Period pain a common problem associated with menstruation, affecting 50% of women and 90% of adolescent girls. Contrary to general belief, Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that period pain is NOT a natural part of menstruation.
Period pain is generally localized in the lower abdomen and pelvic region, but the discomfort can be extended to lower back, hips and inner thighs. The pain may starts several days or shortly before the menstrual period, peak within 24 hours after the onset of the bleeding and subside as menstruation tapers off.
Western doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or oral contraceptives to relieve period pain. However these drugs may have side effects of nausea, upset stomach, indigestion, peptic ulcer and diarrhea.
According to Chinese Medicine theory, period pain may be due to Yin-Yang imbalance, Qi deficiency, channel blockage and/or coldness in the uterus. For most effective treatment, differential diagnosis is made to address the root causes. The treatment goal is not limited to temporary pain relief but also for long-term wellbeing.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing systems in the world, originated in China some 3,500 years ago. It is a therapy that allows the body to restore balance and heal naturally. Although the mechanisms of acupuncture are not yet fully understood there is evidence to support the fact that acupuncture affects the nervous, humoral, vascular and immune systems (reference 1). It helps to regenerate cells, decrease pain, reduce inflammation and improve circulation. A research on acupuncture for management of primary dysmenorrhea with randomized controlled trial showed that 90% of the acupuncture group reported decreased need for analgesia (reference 2).