Painful Periods? They Don't Have to Be!

by Amy Malone |

Painful Periods? They Don't Have to Be!

So many women are suffering from painful periods. In reality, more than 50 percent of women who menstruate, experience period pain at some point in their life. This kind of pain is usually  called dysmenorrhea and varies in severity and duration.

Painful periods can be caused by many different factors, but to simplify things, in Chinese medicine, it is most often caused by stagnation. The lack of qi flow or blood circulation, with the prior history of deficiency or surplus is the leading cause of pain.


There are several meridians involved in menstrual cycle health and regularity. Stay tuned for a more detailed post on the Chinese medicine theory on the menstrual cycle as it compares to the Western view on the menstrual cycle.

In Western medicine terminology, dysmenorrhea is typically caused by increased release of prostaglandins and can also be a result of conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, or fibroids. The uterine lining produces prostaglandins in response which further aggravate your period pain. . If these levels are too high, there can be increased pain, discomfort and cramping. In conditions such as endometriosis, the lining of the uterus that is growing outside the uterine walls, responds to hormones and can cause adhesions to other tissues which can create pain.

To treat painful periods, mostly clinics employ a series of treatments like acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion and sometimes cupping; however, there are many remedies that you can still use at home to help.


Here are my 2 workable remedies that you can use at home to treat painful periods.

  • San Yin Jiao, Spleen 6: It is located on the inside of the ankle about 3 finger width distance up from the malleolus (ankle bone). It regulates blood flow and circulation, harmonizes the liver and promotes relaxation.

  • Di Ji, Spleen 8: it is located on the inside of the calf, next to the shin bone, about 1 hands width below the knee. It regulates blood flow and the uterus to stop pain.

Acupressure can be applied to these points, on each leg for 30 sec to 1 minute as needed to help reduce pain during your period.To effectively manage the pain, you can use this remedy before your period starts.


Foods that are high in omomega-3atty acids such as nuts, seeds, eggs, and salmon can help reduce prostaglandin levels. Also, avoid processed foods such as dairy, gluten, and sugar which trigger inflammation thus cutting these foods from your diet will reduce the pain during period.


My go to here is Chinese herbal medicine, but, you really need to see an herbalist for formulas specific to your constitution in treating menstrual cycle pain or irregularities. Besides Chinese herbs, magnesium can be really helpful. Since it helps to relax smooth muscle and reduce systemic prostaglandins, it can help reduce pain during your period.

You may have been told that some pain is normal during your period, but it doesn't have to be and you have options that don't include always reaching for over the counter anti-inflammatories to manage it.

Care Consideration: Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations  from a healthcare provider.  This information is not intended to treat, mitigate or cure any disease.  That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options.  If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us on

Amy Malone is a licensed acupuncturist and registered nurse with national certificaiton in Oriental Medicine. She brings balance into her life professionally by integrating her nursing background with her practice as an acupuncturist, and privately by making times for the things she loves outside the clinic. Amy is an avid skiier, hiker, backpacker, reader, and traveler together with her partner, Ryan. You can learn more about Amy at

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