15 Jan Acupuncture and Primary Dysmenorrhea
Acupuncture and Primary Dysmenorrhea : The painful menstruation without any underlying pathology is referred to as primary dysmenorrhea. It is characterized by severe cramps radiating towards the lower abdomen or back during the menstrual cycle. Strong uterine muscle contractions compress the nearby blood vessels that result in painful sensation. Primary dysmenorrhea may be associated with nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and dizziness. It is one of the most common health problems in adult women ranging from 25% to 50%. Most of the women experience pain during menstruation while some miss their day-to-day activities due to severe pain.
Women with primary dysmenorrhea usually don’t have any disease and pain is felt due to physiological changes. While secondary dysmenorrhea always presents due to underlying pathology e.g pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, intrauterine devices, and medications. Generally, no diagnostic tests are advised for primary dysmenorrhea; diagnosis is made with proper history and examination. While complete blood count and urine examinations are performed to exclude causes of secondary dysmenorrhea.
This informative article focuses on the control of painful symptoms mainly with acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used in clinics for primary dysmenorrhea. Clinical practice of acupuncture has shown its efficacy; however, the exact efficacy of acupuncture for dysmenorrhea is not documented.
How to Manage it?
The treatment of primary dysmenorrhea is focused on providing pain relief as well as preventing recurrent symptoms. Most of the women don’t take any medical advice for dysmenorrhea and usually take self-over-the-counter painkillers e.g NSAIDs. Some apply heat below the belly region to get a soothing effect. The treatment of dysmenorrhea can be divided into the following:
- Medical management
- Medical therapy is an effective treatment for dysmenorrhea pain that includes NSAIDs; however, some patients don’t get much benefit from them due to various reasons.
- Oral contraceptives may also be used to reduce pain and recurrence. Some patients are not just suitable for these due to various contraindications.
- NSAIDs and hormonal contraceptive pills are the most commonly utilized methods for primary dysmenorrhea if there is no contraindication.
- Diet modification and nonpharmacological options
- Low-fat diet
- A balanced diet containing vitamins and minerals
- It relieves pain by stimulating happy hormones and decreasing the pain threshold.
- It stimulates the healing of uterine muscles that undergo wear and tear.
- It is noninvasive and nonpharmacological.
- Lifestyle modification
- Physical activity
- Smoking cessation
- Bed rest
Role of Acupunture
Not every patient is suitable for medical therapy or contraceptives as above mentioned. Almost 10% to 20% of women do not respond to NSAIDs, alternative therapies in such cases play an important role and acupuncture is the leading one. Acupuncture is a form of therapy that is non-invasive, easily tolerated, and with fewer side effects. It is recommended by the National Institute of Health for pelvic pain management. In addition, acupuncture is effective in lowering pain threshold in other conditions too.
The benefits of acupuncture and its effects on dysmenorrhea happen due to the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals (endorphins) from the body. It lowers the threshold of pain and in return, the patient feels relaxed. Acupuncture benefits range from relieving anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and addiction.
During this procedure, your acupuncturist will insert microneedles in specific areas and leave them for a few minutes. Keep in mind that it may take several sessions of acupuncture therapy to give benefits.
Women who have contraindications to use painkillers and hormonal medications can get pain relief from acupuncture. Acupuncture can also be utilized as adjuvant therapy to minimize dysmenorrhea symptoms with medical therapy.
Try acupuncture forPrimary Dysmenorrhea at Peak Life Acupuncture. We are professionally trained to help you with all your acupuncture needs. Call us at (818) 823-6721 for a free consultation.