Painful cramping and pelvic pain (dysmenorrhea) are some of the most common complaints of women during menstruation. Low back pain, headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting can also accompany the cramping. Even with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief many women still find that the pain gets in the way of normal daily activity.

According to Wang et al., many clinical studies have shown that acupuncture can not only help reduce pain intensity and improve pain coping but also diminish menstrual pain associated symptoms such as emotional distress and reduced quality of life (2019).

A randomized controlled trial was published last month with encouraging results for those who suffer from dysmenorrhea.1 Sixty-two patients were divided into equal groups to receive either acupuncture treatment or ibuprofen. The group receiving acupuncture was treated daily for five days leading up to the start of their menstrual flow. The group taking ibuprofen was instructed to take 300mg tablets twice a day for the five days leading up to their menstrual flow. The clinical outcomes of those in the acupuncture group showed a statistically significant improvement over that of the ibuprofen group.

In Chinese medicine, dysmenorrhea is caused by an unsmooth flow of qi and blood in the meridian pathways. The use of acupuncture needles and moxibustion can help to restore the smooth flow of qi and blood which results in less pain. If you are looking for relief from painful periods reach out to a local acupuncturist for support.