Italian researchers have evaluated the benefits of acupuncture for period pain which has been resistant to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Fifteen women received acupuncture weekly for eight weeks, and were allowed to continue using painkillers as necessary. Pain was assessed at four points during the trial, including at three and six months afterwards. A substantial reduction in both pain and NSAID use was observed in 87% of the women. Average pain duration and intensity, were still more than 50% lower six months after treatment. Seven patients had no further symptoms at all, at six month follow-up.
(Acupuncture Treatment of Dysmenorrhea Resistant to Conventional Medical Treatment. Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, June 2008.)
A German study has looked at the clinical and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for painful periods. Of a group of 649 women, 201 agreed to be randomised to receive either acupuncture or no acupuncture, in addition to any usual care they had. Those women who declined randomisation, were allocated to the acupuncture group. Fifteen acupuncture treatments were given over a three month period. At the end of the trial, average pain intensity was 3.1 in the acupuncture group, versus 5.4 in the non-acupuncture group. The authors concluded that acupuncture was associated with improvements in pain and quality of life, and was also cost effective.
(Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, February 2008.)
A Swedish review article has evaluated the use of acupuncture for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), specifically its prevention and reduction. Assessing clinical data from studies in women with PCOS, and rat models of PCOS, the authors suggest acupuncture may benefit PCOS patients by affecting the neuroendocrine system, and exerting long-lasting beneficial effects on the metabolic and endocrine (hormone) systems and on ovulation.
(Acupuncture in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Current Experimental and Clinical Evidence. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 29 November 2007.)
In a trial to see whether acupuncture helps period pain, 201 patients were randomly allocated to receive either 15 acupuncture sessions over three months, or no acupuncture. Evaluation after three months showed the acupuncture patients to have less pain, and an improved quality of life compared to the control group.
(Focus on Alternative & Complementary Therapies 2006;11)