your period
The Chinese medicine take on the quality of your menstrual flow

As a woman, if you’ve ever had a Chinese medicine consultation, it is quite likely you’ve been questioned about the health of your endometrial lining and your period in some detail, even if you are not trying to conceive. We ask a lot of questions because every woman’s period gives us valuable insight into her overall health and these details inform our diagnosis and treatment. Your period reflects what has been happening in the previous weeks, months and years.  As we commence treatment, you may often notice positive changes in your menstrual flow, which give us valuable feedback that we are on the right track with your acupuncture and/or herbal treatment. Having a healthy period is always very important and is especially so if you are trying to conceive. 

Many of my clients are not used to observing their menstrual flow in such detail and may not know how to answer some of my questions. When I was a teenager, all I learned about my period was that it happened. The subject was taboo, only the essentials were discussed, and further information just wasn’t available. If you are the same, then it may take some months of observation to notice things you haven’t before. It is not uncommon that women return and tell me that their period is quite different to what they thought.

So, what do we want to know about your period?

Examples of some of the questions we may ask are:

  • How often do you change your pad or tampon (or menstrual cup or period undies)? 
  • How many days do you bleed for?
  • What colour is the blood? (Red, maroon, purple, black, brown, pink)
  • Is the viscosity like normal blood or is it thick and sticky or watery?
  • Are there any clots? If so, how big (specks, coin sizes, as big as your wrist)
  • Is there any pain? When does it start and finish? How strong? Where is it felt?
  • Does it stop and start?
  • Is there an odour?

What we are looking for are deviations from a healthy menstruation. It should flow easily, be pain free, be a fresh red colour and not contain clots, dark strands or mucous. There needs to be enough blood to reflect a lining of adequate thickness, but it must be healthy too. It should arrive without a lot of fuss, finish up neatly and not outstay it’s welcome. 

Prepare the garden bed

You may have heard the analogy of the garden bed. A strong healthy plant needs a quality nutritious soil that is free of weeds, rocks and clay. If we prepare the soil before we plant the seed, we have a greater chance of it taking root and growing big and strong. 

As a Doctor of Chinese medicine, my main therapeutic tools are herbs and acupuncture. Our herbs are prescribed as formulas containing multiple herbs chosen to suit your particular diagnosis. I mostly use soluble granulated herbs, although pills, tinctures and teas are not uncommon. All herbs are free from endangered species or unethically sourced products and are of the highest quality grade. Specific dietary guidance aimed at improving menstrual health may also be given. 

A Chinese medicine gynaecology or fertility consultation includes enquiring about your menstrual history and the details of your entire menstrual cycle, not just the period. We discuss your diet, digestion, lifestyle, work, stress and anxiety levels and any other health concerns or test results you may have. We use all this information alongside our traditional diagnostic techniques to inform our diagnosis and design your treatment plan. 

If you have been concerned about the health of your period, suffering every month with pain or heavy bleeding or have been having difficulty conceiving and are unsure what to do, then I would love to see you in clinic to discuss your concerns and possible treatment options. 

Written by Kim Riley

Kim Riley is available for one on one in person acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine consultations. You’re welcome to book in with Kim.