Unfortunately, painful periods affect many women and for some can be extremely debilitating. This condition, known medically as dysmenorrhea, causes pain in the lower back and abdomen. While a little discomfort is normal, extreme pain is not and warrants further examination as conditions like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, or even IBS could be the cause of this pain.
Primary dysmenorrhea starts at the onset of the menstrual cycle of a young woman, while secondary dysmenorrhea develops later in life. Typical Western treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, or birth control pills. Both can temporarily reduce the severity of symptoms but don't address the root cause of the issue (especially if the pain is stemming from another condition).
From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, we need to differentiate between excess and deficiency, cold and heat, and chi—another word for energy. As an acupuncture therapist, my goal is to regulate chi and blood to maintain a proper flow, making sure that areas of concern are getting the attention they need from your body. Here are some ways to do that: