TCM can relieve painful periods

Menstrual Pain (Dysmenorrhea)

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.”

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

Acupuncture.  Cost-effective for Dysmenorrhea.

In another German study, the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrheal was studied.  In a randomized controlled trial plus non-randomized cohort, patients with dysmenorrheal were randomized to 15 sessions of acupuncture over three months or to a control group (no acupuncture).  All subjects were allowed to receive usual medical care.  Of 649 women, 201 were randomized.  Those who declined randomization received acupuncture treatment.  After three months, the average pain intensity was lower with acupuncture than without (3.1 vs. 5.4).  the authors concluded that additional acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrheal was associated with improvements in pain and quality of life as compared to usual care alone and was cost-effective within usual thresholds.

Source: Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea:  a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care.  Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Feb:198(2):166.e1-8.