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  • Writer's pictureAlisa Wong

10 Most Common Menstrual Symptoms That Aren't Considered Normal in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Do you experience any of these common menstrual issues?

1. Mood swings

2. Abdominal pain

3. Bloating

4. Tender breasts

5. Fatigue

6. Headaches

7. Low back pain

8. Insomnia

9. Bowel issues

10. Acne

Studies show that 90% of women experience various symptoms during their time of the month. Did you know that it is possible to have a period without any menstrual symptoms? Just because we experience these symptoms every month doesn’t mean we need to bare and grin it no matter how normal or common they may seem.

In traditional Chinese medicine, these common menstrual issues are frequently caused by 3 main sources: emotional stress, poor nutrition, and excessive physical work. Emotional stress (which includes anxiety, anger, and frustration) easily stagnates the flow of energy (also known as Qi) throughout the body giving rise to many common PMS symptoms. One’s diet is important in developing blood which contributes to the blood we menstruate. A poor diet especially one that incorporates raw, greasy, sugary and processed foods injures digestion resulting in a sluggish gut hindering blood development. Excessive physical work can include working long hours and/or working abnormal hours with no adequate rest and excessive exercising which can deplete the body leading to stagnation and deficiency of Qi causing many common menstrual issues listed above.

So, what does a normal period look like according to Chinese medicine?

  • Cycles are usually 28-32 days long always landing on the same day. If your cycle fluctuates between 28-32 days this is not considered normal.

  • Menstruation is usually 4-6 days long.

  • Color of the blood is usually crimson red. It is not normal if menstrual blood is light red, dark red, brown red, or purple red.

  • Consistency of blood is neither too thin, thick, or mucus like. Menstrual blood should not coagulate and you should not see blood clots.

  • There will be no mood swings, abdominal pain, bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, headaches, low back pain, sleeping issues, constipation, diarrhea, or acne.

  • The average blood lost from menstruation is between 30-80 ml. This equals to about 1 regular pad or tampon discarded every 3-4 hours.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms there is hope and it’s all natural too! A study showed that the treatment of PMS and PMDD with acupuncture and herbal medicine showed 50% or more reduction in symptoms with no adverse effects.

So, what can you expect when getting treated with Chinese medicine? In my practice, I’ve seen a lot of women’s menstrual issues such as abdominal pain, bloating, mood swings, tender breast, blood clots, and low back pain significantly decrease within the first month of treatment. If you have irregularities in your periods (early, late, prolonged, heavy) it could take up to 3-6 months to see physical changes in the menstrual blood. It is recommended to have 1-2 regular weekly treatment depending on severity of your menstrual issues in order to see change.


Jang, S. H., Kim, D. I., & Choi, M. (2014). Effects and treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine for premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-11

PMS relief. (2018, March 16). Retrieved October 02, 2020, from

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