Updated: May 23
“Red Dragon” and Menstrual Cycle.
In Chinese medicine menstruation called “red dragon”, I really like this comparison.
Regular menstruation without severe PMS, fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, pain before, during and after blood flow, absence of emotional outbursts, bloating, cravings and you name it. Is it possible????
Yes, and not only possible, this is how it should be.
If you ask me if I know anyone who doesn’t have any symptoms. I will say: “yes, I know. It is me”.
Was it always like that? No, I did some work and investments in my own health and modified my diet and lifestyle. It was totally worth it.
Now when I’m 38 years old and I gave birth to a healthy happy baby boy, I feel even healthier than I was in my 20s.
During my 20s I experienced lightheadedness, irregular short menses, sleepiness, heaviness and fatigue after eating, constipation and for this reason I became a vegetarian because my digestion was so weak to breakdown animal source proteins. I thought to myself that it was a natural call of my body to refuse meat and fatty fish. I ate mostly salads and uncooked food, fruits, cheese, chocolate, occasionally eggs and fish and of course coffee. I had period in my life when I was drinking energy drinks right before workouts to get a boost of energy but after two weeks I stopped doing it because I started experiencing heart palpitations and anxiety. My menstrual blood flow was pale and scanty that lasted for 3 days without cramps (which was good) and I even though that I’m lucky to have such a short period. I had low energy during menses with lack of courage and self-confidence.
I was a fitness instructor for 8 years who taught aerobics 6 hours a day with one day off on Sunday. During that time I believed that I’m the healthiest person in the world despite all of the symptoms I already had.
I’m glad I went to the college and studied traditional Chinese medicine. During 4 years I changed my life and was kind of “reborn”. I was able to enhance my health and bring it to the level where I don’t have any complaints.
And yes, I completed postpartum program and I’m so happy with the outcomes. Feels like I never was pregnant and delivered the baby. Full of energy, no body aches or pain and enjoying motherhood. I want to be honest, even during pregnancy I felt good except only first trimester when I was falling asleep right after 5pm.
Enough about myself for now.
Let’s come back to our question, what is the healthy period?
Look at the period as a cycle of the Moon (lunar cycle) or Yin and Yang energy circulation. Where one energy is changing into another, Yin into Yang and reaches the balance.
Under normal circumstances healthy menses follow this sequence. And remember, there is always grain of Yang in Yin and grain of Yin in Yang energy (imagine symbol of Tai Chi AKA Yin and Yang ☯️)
I would like to make connections between Western and Eastern understanding of menstrual cycle.
Phase 1- Follicular phase or proliferative. Hypothermal (low temperature on BBT chart if you have one). Kidney Yin and Blood energies govern this phase.
After menses, uterine lining, the hormones and ovaries prepare to surge in their cyclic development. It’s time of renewal, reproductive system begins a new cycle.
The Yin hormone estrogen sends signal to the uterus to make “ a nice welcomed environment and be ready to encourage growth within”.
Phase 2- Ovulation. Process of transformation. Liver Qi and Blood movement control ovulation.
Towards the end of the follicular phase, estrogen peaks and Yin energy reaches its apogee. Liver Qi is triggered to begin the transformation of Yin energy (estrogen) into Yang energy (progesterone). This process encourages gonadotropin- releasing hormone (GnRH) from the brain to trigger the pituitary gland to emit luteinizing (LH) and follicular stimulating (FSH) hormones. A whole series of other hormones are also produced at this time.
During ovulation, Yin (from growth during the follicular phase) must be abundant enough to convert into Yang. Qi and Blood must flow freely to allow this change to occur.
Phase 3- Luteal phase. Yang phase. Hyperthermal. Kidney Yang and Spleen Qi energies manage the luteal phase.
As the egg travels through Fallopian tube, the follicle that released the egg becomes a corpus luteum or “yellow body”. The corpus luteum releases progesterone. It is like fuel for the body’s incubator. Progesterone is warming and therefore Yang in nature. Primary purpose to prepare the endometrium of the uterus for safe implementation of fertilized egg (windowing implantation about 5-7 days after ovulation).
Phase 4- Premenstrual phase last from 2-7 days and overlaps the luteal phase. Liver Qi helps the premenstrual transformation.
Without fertilization and implantation body moves into the premenstrual phase. Here the Yang transforms back into Yin, and Liver Qi directs the conversion. As the Liver Qi converts Yang energy into Yin, the corpus luteum ceases it’s progesterone production.
Phase 5- The Blood phase. Blood is allowed to flow. Menstruation is a time to rest for energies.
This phase is considered the resting, shedding stage and it begins on the first day of bleeding. Enzymes liquefy the uterine lining (endometrium) allowing it to shed. The menstrual period, especially for the first three days is the hormonal zero point. After three days the hormonal cycle begins again.
In the same way the season of winter or the period between midnight and dawn is a time of rest, menstruation is the time of rest for reproductive system.
This is how it should be!
Unfortunately, not every woman has healthy balanced menstrual cycle.
Other symptoms of imbalance could manifest as skin and hair issues such as acne and hair loss, mood swings, anxiety, depression, agitation, digestive compliance, difficulty to conceive, weight fluctuations, undesirable weight gain or loss and many others.
If you need help, I am here for you!
My purpose is to help regulate your menstrual cycle and bring balance to other body’s systems.
Let’s connect and begin a new healthy and happy chapter of your life!