Pictured: Marco Chung-Shu Lam in his acupuncture clinic in Boulder, Colorado.
Do your moods start changing 7-14 days before your period? We know it can feel like a rollercoaster. While it’s difficult to avoid these hormonal mood changes entirely, you can help yourself feel better by knowing what’s coming and why.
Here, our consulting acupuncturist and herbalist, Marco Chung-Shu Lam, LAc, MSOM, will explain mood swings from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Marco has practiced Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for over 20 years. He is eager to answer your questions about Chica, TCM, and herbalism.
This month your question is:
Why do my moods change so much before my period? I go from feeling great to being sensitive and sad about my everyday life. I’m even angry at people I spend a lot of time around, like my partner, whose company I usually enjoy. Is this normal? How can I stop it from happening?
Mood changes are a normal part of life, for both men and women. Moods change like the weather, and just like the weather, we can not stop it from happening.
That said, if it is raining, we can bring an umbrella and a rain jacket. When your body realizes it is not pregnant, it takes the resources that would have gone toward the fertilized uterus and resets the system toward menstruation.
In Chinese medicine, the Yang energy toward reproduction switches to the yin energy of going inward, and shedding. If the liver Qi is free flowing, this move toward our interior can bring wisdom and help us tap into the deeper knowing of our bodies and emotions. If the liver Qi is stagnated and blocked, often one may experience frustration, overwhelm and physical discomfort. (Hello, PMS!)
Biochemically, the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone and usually the body temperature lowers. This switch can be a tender one as we go inward. We may find emotional blocks that are unaddressed as the energy moves inward. This can be a healthy part of the process if we learn to accept it and have the internal resources to meet the feelings from a grounded place.
Sometimes the increased energy going inward makes the emotions seem more powerful and it is a good time to get support. Usually, your PMS anger or sadness does show that there something in your life worth paying attention to and attending.
A good acupuncturist can help address the intensity and help you address your emotions from a resourced place. A good therapist can help you understand your anger, and that underneath your anger is something worth caring about.
(Please note this is not medical advice and if you have health concerns beyond healthy regulation of your natural cycles, I highly recommend contacting your local Chinese Medicine practitioner and seek professional support. Beyond necessary caveats of our bureaucratic age, a good acupuncturist is highly recommended and can make a world of difference!!)
Marco Chung-Shu Lam