Acupuncture Relieves Menstrual Pain, Study Finds

A recent German study published in the February, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology confirms that acupuncture can relieve a woman of her menstrual pain.

In the study, 201 women were randomly assigned to acupuncture or no treatment for menstrual pain, severe cramps and discomfort. The majority of patients receiving acupuncture reported at least a 33 percent improvement in their pain level.

It was observed that after three months of treatment the average pain score was 3.1 in the acupuncture group, compared with 5.4 in the control group, using a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain. The treatment included an average of about 10 sessions.

“Patients with chronic dysmenorrhea [menstrual pain] treated with acupuncture as an adjunct to routine care showed significant improvements in pain intensity and quality of life compared to patients who received routine care alone.” Dr. Claudia Witt of Charite University Medical Center in Berlin said.

This study is part of a large acupuncture research initiative of a group of social health insurance funds that provide coverage to approximately 10% of the German population. Until now, women have been using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, to treat menstrual cramps. These drugs, however, come with side effects as mentioned in the report.

Since 2000, the researchers note, Germany’s health insurers have recommended that acupuncture to relieve pain only be covered by insurance if it is delivered as part of a study to investigate its effectiveness.

“Our study showed that acupuncture was beneficial for women if offered as part of the health insurance system,” the researchers write in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that “acupuncture should be considered as a viable option in the management of these patients.”

Acupuncture is extremely effective at treating menstrual disorders including: painful periods, irregular periods, amenorrhea and PMS.

Source: American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 198, Issue 2, Pages 166.e1-166.e8 (February 2008)

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