Medical Acupuncture treatment for Dysmenorrhea & Endometriosis

dysmenorrheaWomen bleed for approximately 37 years, 60 days a year which is almost 6 years of a woman’s life. It’s a far more pleasant experience if this time can be spent comfortably.

Dysmenorrhea is experienced not only as painful periods, but also abdominal cramps, sometimes nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches and vertigo as well as mood changes.

Dysmenorrhea due to endometriosis can be very unpleasant and also result in non-cyclic pelvic pain and dyspareunia (painful intercourse).

Conventional treatment usually involves anti-inflammatory medication and or contraceptives, but for 10-20% of women these are not effective. Some cannot or prefer not to take these drugs.

Medical Acupuncture has be shown to:

  • Improve pain and quality of life when combined with usual medical care, significantly more so compared to those who received usual medical care only for dysmenorrhea.1
  • Reduce pain and improve headache, nausea and fatigue symptoms in adolescent girls suffering from endometriosis-related pelvic pain.2
  • Relieve pain effectively in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea and offers advantages in increasing the overall effectiveness of medical treatment including anti-inflammatory medication.3

My clinical approach is to use Medical Acupuncture’s pre-emptive effects, given before the period with the intention of easing pain and other symptoms during. We then recommend the use of high frequency TENS4 treatment applied at home during menstruation.

Dysmenorrhea due to endometriosis may take longer to treat and usually requires a multidisciplinary approach which may include medication, CBT, progressive muscle relaxation, medical acupuncture and TENS.

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Medical Acupuncture relieves the symptoms of PCOS

PCOSPolycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine and metabolic disorder women suffer from. Despite the detrimental impact on women's health, the cause of PCOS is not well understood, but genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors have all been implicated in its development.

A vicious circle triggered by androgen excess occurs. This usually results in sex steroid secretion, ovulatory disturbances, mood disorders and metabolic disturbances such as weight gain.

Women with PCOS are unfortunately at risk of pregnancy and birth complications.1

Research has shown that with medical acupuncture treatment and exercise it may be possible to break this cycle resulting in:

- Reduced total testosterone levels and menstrual frequency in those with irregular periods due to oligo ovulation with effects shown to last longer than four months.2

-  Repeated low frequency electro-acupuncture reduces serum anti-Mullerian hormone levels and ovarian volume.3

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Medical Acupuncture for Hot flushes (Climacteric vasomotor symptoms)

hot flushesHot flushes as well as hot flashes, sweating, racing heart, sleep disturbances, headaches, general aches and pains affect 70% of women for up to 4-5 years and 10-15% for up to 10 years during and after menopause.

Medical acupuncture treatment has been shown to
-Reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.1,2,3,5
-Improve sleep and aches and pains.2
-Improve mood and pain symptoms according to the Menopause Rating Scale.4
-Relieve menopausal discomfort and the severity and frequency of hot flushes, flashes and sweating in those with breast cancer.6,7

If you need help and would like to explore a medical acupuncture based course of treatment, and for further information, please call us on 01-2834303.

1. Vincent A, Barton DL, Mandrekar JN, Cha SS, Zais T, Wahner-Roedler DL, Keppler MA, Kreitzer MJ, Loprinzi C. Acupuncture for hot flashes: a randomized, sham-controlled clinical study. Menopause. 2007 Jan 1; 14(1):45-52.
2. Borud EK, Alraek T, White A, Fonnebo V, Eggen AE, Hammar M, Åstrand LL, Theodorsson E, Grimsgaard S. The acupuncture on hot flushes among menopausal women (ACUFLASH) study, a randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2009 May 1;16(3):484-93.
3. Borud EK, Alraek T, White A, Grimsgaard S. The Acupuncture on Hot Flashes Among Menopausal Women study: observational follow-up results at 6 and 12 months. Menopause. 2010 Mar 1;17(2):262-8.
4. Kim KH, Kang KW, Kim DI, Kim HJ, Yoon HM, Lee JM, Jeong JC, Lee MS, Jung HJ, Choi SM. Effects of acupuncture on hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women-a multicenter randomized clinical trial. Menopause. 2010 Mar 1;17(2):269-80.
5. Ee C, Xue C, Chondros P, Myers SP, French SD, Teede H, Pirotta M. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flashes: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine. 2016 Feb 2;164(3):146-54.
6. Bokmand S, Flyger H. Acupuncture relieves menopausal discomfort in breast cancer patients: a prospective, double blinded, randomized study. The Breast. 2013 Jun 1;22(3):320-3.
7. Liljegren A, Gunnarsson P, Landgren BM, Robéus N, Johansson H, Rotstein S. Reducing vasomotor symptoms with acupuncture in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen: a randomized controlled trial. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2012 Oct 1;135(3):791-8.

Acupuncture better than exercises for arthritic knee pain

knee painMedical acupuncture has shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritic knee pain, with benefits maintained for at least six months.1,2

Leg muscle strengthening have also been shown to be effective and are recommended in the  UK national clinical guidelines as a core treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Medical acupuncture however is not included in these guidelines.

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Treatment of Low Back Pain with Acupuncture - the American Recommendations

Following on from the negativity for Acupuncture as a Treatment for Low Back Pain in the current UK NICE guidelines, our American Colleagues have taken a completely opposite view on this matter and recommend Acupuncture as a non-pharmacological therapy for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain.

According to the published guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine: referring to Non-invasive Treatments for Acute, Sub-Acute, and Chronic Low Back Pain:

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