According to a report published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, up to 95% of menstruating women suffer period pain or dysmenorrhea.
And fortunately, a recent study led by Australian researchers has found an effective form of relief: acupuncture.
This method of alternative medicine involves thin needles being inserted into the body at specific sites to “clear energy blockages” and “encourage the normal flow of qi”, and many swear by it in treating a range of health issues from migraines to infertility.
The study – published in the journal PLOS One – examined 74 women between 18 and 45, of which two groups had high frequency acupuncture sessions and two groups had low frequency. One of each of the groups were assigned manual acupuncture while the others underwent electro acupuncture.
Over half the women receiving manual acupuncture had a least a 50 per cent reduction in period pain, while women who underwent acupuncture more frequently experienced more significant improvements in period pain intensity, as well as overall quality of life. Some felt improvements for up to a year after treatment. Many of the women reported a reduction in the use of painkillers during the process and improvements in other symptoms like headaches and nausea.
"Pragmatic trials of acupuncture have shown a reduction in pain intensity and an improvement in quality of life in women with period pain, however evidence has been limited for how changing the 'dosage' of acupuncture might affect the outcome," says Dr. Armour.
This will be further explored in future, larger trials.
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