Menstrual Disorders

WHO (2003) reported that primary dysmenorrhoea, a painful condition, is one of the major indications for acupuncture in the field of gynaecological disorders. The beneficial effect of acupuncture on this condition has been repeatedly reported in controlled trials (153, 154). Acupuncture relieves pain and also regulates the motility of the uterus to facilitate menstrual discharge and further alleviate the pain. Premenstrual syndrome is characterized by cyclical mood changes and is a common condition in women of fertile age. Acupuncture seems to be helpful to patients with this syndrome. In a controlled study, the majority of the patients receiving acupuncture gained relief from symptoms and no recurrence in the six-month follow-up.   The following is a summary from a published literature review research article by: Seung-Hun Cho, Eui-Whan Hwang (2009): Acupressure for primary dysmenorrhoea: A systematic review, Hospital of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of acupressure for the symptomatic treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea from randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

 Study design: Electronic databases including English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese databases were systematically searched for RCTs investigating acupressure for primary dysmenorrhoea up to July 2008 with no language restrictions. The methodological qualities of eligible studies were assessed using the criteria described in the Assessing risk of bias of the Cochrane Handbook edited by Higgins and Altman.

 Results: Four RCTs comprising a total of 458 participants were systematically reviewed. Only one of the included trials described adequate methods of randomisation. All trials did not have clear descriptions of their method of allocation concealment. Two studies reported significant improvements in the severity of pain for acupressure compared with sham acupressure on non-acupoints. Acupressure reduced the pain and anxiety typical of dysmenorrhoea in a Taiwan study. The U.S. study using an acupressure device reported that the reduction of menstrual pain was significantly better in worst menstrual pain, menstrual pain symptom intensity and the consumption of pain medication, compared with conventional treatment. One study investigated adverse events and reported that there was no adverse event in acupressure treatment.

 Conclusions: The available data from RCTs suggest that acupressure alleviates menstrual pain. These results were limited by the small number of trials. Well-designed RCTs with rigorous methods of randomisation, and adequately concealed allocation, are needed.