Effective Solutions for Menstrual Cramps
Can Acupuncture really help primary menstrual cramps?
YES! According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials – to be an effective treatment for menstrual cramps/dysmenorrhoea.
Dysmenorrhea is defined as a difficult or painful period, and it currently affects over half of all women. Dysmenorrhea is differentiated from severe PMS by the fact that it causes a disruption in regular activities and lifestyle for one to two days per month. Primary dysmenorrhea (also known as spasmodic dysmenorrhea) is defined as menstrual pain that is not related to a pelvic disease.
Acupuncture is used to try and treat dysmenorrhea and studies have shown that it “reduced the subjective perception of dysmenorrhea” (Jun 2004).
Kyung Hee University Medical Center has published a new research about this. Compared with pharmacological treatment or herbal medicine, acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction in pain. Three studies reported reduced pain within groups from baseline.
Normal menstrual cycles begin near the end of puberty and end with menopause. They allow women to bear children during this time. The menstrual cycle is regulated by several sex hormones, which cause bleeding and ovulation to occur. This is a highly individual process and some women normally have heavier, longer periods than others. Irregular or delayed bleeding will either be combined with an erratic ovulation or none at all. This can interfere with fertility.
If a period delays for weeks or noticeable changes in the menstrual cycle do not stabilize, these indicate signs of an abnormal process in the reproductive organs or in the production of hormones and should be checked. Very mild bleeding only lasting one or two days is considered to be a weak period and is often a sign that the hormones are low and the reproductive organs sluggish. The blood is usually a dark brown colour as opposed to a healthy, bright red. Spotting, or light bleeding between should be evaluated to rule out more problems. Periods that become heavier or cease altogether should also be investigated.
It is normal for the menstrual cycle to be influenced by emotional, physical or mental hardships. Diet can also affect the menstrual cycle and malnutrition can cause bleeding to stop until the body regains strength. If menstrual irregularities do not stabilize or if changes are serious, the possibilities of infections and abnormal processes should be ruled out. Sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and ovarian cysts cause all kinds of changes in menstruation. Infections can be particularly troublesome. The earlier infections are spotted, the easier the treatment and the less likely they will lead to infertility.
Various tumours in the reproductive tract are the cause of problems, including benign fibroids and polyps. If the first period delays or the period ceases in the teenage years or early twenties, severe malnutrition due to anorexia should be considered.
In all women who are sexually active, pregnancy is the most obvious cause for a delayed period. *Menopause causes periods to become irregular before they stop altogether. Although menopause can occur anytime after age forty, it is more common in women near fifty. Also, if a hysterectomy has been performed, the period will cease whether the ovaries are left intact or not. In rare cases, the period ceases because of an ovarian failure due to an autoimmune disease. Oral contraceptives and the IUD (intra-uterine contraceptive device) usually cause some in the period such as irregular bleeding.
When Pain is worse prior to or during menstruation, this may indicate an excess condition in the field of acupuncture. The principle treatment is to resolve the following imbalances.
- Qi Stagnation
- Blood Stagnation
- Accumulation of Cold
When the pain is dull this may indicate a deficient condition
- Blood Deficiency
- LV/KD Deficiency
Qi Stagnation is an Excess Condition
- Distended abdomen, bloating, breast tenderness, gas, congested chest and bad tempered. Tongue may be purplish with a thin white coating. The pulse is wiry.
Acupuncture is both a viable and popular alternative to effectively help you with your menstrual cramps – without the risk of dangerous and unwanted side effects.
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