Chinese Clinical Medicine — Gynaecology Essay Example

7TCM & Western Models

Menstrual Physiology


2. Analyze several key concepts relating to menstrual physiology from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective. Compare the TCM model with the Western medicine model.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has its unique perspective on menstrual cycle, disorders and disease development. The ancient outlook on female body and the physiological processes permeate to date and are applied accordingly in explaining, consultations and treatments. The perceptions from Chinese medicine on female cycle are critical to the consequent advices that women are given to deal with menstruation issues. Chinese take all phenomena to occur in nature and the phenomena pertaining to human body are explained by Yin and Yang theory. Menstruation is connected with different explanations of free flow of blood and energy and various phases are applied in explaining and treatment of women. This discussion will analyze the various aspects pertinent with traditional Chinese medicine. In particular, specific issues, explanation and principles of TCM will inform the discussion of aspects of menstruation physiology. A comparison of the traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine approaches will further cement and achieve a deeper understanding based on similarities, differences and outcomes. This will then inform a clinical practice for better methodology of understanding both approaches.

Menstruation relationship with blood and liver

According to Yi-yun (2008), the Yin and Yang theory are two principles which are both opposing and complementary. They are also perceived to be in a continuous change process. Yin is connected with matter or substance and Yang is connected with energy. Women are perceived to be more Yin while men are more Yang. The blood belongs to an aspect of Yin in the body which thus is specifically connected to the female principle. This shapes the monthly understanding of the loss of blood where blood production and sustenance to its collect levels in the body occurs through menstruation. This is very vital for female physiology as blood is taken to be a source of joy more so to girls who are initiated to womanhood. Womanhood is a source of pride and this is marked y the onset of menstruation which is met with celebration by the members of the community.

Organs, blood, meridians and qi (energy) are important for special physiological structures such as uterus which affect special functions like menstruation among others. Liver plays an important role in female physiology as it has a central connection to the TCM main functions. It stores the blood and at the same time allows a free flow of energy in the body. Chinese medicine there is a broader understanding of organs compared with that of Westerners. The liver on its part is taken as an anatomical organ and also an energy channeling functional organ in the body. There are eight meridians distributed in the body to regulate vital energy and blood circulation. The meridians also connect with kidney, rain, uterus and marrow to influence processes (Mcgee 2010).

Free Flow of Energy, connection to Menstruation.

Mcgee (2010) deliberates that; Chinese medicine distinguishes four phases of menstrual cycle that are further taken into account in treating women. First, menstrual bleeding assumes that, the free flow of the blood is very vital for the body. The next phase occurs on the seventh day after the beginning of menstruation and at this time, blood production is taken to be paramount. Ovulation is taken as the time where Yin is transformed into Yang as Yang is concerned with warmth. The final phase occurs before menstruation where blood is sent to uterus through energy. This time the liver is expected to perform in the correct manner fro crucial free flow of energy and blood needed to accomplish the cycle. If all this are in the right functioning, menstruation begins without unpleasant symptoms and on time.

The important advices taken for the performance of the four phases in accordance to the expectation is taking the right healthy diet. This diet is able to support the body and work against any distortion of free flow of energy before menstruation. This further helps the free flow of the blood during menstruation and afterwards helps to nourish the blood. The recommended dishes that help combat distortion and improve the free flow of blood are eating cooked dishes with thermal neutral vegetables and with their whole grains. The way the food is prepared affects its thermal properties and therefore the necessary care is taken to preserve this.

In addition, there are some critical recommendations for women to take before and during menstruation. They are to limit the intake of raw food, avoid cooled foods, water, ice cream, juices, spicy dishes, sour taste and other exotic lettuces. This is because some of the above foods are very warming or blocks energy. Sweets, coffee, alcohol, black and green tea are also to be taken within limit (Yi-yun 2008).

Distortions of menstrual cycle

Energy and liver blood are taken to e independent and incase there is too little energy, the blood cannot move to the right way to prepare for menstruation. When energy is blocked before menstruation, late menstruation will result and other disorders. There are various distortions distinguished but individuals are prepared for diagnosis and a recommended treatment given. Significantly, blood deficiency, hot blood, lack of energy to keep blood in vessels, energy blockage and hypothermia are most of common menstrual distortions.

Distortion is dealt with through an individual decision on medicine where diagnosis is necessary. The recommendations differ for those caused by hot and the cold blood. Appropriate prevention is ensured by appropriate diet and slows down of much intake before and during menstruation. Women are also advised to find creative and expressive areas and avoid frustrating activates and unsatisfactory relationships. When the liver fundamental functions are supported, free flow of blood is ensured and this can also be promoted through dancing where the moving hips regulates and enhances the energy flow (Mcgee 2010).

Pre and post Menstrual Symptoms and blood regulation

As Mcgee (2010) argues, there are additional symptoms which occur before and after menstruation. These include body tension, irritability, early, late, scanty or irregular menstruations and sore breast. Most of the symptoms are connected with deficiency of blood. TCM advices on the right diet and on top of it, such women should drink an infused three herbs including the calendula, white deadnettle and yarrow where a spoonful is taken with a glass of water. To nourish the blood after menstruation, various vegetables, chicken stock and other products that add nourish blood.

Emotions and Menstruation

Emotions are taken to be a major cause of menstrual distortions. Late and painful menstruations come out through locked emotions. Such outcomes are related to unpleasant experiences and particularly in relation to the first menstruation. The TCM explain the seven emotions such as anger, anxiety, grief, joy, fright and pensiveness as determinants of menstrual physiology as other external factors (Yi-yun 2008). Each of the above emotions is seen to influence the vital energy circulation. When one of the emotions is experience for quite a long time, it is possible to result to distort the flow of blood due to the consequence of blood circulation. This can cause and result to heavy bleeding, late menstruation and increase PMS. The strong point on emotion is seen from joy which keeps vital energy in harmony and allows free flow.

Inducing Menstruation and Infertility

Huang & Chen (2008) points out that, TCM is also used to treat infertility and there is substantial documentation of its efficacy. This primary way of action is through its capability in regulating gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This induces ovulation in infertile women; improve the flow of blood in the uterus and endometrium menstrual changes. Infertile patients through the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome, stress, immunological disorders and anxiety are impacted positively through TCM.

Comparison: TCM and Western medicine model

The TCM and Western approach to menstruation fundamentally compares in many ways but differ in explanation of the processes, facilitative organs and other body mechanisms that are involved (Chan, et al 2010). TCM understand the physiology of menstruation through the Zang-fu theory. The theory surrounds the notion of various body organs, their functions and interrelations which go beyond the western model notion of organs function toward menstruation. The normal functioning and mutual relationship of organs affect certain human body systems. The organs such as heart, lung, kidney, spleen and liver form the zang organs while gall bladder, large and small intestine, stomach, body cavity and urinary bladder form the fu organs. Each set assume different functions where the first manufacture and store the essence; vital energy, body fluid and blood. The fu organs then receive the digested food, carry out absorption and transmission of nutrients and excrete the resulting wastes. These organs are filled and regulate blood in the body which leads to menstruation. As Faling, Jiao, Yongqiu, & Jin (2010 argues, in TCM, the organ not only corresponds to anatomical but incorporates functional understanding including energetic, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects. Chinese model has a broader meaning on organs compared to the understanding of Western medicine.

Chan, et al (2010) further argues that, TCM emphasizes on the role played by meridians for a complete menstruation cycle. These channels transfer the most important components; the blood to the uterus. Normal menstruation depends on significant eight meridians which connects with other organs referred to as extraordinary fu organs including the brain, bone, marrow, gall bladder, vessels and uterus. The organs are critical for physiological functions and any changes from them are in close connection with other Zang-fu organs. The organs harmonize menstruation through their various functions such as storing, producing, governing, controlling and moving of energy and blood. The interchanges of blood and energy create movement to the uterus bringing about periods. Meridians in western model are understood through the nervous system which coordinate hormones from hypothalamus to the reproductive organs and prepare them for menstruation.

In both approaches, the first and last period age is similar with menstruation timing from 11-18 years. However, the Chinese understands that menarche Kd vital energy to be ‘prosperous’ or full for menstruation to be stable. In case the vital energy is not full, the changes in menstrual cycles are irregular. The menstruation time in both continue till 49 years. TCM understand that the amount of bleeding can vary depending on age, place of living, constitution, living habits and climate (Yi-yun 2008). The symptoms during menstruation are similar but explained from energy and blood point of view by TCM while Western model explain them by hormonal disturbances and irregularities in their release. The cycle, from onset through symptoms and distortions is explained differently where TCM see the deficiency of qi (vital energy) and blood imbalance as the cause of menstrual abnormality.

For the Western model, menstruation which occurs through blood discharge emphasizes on uterus, fallopian tubes, virginal walls and the brains. The menstrual fluid is understood to contain some blood, cervical mucus, endometrial tissue and virginal secretions. The cycle occurs through some changes caused by gonadotropin and gonadal hormones. The coordination of the cycle depends on hormones, such as estradiol, follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones and brain parts such as the hypothalamus. The release and inhibition of different hormones determine the experience of menstruation cycle. In case one facilitating hormone is inhibited, the cycle may be delay, become prolonged or fail. The Western model view dysfunctional uterine bleeding as hormonally caused and bring abnormal ovulation. Precisely, the model emphasis on hormonal imbalances, other problems or uterine fibroids for abnormalities observed with menstruation (Chan, et al 2010).

In conclusion, the different approaches to menstruation are expected since menstruation has always existed with every tradition. The ancient as well as the recent scientific understanding are critical for explanation, control and medication of women at the age of menstruation. The approach deemed by cultural practice is important for analysis, control and maintenance of reproductive life-stages of women. In this case, the infusion of the two approaches may create a dominant alternative approach that can complement each model and achieve better outcomes in understanding the body, reproduction and medical practice. However, there is need for more research to various aspects and process as understood in traditional model to give a precise meaning to the issues surrounding menstrual cycle such as internal mechanisms, diet and effective individual activities to respond to various intrigues.


Chan, E., et al 2010, Interactions between traditional Chinese medicines and Western. Current opinion in drug discovery & development, 13(1), 50-65.

Faling, Y, Jiao, G, Yongqiu, T & Jin, Y 2010, November, Research on Traditional Chinese Medicine Human Body Structure and Function Model Based on Multi-agent. In Technologies and Applications of Artificial Intelligence (TAAI), 2010 International Conference on (pp. 124-128). IEEE.

Huang, S T & Chen, A P C 2008, Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 20(3), 211-215.

Mcgee, L 2010, Traditional Chinese Medicine. Integrative Women’s Health, 4, 101.

Yi-yun, L O U 2008, Menstruation and» the adaptation of human body to natural environment» in Inner Canon of Huangdi. China Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy, 11, 007.