Amanda Cox | Acupuncture Melbourne

Period Pain

Period Pain and Acupuncture & Herbs

Painful Periods (or Dysmenorrhoea) effect an estimated 25-50% of women on a regular basis, with some women unable to function normally due to the high level of pain.

A 2010 study showed that both acupuncture and acupressure may help in the treatment of painful periods by providing significantly more pain relief than pharmacological treatments (Cho 2010a; Cho 2010b).

Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of dysmenorrhoea by:

  • regulating neuroendocrine activities and the related receptor expression of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis (Liu 2009; Yang 2008)

  • increasing nitric oxide levels, which relaxes smooth muscle and hence may inhibit uterine contractions (Wang 2009)

  • increasing relaxation and reducing tension (Samuels 2008). Acupuncture can alter the brain's mood chemistry, reducing serotonin levels (Zhou 2008) and increasing endorphins (Han, 2004) and neuropeptide Y levels (Lee 2009), which can help to combat negative affective states

  • stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987; Zijlstra 2003; Cheng 2009);

  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007)

Traditionally herbal medicine has been used in China to relieve painful periods. If you are affected by painful periods, you may like to try this self help remedy when you have pain:

Put 3 slices of ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar into boiling water.
Sip as a tea - the warming nature of these kitchen herbs may help to soothe the uterus and shift the pain.