Chronic menstrual problems can take many forms and present a more complicated picture. Although we define a normal cycle as being 28 days in length, many women do not fit this pattern. Cycles as short as 21 or as long as 35 days may be normal for some women, as long as they are regular and consistent. Problems arise if a cycle shifts drastically from month to month or if periods are missed altogether. The same can be said for the duration of a cycle. Normal is seen as 4-5 days, yet for some women, it can last as long as six or seven days or be as short as three. What is important is consistency. Longer cycles with a continuously heavy, perhaps clotty flow, requiring frequent change of tampon or sanitary napkins, might be an indication of a more serious, underlying problem, while pale and scanty flow with spotting between periods would also warrant a closer look.

Irregular periods and abnormal bleeding can have a multitude of causes and should definitely be evaluated by a Western physician, so that serious diseases can be ruled out. However, Chinese medicine has been able to bring relief in many complicated situations as well. Endometriosis, fibroid tumors, and ovarian cysts, for example, respond well to an acupuncture and herbal protocol. Heavy, scant or continuous flow can also be normalized using acupuncture. In fact, Chinese medicine, which is safe and effective, would be a good first-course to take, before more serious medical intervention, such as drugs, hormone therapy, or surgery is employed.