Theory

Chinese Herbal and Acupuncture Treatment Protocols for Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Formulas, Protocols, TCM Diagnoses


Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Basics

Dysmenorrhea occurs when a woman experiences irregularly painful menstruation, characterized by extreme lower abdominal and back pain. An individual is considered to have primary dysmenorrhea when she experiences pain near the beginning of their period and is otherwise healthy. In women with secondary dysmenorrhea, pain can be attributed to some underlying condition or issue in the uterus or surrounding region.

Below you will find alternative and natural treatment options including those from a Chinese Medicine perspective for dysmenorrhea.


Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps) generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps):



Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Acupuncture Protocols

The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavor that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory (and/or whatever system being used for treatment). There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. Rather using proper diagnostic procedures the patients diagnostic pattern is ascertained and that is what is treated. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.

The following Acupuncture Treatment Protocols May Be Used With Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps)


Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Questions

Need treatment options for dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps) and not finding the information you need?

Using our forums our staff and our community may offer guidance with regards to the treatment of dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps).



Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Related Acupuncture Points

The following (25) acupuncture points may be useful for dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps). A subset of these could potentially be useful with acupressure stimulation and/or tongren therapy methods as well.

Generally treatment would be based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting points by function alone, (see general points selection rules.)



Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps) - Related Chinese Herbs

The following (11) chinese herbs may be useful for dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps). In most cases, however, treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine is done with herbal formulas based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting herbs by function alone. When available, relevant formulas will appear below and/or in the store listings above.



The following (9) Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain/Cramps)

Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan

  • Bupleurum Powder to Spread the Liver
    • Hypochondriac pain with possible breast tenderness.
    • Irregular menstruation and or amenorrhea, PMS symptoms that result from liver qi stagnation.
    • Irritability and or depression may also manifest as the emotional component of liver qi stagnation.
  • Harmonize
  • Regulate and Harmonize the Liver and Spleen

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Wan

  • Drive Out Blood Stasis Below The Diaphragm Decoction
    • For blood stasis below the diaphgram - abdominal masses, liver and spleen masses/swelling, colitis.
    • A range of liver disorders are possibly applicable - cirrhosis, hepatic hemangioma, hepatitis, jaundice.
    • Spleen disorders - splenomegaly.
    • Pleural adhesions.
    • A range of menstrual disorders - fibroids, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea (although Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan may be more appropriate as that targets more the lower jiao).
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
    • May be used to help expel ectopic pregnancy.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.
    • Use only under direction during menstruation.
    • Use only under direction if you are taking blood thinners.
    • Generally not for long term use.

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

  • Cinnamon and Poria Teapills
    • For abdominal masses such as uterine cysts, ovarian cysts, benign tumors.
    • May be used when blood stagnation symptoms appear during pregnancy.
    • Uterine bleeding especially if the color is dark.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Warm the Menses and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution during pregnancy.
    • Use with caution if patient presents with more severe blood stagnation and qi deficiency.

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan

  • Abdominal Stasis Relief Pills
    • Qi and blood stagnation in the lower jiao - lower abdominal masses, fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis.
    • Fertility issues in both men and women with the right underlying signs - amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, irregular cycles, uterine bleeding.
    • Can be used to dispel ectopic pregnancy.
    • Ulcerative colitis, urinary stones.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.
    • Not generally applicable to heavy menstrual bleeding coming from deficiency.

Si Wu Tang Wan

  • Four Substances Pills
    • The primary base formula for tonifying the blood and regulating menstruation in Chinese Medicine terms - irregular cycles, amenorrhea or long cycles.
    • Postpartum issues such as uterine bleeding when arising from blood deficiency.
    • General blood deficiency symptoms - dry skin, dry eyes, dry hair, anemia, calf cramping.  Certain version of dermatitis, psoriasis and other skin conditions - diabetic ulcers, etc.
    • With the right underlying factors threatened miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy.
    • Fertility issues, endometriosis.
  • Tonify
  • Tonify the Blood
  • Cautions
    • Avoid during the early phases of a cold or flu.

Wen Jing Wan

Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan

  • Minor Bupleurum Decoction
    • Shao Yang Syndrome (or "lesser yang stage") - alternating fever and chills, hypochondriac pain, irritability, bitter taste in mouth, poor appetite, nausea.  Often used for illnesses (chronic or short-term) such as the flu, etc. that have "cleared" but not completely.  People will describe not feeling quite right or having a range of low level symptoms for months or longer after a particular illness.  Instead of fever and chills alternating they may manifest with cold extremities and warm interior or other variations.
    • A range of liver related conditions including malaria, jaundice, hepatitis, liver cancer, meniere's disease, general protection from medicines that may harm the liver, etc. among issues with other digestive organs - pancreatitis, stomatitis, gastritis.
    • Liver/speen disharmonies resulting in broader issues such as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, menstrual irregularities (PMS, cramping, etc.).
    • Other general immune issues such as the common cold, flu, tonsillitis, general seasonal allergies with the right underlying factors.
  • Harmonize
  • Regulate and Harmonize the Liver and Spleen
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution with yin and/or blood deficiencies.
    • Avoid cold, raw, and spicy foods while taking xiao chai hu tang.

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan

  • Blood Stasis Relief Pills
    • Qi and Blood stagnation - pain, cardiovascular issues, physical organ issues.
    • Coronary artery disease, angina and other cardiovascular issues.
    • Hepatitis and other liver function issues.
    • Migraines, headaches, neuralgia from most causes.
    • A range of menstrual issues including dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids - particularly with pain and/or bleeding.
    • Certain diagnostic types of psychological illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, chronic depression, etc.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.
    • Avoid with heavy menstrual bleeding.
    • Use only under direction if you are taking blood thinners.
    • Generally not for long term use.

Yi Zi Wan

  • Decoction B
    • Hemorrhoids and/or constipation from an accumulation of damp-heat and toxins in the lower jiao - possibly bleeding hemorrhoids, pain, rectal prolapse, anal itching.
    • With the right underlying factors may also be useful for vaginal bleeding with abdominal pain, possibly with dark clots.
  • Clear Heat
  • Clear Heat and Relieve Toxicity



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