1. What is Period Pain?
Period pain is a very common women’s disease and can happen to any woman who menstruates. Usually due to the period, the woman’s body can feel uncomfortable with abdominal tenderness, bloating and mild pain all of which is bearable and does not affect her living, study or work life. If the period pain is strong enough that the woman requires pain relief, this is not normal and the cause should be investigated.
2. Causes of Period Pain
Chinese Medicine considers that period pain is most commonly due to;
a) Blood stagnation (Injuries to parts of the body or directly to the lower abdomen and back area will affect the circulation of blood which may lead to blood stagnation)
b) Qi stagnation (Long or short-term stress or tension which affect liver Qi stagnation. Chinese medicine has a very famous saying “If Qi is blocked then blood will become stagnant”)
c) Cold stagnation (This is very common, in modern life people eat too much cold or frozen foods and drinks which will affect the abdomen, uterus and ovary circulation. Therefore blood is not removed entirely and old blood may stay behind causing period pain in the next period)
3. Major Symptoms of Period Pain
Period pain can present with a severe sharp or dull aching in the lower back or abdominal area, bloating, headache, breast tenderness or fullness, sluggish bowel movement or blood clots during menstruation, cold hands and feet, PMS and pain in the lower legs. If blood is stagnant in the abdomen for a long time it may lead to fibrosis of the uterus or ovaries, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis and irregular periods. In my clinical experience, many causes of women’s problems are due to blood clots in the lower abdomen area. It is important to prevent and treat period pain.
4. How to Prevent Period Pain
i) Avoid eating cold or frozen foods and drinks, especially before or during the period.
ii) Reduce pressure and strain around the abdomen and lower back area during the period (E.g. bending, lifting, intercourse).
iii) Before or during the period slow down your lifestyle and take time to relax.
iv) If you have an injury in the abdomen area, it is important to fix it immediately rather than allowing it to linger for a long time.
5. Health Effects of Peaches
i) Helping to reduce period pain and improve circulation
Chinese medicine believes that peaches are extremely helpful to rid the body of pain arising from stagnation. For example, in the ancient treatise of the traditional book “Zhen Nan Mu Cao“, peaches are able to clear stagnation of the menstrual cycle and improve the blood flow. Another book has suggested that peaches can also promote blood circulation and neutralise stagnation. Peaches are warming in nature and able to promote normal blood circulation, thereby eliminating blood toxins. When it is near the time of the menstrual cycle, I suggest that women should eat 1 fresh peach per day or half a cup of sun-dried peaches every second day, which are helpful for blood circulation within the intestinal tract and blood surrounding the uterus.
The ability of peaches helping to clear toxins and improve circulation around the lower abdomen area, means they can also help to reduce the occurrence of uterine endometriosis or onset of uterine fibroids.
ii) Helping Bowel Movements
In addition, peaches can help adjust the liver energy and moisturise the intestinal tract to promote healthy bowel movements. So if you have sluggish bowel movements or constipation you can eat a certain amount of fresh peaches.
5. How to eat
Peach is a seasonal fruit, you eat 1 peach per day or every second day. If fresh peaches are out of season you can eat sun-dried peaches as a substitution. Approximately half a cup every second day.
i) Eating too many peaches at once can cause bloating or fullness.
ii) If you are not sure if peaches are suitable for you please contact your experienced Chinese Medicine practitioner.