Papular, Itchy Skin Eruptions during Period
Papular, itchy skin eruptions may appear suddenly before the period and subside after the period. Generalized skin eruptions such as these are not common but those that are localized around the chin and face are very common indeed.
Overwork, chronic illness, and hemorrhage after childbirth can all cause Blood deficiency. During and after the period, the Blood is in a state of relative deficiency. When Blood is deficient, the relative emptiness within the blood vessels and channels allows Wind to develop, leading to skin eruptions.
Irregular diet and a Yang constitution can also cause internal Wind-Heat to develop. This is especially likely to happen if the patient consumes Wind-producing foods such as shellfish, spinach, or mushrooms. Excessive consumption of hot and spicy foods, including alcohol, may also affect the Liver and cause Liver-Heat, which in turn causes Blood-Heat.
The pathology of this condition is often related to Wind and Dryness invading the Blood portion. This may happen either because the Blood is deficient and Wind-Heat develops on its own, or because diet-induced Wind-Heat invades the Blood portion. Skin eruptions are more likely to develop at period time because at this time the Blood is in a state of relative deficiency and is therefore more susceptible to developing (or being invaded by) Wind-Heat. This is why it is a well-known principle in Chinese medicine that "one must treat Blood to extinguish Wind". Therefore, the herbal treatment consists of harmonizing Blood and pacifying Wind, but not with pungent, warm, or drying, aromatic herbs that may injure Blood or Yin.
Another pathology of skin eruptions during the period is Blood-Heat. As we have seen, Yang is rising rapidly in phase 4 and any etiological factor that heats the Blood will manifest more in phase 4, especially just before the period. Furthermore, Blood-Heat may easily combine with Dampness to form Damp-Heat, especially when the patient consumes an excessive amount of Damp-producing foods (a common dietary irregularity in Western societies). The main pathological factors in this condition are:
- Blood deficiency
- Wind-Heat invading Blood
- Blood-Heat with or without Damp-Heat
In addition to the above pathological conditions, Blood stasis may also accompany any of them. In this case, the formulae indicated below need to be modified with the addition of Blood-invigorating formulas, such as Tao Hong Si Wu Tang. In older women, the pattern of Wind-Heat invading the Blood portion may also occur against a background of Kidney-Yin deficiency.