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Menstrual Blood according to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

The colour and consistency of your Menstrual Blood offers a wealth of information about your menstrual health.

Together with the length and pattern of your cycles, menstrual flow, BBT (Basal body temperature) and other signs and symptoms, it provides your acupuncturist with a window into your inner physiology and the state of your reproductive health.

👉🏻The normal colour of menstrual Blood should be rich red and it should Be the consistency of Blood from a wound. In reality, it may be anything from pale pink to black, and it may be watery and dilute, or it may be congealed and clotty.

👉🏻Pale watery Blood indicates Spleen deficiency with Blood deficiency. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is related to digestive function and is responsible for the production of Blood, so if the Spleen is weak, the Blood will become deficient.

Symptoms of Spleen Qi deficiency include poor appetite, bloating, tiredness, as well as heaviness or cramping in your thighs before your period.

Blood deficiency may present with dry skin, dry hair, dry eyes and blurred vision.

The period maybe light and scanty and the cycles may be long.

In Chinese medicine, the menstrual Blood is known as the Heavenly Water (Tian Gui), and it is rooted in the pre-Heaven Qi of the kidneys and nourished by the post-Heaven Qi of the Spleen and Stomach. Blood is also considered a part of Yin, which is associated with the follicular phase of the cycle when the follicles are developing, the endometrium is thickening and oestrogen is on the rise. Blood supports the Yin in nourishing the follicles as they develop so it has an influence on egg quality. Also, if Blood is deficient and the periods scanty, the endometrium will be thin, so the embryo will have difficulty in planting and conception may not occur.

If the Spleen Qi is weak and the Blood is deficient, you should eat warm, Blood-nourishing foods, especially bone-based broths, organic meat, green leafy vegetables, broccoli and beetroot.

👉🏻Scarlet-red Blood indicates Yin deficiency with empty Heat. Symptoms may include Malar Flsh, hot flushes, night sweats and thirst. The BBT in the follicular phase of the cycle may be high (over 36.6 degrees) and the Cervical mucus, which is vital for facilitating the passage of the sperm through the fallopian tubes, maybe scanty and acidic, and it may contain anti-sperm antibodies.

Also, if the Yin is deficient, since the Yin nourishes the eggs, the follicles may take longer to develop and the follicular phase may be long. On the other hand, if there is Heat, ovulation may occur early, before the follicle is fully mature, and there will be a short follicular phase. For optimum fertility, the follicular phase should be between 12 and 15 days to ensure that the follicle is at the right stage of maturity for conception.

If you are Yin deficient, it is important to avoid overwork and consume Yin-nourishing foods, which include:

✨Pork ✨Duck ✨Yam ✨Asparagus ✨Eggs ✨Tofu ✨Millet ✨Goji berries

👉🏻Dark red Blood indicates either Liver Qi stagnation or Heat in the Blood. In Chinese medicine, the Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and Qi moves the Blood, so there may also be some clots. The Liver is easily affected by stress and the Liver Qi tends to stagnate before the period, so the symptoms of Liver Qi stagnation include premenstrual signs of irritability, breast distension,

headaches and abdominal cramping and the cycles may be irregular.

Women with Liver Qi stagnation benefit from regular exercise to move the Qi and meditation or yoga to calm the mind. Qi stagnation creates Heat which can go to the Blood and Result in short cycles, heavy bleeding, menstrual pain and even miscarriage.

Heat can also be caused by excessive consumption of hot, spicy foods, greasy, fried foods, alcohol, recreational drugs, smoking and infection.

Heat can also congeal the Blood, causing the Blood to stagnate and become thick and clotty.

👉🏻Dark, purplish Blood with clots indicates Blood stagnation due to Cold. The flow of the period may stop and start and there will be pain during the period which is typically alleviated by Warmth. This is common in the case of endometriosis and fibroids.

Cold constricts Blood vessels and impairs the flow of Blood to the uterus, which can impede your fertility. Fresh, healthy Blood enthuses the uterus with oxygen, nutrients and hormones, and old Blood and waste need to be cleared, to allow for the circulation of fresh Blood. If the Blood becomes stagnant, the lining of the uterus may not be able to support the implantation of the embryo and a growing foetus, so there may be failed implantation or miscarriage.

Blood nourishes the eggs, so Blood stagnation will affect egg quality. Ovulation is also dependent on the free flow of Qi and Blood to make the switch from Yin to Yang midcycle.

If Blood stagnates, ovulation can be impaired.

To allow for the smooth passage of the egg through the fallopian tubes, they must be relaxed and free of obstruction, so Cold and Blood stagnation will also affect the passage of the embryo to the uterus.

It is important to avoid Cold food and drinks, and eat Warm, cooked foods. A moderate number of warming spices, like Ginger and Cinnamon, would be beneficial in clearing the Cold. Always be sure to keep your lower Abdomen and Back Warm, and avoid walking barefoot on Cold floors or sitting on Cold surfaces, especially during your period. Try getting hold of some moxa and apply it to your lower abdomen yourself at home.

This will really help to clear the Cold from your uterus and improve the Blood circulation. You could also try doing a castor oil pack in the first half of your cycle.

Brown, watery Blood like soya sauce can be indicative of Yang deficiency, the body’s physiological fire, whilst thick brown Blood can indicate Blood stagnation. Brown Blood at the end of your period is quite normal, however, and nothing to be concerned about.

If the Yang is deficient, you are likely to feel Cold, with Cold hands and feet. In the case of kidney Yang deficiency, there will be lower backache, frequent urination, Nocturia, loss of libido and fatigue. If there is Spleen Yang deficiency, there may also be weak digestion and loose stools. In both cases, the BBT will be low.

The Yang Qi is associated with the Luteal Phase of the cycle and it is related to Progesterone. It is vital that the Yang Qi provides the uterus with the Warmth required for the embryo to implant and grow. If the Yang Qi is weak, there may be implantation failure and early miscarriage.

In some cases, there may be Luteal Phase defect, where the BBT is slow to rise after ovulation, or the rise in temperature is not sufficient (it should be between 0.3 and 0.5°), or there is an early decline and the Luteal Phase is short.

In cases of Yang deficiency, it is particularly important to keep the lower back and abdomen Warm, avoid Cold food and drinks and eat Warm, cooked foods.

Yang-nourishing foods include:

✨Chestnuts ✨Walnuts ✨Lamb ✨Trout ✨Anchovies ✨Raspberries ✨Leeks ✨Spring onions ✨Warming spices such as ginger and cinnamon

Clots in the menstrual Blood indicate Blood stagnation. Large dull clots indicate Blood stagnation due to Cold, whilst large, Fresh clots indicate Blood stagnation due to Heat.

The patients that we see in our clinic often present with mixed patterns of Heat and Cold, deficiency and excess. By taking a detailed medical history and asking you intimate questions about your menstrual Blood and flow, we can piece together the jigsaw and determine the root of your condition.

At Conceive, we use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, as well as nutrition and abdominal fertility massage, to redress your underlying imbalance and restore your reproductive health.

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