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Acupuncture and Menstrual Cramps

Many individuals who menstruate have experienced the painful cramps caused by contractions in the uterus. Unfortunately, the intensity and duration of these cramps can be debilitating for some people. If period cramps are extremely painful, it is always advisable to consult a doctor to determine what may be causing such pain, as it can be due to disorders such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. However, in the absence of a disorder, period cramps are often treated with a strong ibuprofen or birth control.

Unfortunately, these treatments do not work for everyone and sometimes have adverse effects that make treatment unpleasant. Birth control can be useful as it helps lessen the pain of future menstrual cycles however it has an extremely long list of undesirable side effects. In comparison, pain killers like ibuprofen may have less often occurring side effects, however this medication does not help lessen the pain experienced in future cycles.

Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that has been suggested to help with the intensity of period cramps and the length of time they are experienced. This treatment originates from Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves the insertion of tiny needles into specific areas of the body. It has also been suggested that acupuncture can help prevent pain in future cycles. Acupuncture can even be used to help manage period pain for those suffering with related disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Acupuncturists target different points of the body with the needles to alleviate different physical pains. One point often used to relieve menstrual pain is Spleen 6 which is located approximately three centimeters from the ankle. According to acupuncturists, Spleen 6 is where the Spleen, Liver, and Kidney channels cross-over and stimulating this area with acupuncture needles results in the release of hormones that help relieve period cramps. However, an acupuncturist will take a detailed account of all symptoms experienced by their patients to ensure they select points in the body that will most help with the pain.

Acupuncturists may also suggest other lifestyle changes to supplement the treatment such as diet or exercise. Furthermore, evidence suggests that more than one acupuncture session is needed to relieve individuals of their period pain.

To summarize, period cramps are experienced by many individuals who menstruate and unfortunately there are limited treatments for extremely painful period cramps. It is always suggested to visit a medical doctor before trying alternative medicines, however acupuncture has been suggested to be a helpful alternative treatment for period cramps. Acupuncture treatment should always be sought out by a licensed acupuncturist who will be able to design a treatment suitable and specific to the needs of their patient. As acupuncture as a treatment has little side effects, it is a good treatment to try if you want to avoid the side effects of medical treatments for intense period pains and can also be used alongside medical treatments.


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