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Acupuncture and Painful Menstruation – A significant percentage of women suffer some level of pain in the course of their menstrual cycles. This is a normal part of the menstrual cycle. However, 20% of women suffer cramps and pains that are so severe that they interrupt their daily routine.

Girls around the world will miss school and women will miss work as they tend to the pain that comes with their menstrual cycles. To compound matters, the idea of talking openly about menstruation is squeamish in many social circles, so a lot of females don’t reveal this problem to their peers or even doctors.

Acupuncture happens to be a powerful treatment that alleviates painful menstruation, with results seen as early as within the first few weeks of treatment. Before we delve more into acupuncture as we treat it in our Boca Raton clinic, let’s take a look at some of the incidence, symptoms and typical western treatments for painful menstruation, otherwise known as dysmenorrhea.

Definition and epidemiology of Painful Menstruation

As indicated earlier, it is okay to experience some level of pain during your periods. Cramping is a normal part of the process and could go the course of your periods. Sometimes, however, the blood flow is too heavy and the pain so much that it causes you to stay away from the office or school. Some women start experiencing pain prior to menstruation and then it goes on all the way to the end of their periods.

For others, the pain starts at the end of their periods. Painful menstruation is caused by factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices and underlying conditions of the reproductive tract. It is more common with women under the age of 20 than it is in other segments of the demographic.

Symptoms of Painful Menstruation

  • An elevated level of irritability in the course of menstruation- it can start around the time the blood flow begins and end in the second or third day. At other time it extends well into the end of the period.
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Vomiting that goes on for days
  • General weakness in various parts of the body
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • A general feeling of nausea
  • Pain that starts in the thighs and goes downwards

Western medical treatments for painful menstruation

While there are some effective Western medical approaches to painful menstruation, most have unwanted side effects.

  • Painkillers – not many people like to take pills for their pain, but at times it helps especially if your pain goes on for more than a day. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDS) are some of the most reliable treatments out there, with the popular choices being naproxen and ibuprofren. NSAIDS work by triggering the decrease in elements called prostaglandins, and this leads to an overall decrease in the level of inflammation and pain.

  • Birth control pills – Whether your birth control pills have low or high levels of estrogen, experts indicate that they present a pretty good chance of helping you deal with the pain that comes with cramping. However, doctors advise that you go for the safest contraceptives because most have side effects such as nausea, low sex drive, breast tenderness and spotting. People who use contraceptives are far more susceptible to blood clotting.

At times, your doctor will provide you with advice on various lifestyle changes that could help you arrest the problem. Said advice could involve diet (food that is rich in magnesium is a pretty good place to start), an accelerated exercise regimen or the cessation/reduction of drinking or smoking.

Acupuncture and Painful Menstruation – Clinical Evidence

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are an ideal source of relief for those experiencing the symptoms of painful cramping. A Cochrane review conducted in January 2011 looked at a number of studies that focused on whether acupuncture was any good for painful menstruation. The studies looked at a total of 673 women and noted how they reacted to both acupuncture and conventional medication.

Other elements of the research project examined how 271 women fared after using acupuncture as opposed to no medication at all. The conclusion was that, from a general perspective, acupressure and acupuncture are good for menstrual cramping and that statistically significant results showed a large percentage of these women reported substantial relief.

In a study of 66 patients, experts looked at the effect of acupuncture, cupping and moxibustion on parents suffering from painful menstruation. All patients experienced relief after between 2 and 6 acupuncture sessions. In the same study, experts discovered that in general, acupuncture is 70% effective while TCM (adding Chinese herbs into the regimen) increased the effectiveness to almost 90%. These figures provide a way better probability of relief than any conventional Western medical approach would.

In our Boca Raton Acupuncture clinic, we have observed over the years the efficacy of combining acupuncture with Chinese herbs and sound nutritional guidance to have overwhelmingly amazing results for women with painful menstruation, or dysmenorrhea. If you are suffering with this condition, you owe it to yourself to give us a call. We are confident that we can help. Consultations are always free.