Dysmenorrhea, also called period pain or menstrual cramp, is a medical condition that affects more than 95 percent of women who menstruate. Period pain can be classified as primary and secondary. Primary pain is when there is no known health disorder causing the cramps. Secondary pain, on the other hand, is courtesy a diagnosed health condition, such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis. Acupuncture can help relieve period pain (to an extent), at least according to certain medical research studies.
Study Sample and Treatment Approach
The aforementioned study comprised four groups of women keen on trying acupuncture for period pain. The women fall in the 18-45 years age group, and they have all had suspected or confirmed primary dysmenorrhea. Also, two groups comprise women with high frequency period pain, and the other two represent low frequency.
The treatment was based on conventional Chinese medicine practices, and also the Zang Fu methodology, which detects the unique traits of every organ and how they connect with each other.
Manual acupuncture treatments were assigned to one low frequency and one high frequency group. The remaining two groups were put through electroacupuncture, which entails a device transmitting electric impulses to the needles inserted into the skin of the individual.
The high frequency group participants received three acupuncture sessions per week before their menstrual period started. The women who constituted the low frequency group underwent three sessions once every week or 10 days between menstrual periods.
All the participants received 12 acupuncture sessions over a period of three menstrual cycles. Also, they went through a session in their menstrual period’s first 48 hours.
This pilot study found that women who were put through acupuncture a lot more frequently were able to experience significant changes in the intensity of their period pain and related signs, and also in overall life quality.
Contrary to common assumptions, the manual acupuncture treatment was significantly more effective in period pain treatment compared to electroacupuncture. The study found stimulating the needles manually, instead of employing electrical pulses, resulted in improvement in symptoms such as nausea and headaches, and also brought down the need to use pain-relieving medications.
Kindly note the data used for the research isn’t comprehensive or doesn’t account adverse events, but is a start. Larger trials would be required if accurate and detailed guidelines for using acupuncture to treat period pain has to be developed. Pragmatic acupuncture trials have exhibited a decrease in period pain intensity and enhancement in life quality. But the evidence has always been insufficient to determine how much an acupuncture dosage could affect the outcome.