Menstruation

Menstrual Problems

The menstrual cycle can be divided into two clear halves, governed by different hormones pre and post ovulation. These reflect the balance of yin and yang in the body

In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, the first part of the cycle, pre-ovulation, is the yin part. This is concerned with the shedding and rebuilding of lining of the uterus and the development of eggs. The yang part of the cycle begins with ovulation and remains dominant until just before bleeding begins. The two parts of this cycle are reflected in the basal body temperature which can be tracked over the time between two bleeds.

When all goes well, the two parts of the cycle are balanced at roughly 14 days each. There is a clear thermal shift around ovulation and temperatures before and after remain more or less consistent. Changes in this pattern reflect disharmonies in the body which, over time, can cause pain, irregularity and disruption to the menstrual cycle as a whole.

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Unusual or erratic temperature shifts in the basal body temperature can be caused by stress, sleep disruption, illness, stimulants and medication as well as deeper disharmonies in the body relating to hormones, stress, aging and constitution. Acupuncture is helpful in regulating the causes of disharmony and bringing the body and its cycles back into balance.

Acupuncture can help with a number of specific menstrual issues, including:

  • Premenstrual stress
  • Period pains
  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Spotting between periods
  • Amenorrhea
  • Perimenopausal symptoms
  • Menopausal symptoms

Basal Body Temperature Tracking

One way to understand what is happening during the menstrual cycle is to track the basal body temperature over a number of cycles.

This tells us when ovulation is most likely to have occurred and will also give indications on why it might not have happened.

While it is important to see snapshots of the cycle (dates of the fertile window, ovulation and bleeds) what is more valuable to us are the patterns that occur over time.

Temperature fluctuations over the whole cycle tell us a lot about the yin and yang levels in the body and what is required to build or harmonise them.

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When beginning to track your basal body temperature:

  • Choose a thermometer able to read two places after the decimal point
  • Take your temperature the same way over the cycle/s (mouth, rectal, under arm)
  • Take your temperature before you get out of bed at the same time each day
  • Mark if the time of temperature taking changes
  • Mark if you are sick, travelling, stressed or on medication
  • Mark if you have any cramping, bloating acne or irritability

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Please check our dedicated Facebook feed, Heavenly Star Acupuncture - Women’s Issues for things you can do to help support and regulate your menstrual cycle.