Acupuncture can be used to relieve menstrual cramps and pain. Other menstrual disorders can also be treated with acupuncture, which has fewer side effects than other medical treatments. In general, women of reproductive age should experience regular menstruation (period) if they are not on contraceptives or under special medical procedures. If the menstruation circle is less than 21 days or more than 35 days, the period is a painful experience, or the discharge period lasts for more than 5 days, a menstrual disorder may be the cause and medical advice should be sought.
Menstrual disorders cover a huge range of conditions, and some of the common types of the disorders are listed here:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful period, period cramps)
- Menorrhagia (Heavy Bleeding, bleeding last more than 5 days)
- Amenorrhea (Absence of Menstruation for more than 3 months)
- Premenstrual Tension (PMT)
- Irregular menstruations
- Oligomenorrhea (Light or Infrequent Menstruation)
- Non fixed period pattern m(some time shorter while some times longer period circle)
- Shorter period circle (menstruation circle is less than 21 days)
All of the menstrual disorders could be signs of very abnormal changes of the reproductive system and/or the hormonal system, and they cause troubles in daily life and might lead to difficulty in fertility.
The diagnosis usually involves blood tests for hormone levels, scanning of structural changes/ damages in related organs, and recording and analysis the body temperature changes. Common diseases behind the menstrual disorders could be anything between stress, bleeding disorders (inability to stop bleeding) to cancers. Female specific diseases commonly recorded in menstrual disorders include endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Uterine Fibroids, ect.
When structural problems are detected, surgical operation provide the best chance of cure, while in other conditions, drugs are usually used for correct the imbalance of hormone, and other problems.
The treatment results are very poor, and the external supply of hormone is not ideal for chronic conditions. Therefore many patients choose Chinese medicine as an alternative.
Acupuncture is recommended by many medical authorities for the pain relieve in many conditions. Chinese herbal medicine is proved to be one of the most popular ways of managing other conditions. Wherever fertility is affected and planned pregnancy is scheduled, Chinese herbal medicine as a natural remedy is obviously a preferred choice as it will not cause concerns over the healthy of the expected baby.
Clinical evidence is abundant to suggest the use of Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine in managing those conditions. In the report of Reid & Stuart, the herbal medicine was reviewed; and in the review carried out by Smith et al (2011) the acupuncture effectiveness was analysed. Both confirmed the positive outcomes which mean Chinese medicine is an effective way of treating those conditions. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness was analysed by Witt et al (2008), and Chinese medicine is no more expensive than conventional medicine.
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Reid K & Stuart K (2011) Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: A systematic review Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2011) 19, 319—331
Smith CA, Zhu X, He L, Song J.(2011) Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhea. Cochrane Database Systematic Review. 2011 Jan 19;(1):CD007854.
Witt CM, Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Roll S, Jena S, Willich SN. (2008) Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care. American Journal of Obstetric and Gynaecology. 2008 Feb;198(2):166.e1-8.