Updated: Feb 7
Why is it that women think that period pain is normal?
When was pain ever normal?
We step on a pin and it hurts so we start limping, we knock our leg in to the curb of the bed writhing in pain and it may welt up and bruise the next day, we get a headache and drink some water and it goes away, we get a toothache and go to the dentist to see what the problem is. All of these are instances of how pain comes up in the body, we recognise why it has happened (if it’s as sudden as stepping on a pin) or we go find out to find out why there is an issue in the first place(seeing the dentist for your toothache)
It is the same as getting pain before or during your period.
So why does it happen and why should you have to suffer each month with it?
There is a certain ebb and flow to your menstrual cycle that happens organically within the body without you having to do anything (except for feeding yourself and hydrating). Your hormones, blood and nutrients work for you everyday to ensure you are creating an egg that is ready to be fertilised and when there is no conception that happens then they work to ensure your body discards the build up of “old” blood, nutrients and hormones to make way for a new egg to be released. So your body is working hard already to ensure that you are maintaining a healthy reproductive system.
Every system and organ in the body supports your uterus in some way or another to ensure it’s getting what it needs for you to have a proper menstruation. Chinese medicine looks at all of the these systems heavily when there is period pain as it’s never just the uterus that is the primary issue. Period pain is when blood and Qi isn’t flowing smoothly throughout the uterus causing pain. The major organs that influence the uterus are; the Liver, Kidneys, Spleen, Heart and your lungs.
So what disrupts the flow of your cycle to create pain?
Let's have a little look a bit further in to the organs function when it comes to supporting the uterus.
Liver - In Chinese medicine your liver is responsible for the smooth flow of blood around the body and the uterus. The qi within the liver helps move the blood to the rest of the body. In western medicine your liver is in charge of detoxification of blood from the digestive tract before spreading it around the body as well as detoxifying any chemicals, hormones or metabolised drugs. If your Liver is compromised, detoxification will effect the uterus by storing unwanted chemicals and hormones than discharging out of the body. It will also reduce the blood nourishment to the uterus.
Kidneys – In Chinese Medicine your kidneys hold the essence (the basis of reproduction) within the body. It helps to warm the uterus, activate the essence, transform fluids and warm your digestion.
Within western medicine kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood several times per day to ensure there is the right amount of fluid, electrolytes and removal of waste from the blood so it’s squeaky clean (always look after your kidneys!) If your kidneys are not functioning well you will have a build up of toxins within the blood reducing the quality of blood within the uterus which can create inflammation or bad egg quality.
Lungs – In Chinese Medicine, your lungs assist in with the production of blood. How so? The lungs are the only organ that grasps fresh oxygen from our external environment and feeds it into the body filtering it in to the blood. To make more blood you need oxygen as well as nutrients.
In western medicine the lungs are responsible for attaching oxygen from our breathe to our red blood cells so that all the other cells (there is trillions upon trillions of them!) have oxygen to function. If you are not breathing properly, your body cannot filter enough oxygen in to the body to replenish and rejuvenate your blood.
Heart – In Chinese medicine your heart is the emperor organ in charge of all other organs in the body. It “supports” your blood both physically and emotionally to the uterus.
In western medicine your heart “pumps” the blood around the whole body providing nutrients and oxygen to all other tissues and organs. If your heart isn’t governing the blood around the body, your uterus will be deficient and menstrual issues will arise.
Spleen – In Chinese medicine your spleen is the maker of blood and “holds” it within the body. It transforms your food and drink into blood for the rest of the body.
In western medicine the spleen acts as a filter for your blood and your immune system. It “holds” platelets, blood cells and white blood cells to help you in case you are immune compromised. If your spleen is not making or holding blood, then your uterus will not get the blood required for reproducing or having a period.
When the uterus is not receiving what it needs from these organs then there are irregularities that will arise comprising the flow of blood and Qi in the body.
There are many factors that can come in to play here, the important thing is to know that every person’s life is different, they have their own history and their own DNA (genetic makeup). Meaning these factors that are listed below are going to influence each woman to different degrees depending on their physical, emotional and mental constitution.
These factors are:
Stress ; effects all systems within the body, mostly your liver, heart and spleen are impacted. Your liver will tighten, your heart will beat irregularly and your spleen will reduce the holding of blood.
Overwork; Will effect your kidneys, spleen, heart and liver. Will overwork these organs reducing their functions.
Trauma (physical or emotional); directly effects your blood, heart and kidneys. Will reduce the blood of blood around the whole body.
Exposure to cold, heat or damp environments for long periods of time; will effect your lungs, kidneys and spleen.
Lifestyle; can effect all systems depending on the type of lifestyle (high stress job, Athlete, Part time worker etc)
Poor dietary choices ; will effect your spleen majority of the time. Spleen can’t make blood properly if there isn’t the proper nutrients to support it.
The seven emotions (e.g Feel fear or sadness majority of the time); will effect all organs. Emotions that are heavily impacting you stimulate certain hormones within the body that need to be detoxified. If there is a large some then it will create over time for your organs.
Sexual abuse; your kidneys, heart and uterus effected directly. It’s a shock to the body, slowing down blood flow .
Excessive sexual activity; depletes your kidney essence.
Drugs, medications and overuse of supplements; Will directly affect your spleen (digestive tract), liver and kidneys.
By now your head is probably going down a rabbit whole of thoughts asking yourself are these related to me right now? What if I have a bunch of these and not just one?
It’s okay, no one is perfect. We are human. I would recommend seeing a health professional to get to the bottom of why you may be suffering from period pain. This way they can focus on you specifically and break things down for you so it all makes sense!
Hope you understand a little more now that pain isn’t normal and you can most likely do something about it to reduce your pain.