Severe period pain and PMS


Polly told us this after one month’s treatment, at her second consultation.

“I have been having severe period pain for more than 10 years. I have to take strong pain killers. I sometimes still could not go to work. I cannot believe the pain is now all gone just after one month of treatment. I feel like I am a different person.”

Victoria reported this on her fourth visit.

“My back pain, abdominal cramps, mood swing and headache are almost completely gone. Other than the faint bloating and cramp, I am almost not aware of my period coming now. I feel so much better.”

Jane, from London was ecstatic with her treatment.

“Usually when my period first comes, I feel so much pain that I have to lie down for two days, pretty much. This time, my mother was worried about me as my period coincided with a party we had at home. It had only been a month since I saw you. It is amazing that this time round, I felt no pain at all. I was running, around serving guests and doing all sorts of things. I was completely fine, with no pain.”

Although period pain is usually accepted by women as a normal part of the menstrual cycle, our clinical experience suggests period pain, especially severe pain, is associated with reproductive system issues. While some of these issues can be detected and diagnosed by conventional medicine, many women are not given answers, nor solutions, and this can go on for many ears. 

A study conducted by the University of California Davis’s Department of Public Health Sciences in 2016 suggests period pain and PMS are caused by acute inflammation, as measured by the C-reactive protein (CRP). We offer a C-reactive protein test, in case you want to know if inflammation is the cause of your period pain and/or PMS. Middle-aged women with raised CRP levels had about a 26–41% increased risk of various PMS symptoms. 

Causes of period pain

Period pain is usually felt as painful muscle cramps in the tummy, which can spread to the back and thighs. It sometimes comes in intense spasms, but can also be dull and constant. It may vary each month, where some months are more painful than others. Some women experience pelvic pain even when not menstruating.

Primary cause

Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb tightens. Mild contractions continually pass through the womb, but they’re usually so mild most women don’t feel them. 

This wall contracts more vigorously during the period, to encourage the womb lining to shed. When it contracts, it compresses the blood vessels lining the womb, temporarily cutting off blood supply, and hence, oxygen, to the womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in the womb release chemicals triggering pain. Prostaglandins are also produced, encouraging the womb muscles to contract further, increasing pain. 

It’s not known why some women experience more period pain than others — some may have a build-up of prostaglandins, so they experience stronger contractions.

A diagram of the female reproductive system, drawn with Chinese calligraphy, TCM Healthcare — London fertility clinic

Secondary causes

Period pain can also be caused by an underlying medical condition. The medical term for this is secondary dysmenorrhoea. This kind of period pain tends to affect women between 30 and 45. Such conditions include endometriosis (womb cells grow outside the womb), fibroids (non-cancerous tumours growing in the womb) and pelvic inflammatory disease (bacteria infects the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries, severely inflaming them).

Unexplained period pains

Some women can go through all investigations possible by conventional doctors and still have no clear answers. They are then prescribed painkillers, and fertility issues can be undetected for many years. 


PMS refers to a condition that is associated with both emotional and physical symptoms. While it is linked to the luteal (premenstrual) phase, the causes are not clear, but factors people think are associated include hormonal changes, chemical changes in the brain, low levels of vitamins and minerals, alcohol, caffeine, a family history of depression, or a past medical history of either postpartum depression or a mood disorder.

Nevertheless, a diagnosis can be made when these 3 features are present:

How do we help?

Our approach focusses on using natural herbal remedies and acupuncture to strengthen the reproductive system and general health. We have extensive experience dealing with various causes of period pain and PMS, such as hormonal changes, endometriosis and fibroids.

Patients bring us their test results and medical record. We do a 40 minutes first consultation, in which we do non-invasive and pain-free Chinese medical diagnostic procedures, in order to understand your particular condition and circumstances thoroughly. 

Our specialist prescribes a unique herbal formula, usually consisting of around 20 kinds of herbs, from which you will make drinks and consume twice a day for 18 days in a month.

A month after the first consultation, you will be done with the first round of herbal remedy. We do a second consultation, lasting 30 minutes, doing another diagnostic procedure to see how well you’ve responded to the treatment. Another prescription will be written.

This monthly cycle will repeat 3 or 4 times before you are asked to have another test carried out. Our treatment is different to using painkillers or anti-inflammation drugs, as you should see the pain and PMS as unlikely to come back in subsequent period cycles. We do not prescribe any synthetic hormones. There are no known adverse side effects. 

What are our fees? 

The fees come to about £350–400 a month, all inclusive.

How often do I need to come?

Once a month. Most patients come from 3 to 9 months. Some combine our treatment with further IVF cycles.

What to expect during a consultation

A traditional Chinese medical consultation involves the following steps.


The practitioner may scrutinise your complexion, eyes, tongue, and movements to gain insight into how your organs are functioning. The tongue is a particularly important source of information, and its colour, body, coating, and moisture will all be taken into account.


The practitioner assesses the patient’s energy and general condition by taking into account your body heat, odour, skin sensitivity, and uses other senses to gain an insight into the your condition.

Taking a history

To gain a full picture, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about your complaint and your medical history. They will want to find out whether your problems vary at all according to the time of year and your diet, feelings or emotions.

Pulse diagnosis

This can provide a highly sensitive and detailed picture of your general health. The practitioner will take a number of different ‘pulses’ using three fingers put on the wrist of each hand of the patient. This enables him to gain further information about the quality and functioning of the five major organs. The practitioner will take account of your general health and strength, as well as all of your symptoms, whether they seem to you to be connected or not. This will be the basis for deciding on the best treatment.

Follow up

Monthly consultations are required to gauge your progress. The prescriptions will be devised accordingly — for treating a changing condition, a fixed single herb or formula is unlikely to be effective over time.

Patients want to know how long they need to see us for. We say after 3 months of treatment, we will review progress, retesting hormones and check subjective experience, such as period cycle regularity and sexual interest. If they are at normal levels, we discharge the patients.

If they are better but still need further improvement, patients may need second course of treatment at the same or less intensity.

Typically, women see us for 3 courses of treatment, ie 9 months total.

The point is that the way we treat patients means they should not rely on our treatment for too long. Their improved health and function should stay with them if they look after their health.

A second opinion service

We have just launched a second opinion service where you can send us your hormone test results, sperm test results and other results. Consultations will be done on the phone and it will not be a face-to-face medical consultation.

Since we work with IUI, IVF, ICSI, egg and sperm freezing specialists, we can explore a full range of options with you prior to your committing to a course of actions that may be best for you. There is no charge for this service.

We offer this service in good faith based on our clinical experience and our work with partner agencies such as IVF specialists. We do not accept any liability and we will urge you to triangulate opinions given with your own doctors before you decide what may be best for your circumstance.

Book an appointment!

Call us any time on 0207 096 0283 or fill out our enquiry form.

We would like to see the following test results (less than 2 months old):

If you have not done them yet, we can arrange them for you. Results come out in 1–3 days.

A booking fee of £50 (refunded when you attend) will be processed at booking. 

Are there patients we cannot help?

Yes. No medical system is foolproof and medical practitioners, however good, are not omnipotent. As great as our success rates are, they are not 100%. There are times patients do not respond to our treatments despite our best efforts.

Delayed improvements are possible when patients rest a little. However, even with rest, patients may still not respond well. Fortunately, these cases are in the minority. We minimise the number of these cases by trying to understand our patients’ conditions as much as possible before taking them on. We minimise time and financial commitments from patients by insisting they have hormone or sperm test results prior to treatment, and to get retested after 3 months —following our evidence-based approach.

At TCM Healthcare, we will always have your best interests in mind and we will do our best.