Are Oral Contraceptives Really Important in Treating Menstrual Disorders?

Nowadays the majority of women are familiar to oral contraceptive. It is very common to take for irregular periods, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea (painful period), and menopause. Maybe most people have never thought that there are options. As we know, oral contraceptive might be a simple answer in treating such symptoms. Yet, we cannot ignore the side effects, especially for those women who have family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrium cancer. We should also take into consideration those women who might be trying to get pregnant or those who would rather choose a natural path in taking care of irregularities.

Menstrual irregularity takes many different forms. Early periods occur when periods come consistently up to 7 days early so that the cycle is less than 28 days long for more than twice in succession. Late periods arrive up to 7 days late for more than 2 cycles. Irregular periods are when periods come sometimes late and sometimes early in an unpredictable manner. Heavy periods occur when periods are regular and last the customary 3-7 days, but are heavier than normal (amounting over the average blood loss during a menstrual cycle, 30-80 ml). These periods start with a gush of blood, catching the woman unaware and necessitating an urgent use of a tampon or sanitary pad. Women with heavy periods have to make very frequent changes of these protective devices. The opposite irregularity is called “scanty,” when the bleeding is very light so as to necessitate few changes of sanitary pads or tampons. During these types of periods, bleeding lasts only 2-3 days or is extremely sparse, like a small drip. Long periods are characterized by prolonged bleeding which may last for up to 2 weeks. The cycle is regular and the amount of bleeding itself is not excessive. Painful periods (dysmenorrhea) indicate menstrual pain that occurs before, during or after menstruation. That pain may occur in the lower abdomen or sacral region and sometimes extends into the legs. In severe cases, symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, or even fainting. Bleeding between periods occurs consistently at about the midpoint of the cycle, which may last 1-2 days, though occasionally longer. Primary amenorrhea, or absence of period, occurs when a woman has not had a period by

the time she is 18. Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman has periods but they have stopped for at least three months. Flooding and trickling encompass two distinct symptoms, the former indicating a period that starts suddenly with a flood, often before the proper time. Trickling is when the period continues with a trickle after it should be done. The symptoms of irregular periods can be severe. For all of the above symptoms, a doctor of western medicine will likely prescribe the hormones estrogen, progesterone or a combination of both, in the form of pills, injection, or suppository cream.

TCM is a sophisticated system of health care based on complex philosophies of Tao, which advocate moderation. Living in harmony with nature and striving for balance. It uses range from preventing and treating diseases that are thousands of years old. Menstrual disorder is a condition of systematic imbalance and disharmony.

The cause of disharmony itself is to be found in the person’s dietary habits, life style, exercise habits, emotional stress, etc. Any long-term imbalance can become a cause of disease. For example, anger, including frustration, resentment, bearing irritation or grudges can cause the stagnation of Qi which may lead to irregular periods, premenstrual tension, and dysmenorrhea. According to TCM, the principle and methods of treatment are to pacify the liver and eliminate stagnation of Qi and blood. There are some herbal formulas basic on Xiao Yao Wan for this condition. Of course, acupuncture treatment is very necessary to be used. The following remedy is helping the patient maintain a good diet, meditation, Qi Gong, and Tai chi exercise to prevent reoccurrence of abnormality and to maintain health.