Written By Our Acupuncturist: Kelly Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac.
Have you ever wondered if you were having a “healthy” or “normal” monthly cycle? Here are some of the things an acupuncturist would look at to determine if you are having a “healthy” cycle.
There are 3 meridians in Chinese Medicine that we pay attention to when it comes to periods/fertility/pregnancy. They are Liver, Kidney and Spleen. Put simply, the Liver meridian is in charge of hormones and controlling blood, the Kidney meridian is in charge of Jing/Qi, and the Spleen meridian is in charge of making blood/ milk production and holding the baby.
What we want to see happen with treatment, lifestyle and nutritional changes are PMS symptoms no longer occurring, no clots, no breast tenderness, no abdominal distension, no cramps, and no back pain. Yes, you read that right. In Chinese Medicine, you should not be cramping nor having other period symptoms. You will become more Yin around your period which will mean you are a little tired, introverted and possibly nesting. Your period should be a smooth flow with no spotting, slow to start, hits a peak around day 2-3, begins to temper out, and ends completely at day 5. The blood itself should be red (not: dark, pale, bright red, black or brown) with no clots and not watery.
The menstrual cycle should be 28 days. In Chinese medicine, the menstrual cycle should line up with the lunar cycle. Meaning your period will take place with a new moon and ovulation should take place during the full moon. So if we look at the menstrual cycle in this way, your period will occur the first 5 days of your cycle. At day 12 in your cycle the LH surge will occur and you should notice an increase in cervical mucus. This is when you want to start having sex if you are trying to get pregnant. You want to start having sex before you are actually ovulating. The reason behind this is it takes time for the sperm to reach the egg. So on day 14 in your cycle when you are ovulating we want the sperm there. If you are not noticing cervical mucus around day 12 or ovulation at day 14 this is something that we should be aware of and pay attention to for further treatments. Another thing to note is around ovulation we want the cervical mucus to be a bit sticky and slick when you wipe and the more cervical mucus around this time the better.
The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle takes place from ovulation (day 14) until your cycle ends at day 28 or you become pregnant. We want the luteal phase to last at least 11 days because it takes fertile eggs 5-7 days to implant in the uterus and start hormonal changes. These hormonal changes need time to occur so that the body will not start the menstrual cycle if you are trying to get pregnant. So if you notice that your cycle is shorter or longer than 28 days, you are having symptoms around your period, your body is not creating cervical mucus, or you are ovulating to soon before or after your period it is something you can discuss with your acupuncturist. We will use acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle recommendations to help your body become balanced and have a “healthy” monthly cycle.