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Wenhui Qiao, OMD, LAc
Treat Period Pain With Acupuncture
Holycross Acupuncture and Herbs

Treat Period Pain With Acupuncture

Many women and young girls are distressed by painful periods (dysmenorrhoea). Severe pain can lead to women taking time off work or from school or may disrupt womens day-to-day activities. Half of all women who experience very painful periods use some form of medication for up to several days a month. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the combined oral contraceptive pill are most frequently used to treat painful periods.
Primary Dysmenorrhoea
This term is used to describe normal period pain experienced by many women around the time of their period. There is no underlying medical problem. It most commonly affects teenagers and young women.
Secondary Dysmenorrhoea
This term is used to describe pain around the time of the period thats caused by an underlying problem. It is less common than primary dysmenorrhoea, and tends to affect women later in their reproductive lives.
Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by the following
Strong uterine contractions stimulated by increased production of the hormone prostaglandin by the lining of the uterus (endometrium)
Anxiety and stress
Blood and tissue being discharged through a narrow cervix
Displaced uterus
Lack of exercise
Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by the following
Endometriosis (inflammation of the lining of the uterus)
Blood and tissue being discharged through a narrow cervix
Uterine fibroid or ovarian cyst
Infections of the uterus
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Intrauterine device (IUD)
Symptoms and degree of pain vary, but may include the following.
Abdominal cramping or dull ache that moves to lower back and legs
Heavy menstrual flow
Constipation or diarrhea
Frequent urination
Vomiting (not common)
The National Institutes of Health recommend acupuncture as either a supplemental or alternative treatment for dysmennorhea. This recommendation is supported by a well-designed trial involving 43 women with dysmenorrhea. Women treated with acupuncture showed a dramatic reduction in both pain and the need for pain medication.
Acupuncture has become a popular treatment for dysmenorrhea. Acupuncturists treat people with dysmenorrhea based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. In the case of dysmenorrhea, a qi deficiency is usually detected in the liver and spleen meridians. Moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort is burned over specific acupuncture points) is often added to enhance needling treatment, and qualified practitioners may also recommend herbal or dietary treatments.

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