Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been used for women’s hormone health for over 2000 years. These days we work on creating a marked change in symptoms by re-balancing hormones via decreasing the body’s heightened stress response & improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which further helps manage pain.
Acupuncture is increasingly being sought after to reduce chronic pelvic pain, and studies back this up, showing Acupuncture’s acceleration of the nervous system response to produce endogenous opioid peptides & achieve peripheral analgesia.
We’re currently seeing a notable increase in research coming out around pelvic pain associated to period pain and/or Endometriosis; an Australian 2017 clinical trial by Armour et al. found ‘Acupuncture treatment reduced menstrual pain intensity and duration after three months of treatment and this was sustained for up to one year after trial entry’. Acupuncture has also been shown to be more effective than hormone drug therapy for endometriosis & in addition to this, a meta-analysis of Acupuncture effects on Endometriosis related pain found that while more studies are needed in this under-represented area, a reduction was found in both pain and in CA-125; a marker associated with Endometriosis. Everyone’s case is different, and treatment frequency varies based on a variety of factors, however a higher frequency of treatments during the first few cycles in women is common.
Pelvic pain can however impact both men and women, and ranges in severity and duration. Most typically, men may experience pelvic pain in relation to prostatitis, while women are more likely to experience pelvic pain due to their menstrual cycles or endometriosis pain.
In managing any type of chronic pelvic pain, we first look at symptom progression, including whether there is an change in pain during stress, sex, menstrual cycle where relevant, or other activities. Acupuncture treatments are safe to start before any other investigations are made, however we may advise you to seek out additional care if required. Acupuncture treatments for pelvic pain look towards a well-rounded approach; combining constitutional factors alongside variables such as sleep, food and stressors, in order to create a personalised Acupuncture prescription. From here we also monitor any changes or reductions in severity and duration of pain & may prescribe herbal formula/advice on supplements to best assist.
Armour M, Dahlen HG, Zhu X, Farquhar C, Smith CA (2017) The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0180177. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180177
Acupuncture versus sham acupuncture for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain.
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