Let’s explore forms of pathology and their origin in women! This includes Emotional Stresses, four of the six evils in TCM, an unhealthy diet, and excessive work.
Emotional stresses cause an unbalance in gynecology since they cause Blood to rebel and Qi to rise alongside it. There is a strong connection between the Uterus and the Heart through the Uterus Vessel. The main influences of emotional stresses include, Qi and Blood stagnation, depletion or rebellion. Young girls in puberty are the most affected by emotional stresses in menstruation which affect the Directing and Penetrating Vessel in the future.
In grief and sadness, Heart-Blood is depleted and causes scanty periods, amenorrhoea or a delayed menstruation. Qi rises through the Uterus channel towards the Lungs and stops Heart-Qi from descending during sadness. Ultimately, the origin of Rebellious Blood and Qi is emotional stresses that prevent menstruation from occurring. Deficiency in Lung-Qi and Spleen-Qi lead to either the inability to hold Blood and cause menorrhagia in the process, or stop Qi from rising and lead to prolapses. Sadness may affect the Liver and cause Liver-Blood deficiency. It may even lead to depression because the Ethereal soul is rooted in Liver-Blood.
Worry and Fear as the Origin
Worry affects the Lungs, the Heart, Liver and Spleen. Qi is stagnant because of worry within the Lungs, the Heart and the Spleen. This stagnation causes delayed or painful periods. Qi stagnation is mainly apparent in Lung-Qi causing breathlessness, paleness, sighing, tightness in the chest and tension/distention in the breasts during pre-menstruation. When worry affects both the Lungs and the Spleen the symptoms include indignation, palpitations, oppression within the chest and amenorrhoea. The Liver is also affected by worry; it causes headaches because Liver-Yang rises. Qi rises, the Liver then over activates and invades the Spleen which affects the Intellect Yi. Fear in the form of chronic anxiety causes both Kidney-Qi and Qi within the Penetrating Vessel to rebel and rise. This same fear will cause the Blood system to aggravate and Blood will rebel upwards causing Blood and Yin deficiency.
Shock and Guilt
Guilt has origin in religion, repressed anger, only receiving reprimands as a child, or self-punishment. The feeling of guilt impacts the Heart, Liver, Lungs and Kidneys and causes stagnation or the sinking of Qi. Long standing guilt causes Kidney-Qi to sink and leads to a prolapse of the Uterus or Bladder, frequent urination, or the inability to control urination. It will manifest on the tongue with a red tip, and on the eyes as unstable and avoiding eye contact with others. The pulse will have a vibrating feel, unless it comes from repressed anger, where the pulse will be Wiry. Shock causes a vibrating-like pulse within the body. The emotion causes depletion of the Heart, the Spleen and the Kidneys causing amenorrhoea or a delay in the cycle.
Anger, resentment, and hatred are the cause of many menstrual problems since they cause Liver-Qi stagnation. This stagnation causes irregular periods, premenstrual tension and dysmenorrhoea. Liver-Blood stasis can form from these symptoms and make painful dysmenorrhoea or abdominal masses. Stagnant Qi may form Fire and Blood-Heat and produce menorrhagia.
The Six Evils In TCM
Normal weather allows for a healthy menstruation. On the other hand, if the body experiences the six evils, Cold, Heat, Winds, Dampness, Dryness, and Fire the body will not function properly.
Women are more likely to have pathology of Blood stagnation or deficiency during their menstruation because the Uterus is empty after Blood loss. Exposure to Cold interrupts the making of Blood that happens 1 to 2 days after menstruation. Therefore, they must avoid both the consumption and exposure of Cold. Tonics should be taken at the end of menstruation. In Cold, periods tend to clot. Wind-Cold appears mainly between the skin and the muscles while Cold shows within the Uterus. Blood Luo during pregnancy is lost and leaves the skin and muscles at risk of experiencing Wind-Cold pathology. Women feel the symptoms such as pain in the joints and/or painful menstruations. Excessive Cold in women causes pathology within the Uterus, that causes painful periods.
In gynecology, Dampness has an origin of the leg channels and reaches the reproductive system. It manifests as leucorrhoea, pain on ovulation or dysmenorrhoea. The combination of Dampness and Heat leads to Damp-Heat and produces symptoms such as abdominal masses, dysmenorrhoea, ovarian cysts, leucorrhoea, infertility or menorrhagia.
Two possible identities of Heat include Wind-Heat and Summer-Heat. Once they enter the interior stage, it leads to Blood-Heat that causes excessive bleeding in the menstrual cycle.
Why Are Diets Important?
Food and water are essential because they regulate Blood, fluids, and periods. Healthy and balanced Diets are needed for this reason as well as exercise so digestion can flow naturally. Otherwise, digestion will stay stagnant, Cold manifests, the Stomach and the Spleen cannot move food and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Hot Vs. Cold Foods
Eating too many Cold foods mainly during puberty, menstruation and after labor causes Cold in the Uterus and may lead to infertility or dysmenorrhoea. Examples of Cold Foods are Vegetables and raw fruits; though they are great sources of nutrients, they should be eaten in moderation. The Spleen and the Stomach difficulty digesting and absorbing an excess in consumption of minerals. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spleen prefers dry and warm foods, as opposed to cold and wet foods.
Eating too many Hot foods especially in older women causes Blood-Heat and menorrhagia. Examples of Hot Foods include meats, spices, curry and alcohol.
The Importance of Sustenance
When diets do not have the nutrition needed, Qi and Blood become deficient which causes amenorrhoea, scanty periods or infertility. This lack of nourishment is imminent in the youth because of vegetarianism without much knowledge on nutrition. A lack of sustenance or excess in dairy foods causes Dampness. Animal products are beneficial to the Extraordinary Vessel, Governing, Directing and Penetrating Vessels. The Governing Vessel is receptive to the herb Lu Rong Cornu Cervi and the beef’s and goat’s brain and marrow as food. The Directing and Penetrating Vessels are receptive of Gui Ban Plastrum Testudinis.
Foods To Avoid
Greasy and Sweet foods are the origin of Dampness in the Lower Burner. This Dampness and Phlegm can lead to Vaginal discharge, dysmenorrhoea or cysts. The fetus is Essence and Corporeal Soul (Po) and uses its mother’s Essence and Corporeal Soul. In a pregnant woman, Essence is the origin of Blood and nourishes the fetus. The Corporeal Soul is the Earth that starts in conception and returns to Earth at death. Therefore, the mother’s diet directly impacts her baby.
Why is Excessive Physical Work Harmful?
The Spleen, Liver, Kidneys, muscles, sinews, bones, Penetrating Vessel and Directing Vessels are affected by excess physical movement. For example, standing for long periods of time causes injury in the bones. Excessive movement causes Qi and Blood stagnation which leads to dysmenorrhoea. The body of a girl is vulnerable during puberty since the Directing and Penetrating Vessels change during this life stage. One of two events may happen in excess physical work; either the vessels mentioned weaken or stagnate. Since the vessels are weak, it is easier for External Cold and Dampness to attack the Lower Burner and cause amenorrhoea or dysmenorrhoea. During puberty, the Kidneys will weaken and stagnate in the Lower Burner which develops into dysmenorrhoea. The Spleen will also weaken and lead to menorrhagia.
Excessive Physical Work In Pregnancy & Childbirth
If a woman does excessive physical work during pregnancy, the Directing and the Penetrating Vessels weaken and the fetus is at risk even to the point of miscarriage. After child birth if there is excess exercise, the weakening of the Kidneys, the Spleen and the Directing Vessel put the Uterus at risk of prolapsing. Therefore, women must rest after childbirth. Sexual activity is an inner type of excessive physical work. Yin and Yang within the body becomes deficient and the Spirit is harmed. Excessive work is treated through tonification.
While we should not exercise excessively, Adequate and a moderate amount of exercise is necessary so that Qi and Blood flow easily so that the fetus moves with ease. Without it, Qi stagnates such as within the lungs if one lies down too much or spleen in the case of sitting too much. Working for long periods of time and not enough sleep, rest and nutrition is common in older women. Overworking in such a manner invigorates problems in menopause and leads to menorrhagia.