Acupuncture for Period Pain

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Acupuncture for period pain

Periods, monthlies, on the rag, girl flu, that time of the month, red tide, moon time, a visit from Auntie Flo… So many different names for one thing that most every woman will experience at some point during her lifetime. That’s right, menstruation! I’ve never heard anyone say it’s their favourite time of the month, but it’s certainly easier for some than others. If you sail smoothly from month to month with nary a cramp to be seen, you are one of the lucky few, and I am so very happy for you! But for many women, some level of discomfort is expected. This might range from mild distension and cramps to being bedridden in agony while swallowing painkillers at the maximum daily dose! This article is to introduce another possibility, acupuncture for period pain.

Period pain is also known by the more technical term dysmenorrhoea, and there are two different types. It might have a clear organic cause, such as in conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. In this case the menstrual pain is defined as secondary dysmenorrhoea, being secondary to a structural or functional change. Period pain can also occur without an underlying condition, and this is known as primary dysmenorrhoea. Either way, we can agree that period pain sucks!

Depending on your condition, your period pain will probably be managed differently. A GP or specialist might prescribe hormones, anti-inflammatory medications, a combination of these, or you might even be recommended for surgery. All these treatments can certainly be of benefit for many, although can be associated with side effects. While anti-inflammatories can sometimes be helpful, it’s not ideal to be chewing through several packets of ibuprofen, naproxen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) every time your period arrives! These types of drugs commonly irritate the gastrointestinal system and reduce liver function (MIMS 2019). On top of that, if your pain is associated with endometriosis, NSAIDs might not even work (Becker et al. 2017)! Some women might want to avoid taking hormonal treatments such as the oral contraceptive pill if they are thinking of starting a family for example, or if simply aren’t happy with the side effects. If you would prefer to reduce your exposure to pharmaceutical drugs, why not try acupuncture for period pain?

There is some evidence to suggest acupuncture to be more effective than NSAIDs to relieve period pain relating to primary dysmenorrhoea (Xu et al. 2017). High quality research is available in limited quantities, and more research is still needed for firm conclusions to be made. The Cochrane review into acupuncture on (primary) dysmenorrhoea reported that when comparing acupuncture to NSAIDs for dysmenorrhoea, all studies had pain scores lower in the acupuncture group than in the NSAID group, with adverse events being less common in the acupuncture group (Smith et al. 2016). Another review by Zhang et al. (2018) also reported some high-quality trials with positive results.

So if you, a friend or a loved one suffers from pain relating to the menstrual cycle, give acupuncture a try. When applied by an appropriately trained and registered acupuncturist, it’s a safe natural medicine!

Call Sam or Dane to find out more and to book an appointment.

Visit us online at

Sam (Mondays)- 0415 924 654, Dane (Tuesday to Saturday)- 0414 645 118

Sam is also available Tuesdays and Thursdays at Rouse Hill Wellness Centre- (02) 8824 3334


Becker, C.M., Gattrell, W.T., Gude, K. & Singh, S.S. 2017, ‘Reevaluating response and failure of medical treatment of endometriosis: a systematic review’, Fertility and Sterility, vol. 108, no. 1, pp. 125-36.

MIMS 2019, MIMS online, MIMS Australia, viewed May 10, 2019, <>.

Xu, Y., Zhao, W., Li, T., Bu, H., Zhao, Z., Zhao, Y., & Song, S. 2017, ‘Effects of acupoint-stimulation for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea compared with NSAIDs: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 RCTs’, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 17, no. 1, viewed online May 11, 2019 at <>.

Zhang, F., Sun, M., Han, S., Shen, X., Luo, Y., Zhong, D., Zhou, X., Liang, F. & Jin, R. 2018, ‘Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea: an overview of systematic reviews’, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2018, Article ID 8791538, viewed online May 11, 2019 at <>.

Acupuncture for period pain

Acupuncture for period pain

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

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