad infertility.  It is thus necessary for a woman to pay close attention to the food, drink, and medicine she ingests, and to the temperature of the air to which she is exposed, during this part of her cycle. 

Positive mood

      Yin and yang are relatively imbalanced during menstruation.  If a woman is unable to stay calm during this time, her mood will have a tedency to flare up, and she may become irritated, worried, or depressed at the slightest provocation, which may then cause qi stagnation, blood stasis, or the rise of fire excess.  Sometimes the Kidneys and Liver are affected, leading to the appearace of menstrual disorders, amenorrhea, and other symptoms.  It is therefore quite important for women to avoid quarreling and to maintain a positive attitude during mestruation.

Appropriate work and rest

      Hard work, stress, strenuous exercise, and insomnia can exhaust the qi. Because qi is the commander of blood, the blood may no longer remain within the vessels or regenerate itself.  Inadequate qi and blood supply to the internal organs, expeially the ovaries, may cause dysfunctional uterine bleeding or amenorrhea.  Women, especially pubescent girls, should thus have more rest during mestruation.

Feminine hygiene

      During the menses the Womb is open and the uterine blood vessels are broke.  At this time pathogenic factors may easily enter the Womb and the Lower Burner.  As a result, abnormal vaginal discharge or some mestrual disorder may be experienced because the yin channels or their collaterals have been injured.  As a preventive measure, one should not douche or have sexual intercouse during vaginal bleeding.  Intercouse may be harmful in two ways:  first, because all the uterine blood vessels are open to the outside, leaving the woman more vulnerable to infections; and second, because it may force the flow of blood upward, rather than downward (its natural direction), and thus cause mestrual disorders.  Women are also advised not to drink excessively during their periods.
     Sexual intercouse should be avoided during illness or drunkenness as well, because the flow of qi in th channels and Organs might become disordered and cause menstrual problems.
      All the above advice may be applied to girls as young as seven, since that is the age at which the Kidneys become stronger.  When a girl reaches the age of fourteen, her essence (jing) reaches maturity, and her menstruation and reproductive functions follow.  Keeping warm, observing a proper diet, and maintaining adequate exercise during childhood will help promote a healthy reproductive life. 

From "Obestetrics & Gynecology in Chinese Medicine", by Yu Jin, M.D.

Self-care During Menstruation - Reishi Acupuncture Clinic in San Gabriel California