Women's Hormonal Health
Acupuncture has been used for to improve women’s hormonal health for over 2000 years.
Acupuncture is thought to rebalance hormones is by decreasing your body’s stress response to allow the body and its hormones to rebalance and keep working as it should.
Acupuncture can also improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus allowing it to work more efficiently and is regularly used for pain relief.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR PERIOD PAIN -
In the scientific world, period pain is called Primary Dysmenorrhea and it is when it occurs for no known reason. Endometriosis and Adenomyosis are considered separate diagnosis with different underlying mechanisms and haven't been included in this research. You can read more on the causes of period pain and ways to reduce & prevent it here.
Though a small sized trial, an Australian 2017 study 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".
In 2015, Abaraogu et al concluded “Acupressure showed evidence of pain relief while acupuncture improved both the mental and the physical components of quality of life” but acknowledged that more high quality of research was needed.
In 2014, Xu et al acknowledged more high quality studies need to be done but from the current data found “Moxibustion and acupoint therapy can relieve pain effectively for individuals with PD, and these treatments have advantages in overall efficiency”
Of course, allowing for different health systems across the globe, Kim et al found that “this review demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture” including for Dysmenorrhea in 2012.
However, due to the large volume of low-quality studies, the 2016 Cochrane review found there was “insufficient evidence” to make a judgement.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS -
While it acknowledges that additional high quality studies are needed, this 2017 Meta-analysis of Acupuncture effects on Endometriosis related pain found a reduction in pain AND a reduction in CA-125 (marker that’s associated with Endometriosis).
ACUPUNCTURE FOR MENOPAUSAL HOT FLUSHES -
Though more high quality studies are needed, this 2018 Meta-analysis found Acupuncture to reduce vasomotor sensations (hot flushes) and improve quality of life.
SOME USEFUL JARGON TO KNOW -
The most conclusive form of research available is a Systematic Review or Meta-analysis. This reviews many Randomized Control Trials (RCT’s – subjects don't know which treatment they are getting) and takes into consideration how good the methodology of the studies are. A systematic review may say there isn't much proof if some studies aren't well conducted, don't contain a big enough sample size or if some study results contradict other study results - so finding systematic reviews 'proving' a finding can be challenging in all fields of science and there may well be positive evidence but just not enough.
A NOTE ON CHINESE MEDICINE RESEARCH -
Chinese Medicine (usually Acupuncture and herbs) has been used for thousands of years to assist women with their health, from puberty to pregnancy to menopause and beyond. It is an amazing system of medicine that has spread across the globe and helped millions of people. While Chinese Medicine isn't the answer for all people for all conditions, a growing body of research is confirming the efficacy of Chinese Medicine.
Obtaining large volumes of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine high-quality data can be tricky for three reasons:
Chinese Medicine individualises its treatments according to the patients presenting symptoms. The beauty of it is that you’re receiving personalised care. This doesnt fit very well into a scientific trial where everything needs to be standardised in order to ‘prove’ that something works.
Its hard to rule out the placebo effect. Excellent studies have a group comparing the treatment to a ‘fake treatment’ to see which is better. Its hard to do ‘fake Acupuncture’. Given theres more than 300 Acupuncture points on the body, even when researchers choose an Acupuncture point away from the other Acupuncture points, it may be very close to another point thats having a positive effect on the body, which confuses results.
While its very important to prove that Acupuncture works better than doing nothing, better than the standard of care treatments AND better than placebo, its important to know that placebo effects play a role in any kind of medicine/trial and is often hard to rule out. Eg feeling better after seeing a doctor or taking a tablet.
While there is some excellent research coming out across the globe from universities and other institutions, big research projects cost lots of money and that kind of funding isnt always easily accessible for Chinese Medicine research.
Every woman is different.
If you would like to find out how we would address your unique situation, please contact us directly.