As different as cultures themselves are, medical cultures, too, are unique to each society. While in traditional Chinese Medicine and the society of which it was apart considered any menstrual problems cause for concern, in Western society it is only when menstrual problems become severe that women and their gynecologists take steps.
Menstrual pain and cramps. Amenorrhea, that is, no period or no period bleeding. Excessive bleeding. Fatigue. Headaches. Breast tenderness. Irregular periods. While any of these problems might be treated by a physician in the West, on the other hand, unless the pain is very severe or the bleeding nearly catastrophic or the other problems “clinically significant,” action to correct the underlying problem is rare. These problems are still seen as normal. Periods that are painful, fatigue, headache, breast tenderness, a little too much or too little bleeding, dark clotty blood is just about par for the course.
Moreover, the drug therapies to treat these types of problems are, in my experience of treating many women for these types of distresses, not especially effective or themselves can be problematic — in a variety of ways. Of course, I see a select group that does not find the usual drugs effective or does not want to take pharmaceuticals.
For traditional Chinese Medicine, any deviation from a period that is not regular and pleasant and with blood that is healthy and red is considered a clinical problem. Different medical cultures see things differently. And, I believe, in gynecology, the traditional Chinese have it right. Not only is the suffering that women put up with unnecessary, but problems of menstruation early on from the teen age years if not corrected can lead and do lead, to my mind, to greater problem of infertility, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and more later in life.
Are there studies that verify my intuition? Has this been studied? Do the few women who have pleasant and healthy periods earlier in life have fewer serious uterine and ovarian problems later in life? I believe studies can bear this out!
A traditional Chinese medical culture that takes all menstrual disharmonies seriously from the beginning also has the means of treating those problems with herbs and acupuncture. Chinese herbsl formulas are especially good for gynecological problems. Many problems can be treated without acupuncture or use acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine emphasizes treating these problems, the earlier the better. But any age is fine.
Not only are there many herbs and many formulas for treating these problems, but each formula should be constructed by a competent herbalist who can fit the formula to each individual woman. Although there are some herbs like angelica sinensis (dang qui) that have become popular in health food stores and are prominent in herb formulas for menstrual problems, one size does not fit all and this herb will not cure all menstrual distress in all women, nor will one particular formula.
But if experience is any guide and traditional Chinese Medicine has much experience with these kinds of issues, traditional Chinese medicinal herbs are an excellent choice for women’s health issue and women’s general health.