Acupuncture And TCM For Dysmenorrhea
Dysmenorrhea, also known as painful menstruation, is a common condition that affects many adolescent females and women seeking fertility treatments. This condition is characterized by painful uterine contractions, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and abdominal or back pain.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is characterized by recurrent pain that is cycle-related, while secondary dysmenorrhea is pain caused by other gynecological disorders.
Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by the over-production of inflammation modulators, prostaglandins (PGs), and leukotrienes (LTs), in the endometrium after ovulation. These chemicals cause myometrial contractions and vasoconstriction, leading to local tissue ischemia and cramping.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views dysmenorrhea as a result of emotional factors, cold and damp exposures, blood and/or energy deficiencies, and deficiencies in other organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Acupuncture and moxibustion are effective treatments for dysmenorrhea. They can provide relief from all symptoms and regulate the cycle to resolve dysmenorrhea. In addition, Chinese herbal medicine formulas may be prescribed for acute and long-term solutions.
TCM therapies treat dysmenorrhea by calming the mind and increasing proper blood flow to the uterus to regulate hormones and ease pain. Specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas are used based on the individual’s presentation and pattern of dysmenorrhea.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles at specific points on the body to regulate the flow of energy or Qi, while TCM utilizes herbal formulas and dietary recommendations to promote overall health and balance in the body.
In TCM, dysmenorrhea is seen as an imbalance of Qi and blood flow in the body, often caused by emotional stress, poor diet, and exposure to cold and damp environments. Acupuncture and TCM aim to correct these imbalances by promoting the flow of Qi and blood to the reproductive organs and balancing the hormones responsible for menstruation.
Acupuncture points commonly used for dysmenorrhea include:
- Lower abdomen and lower back: Acupuncture at these points can help to regulate blood flow and relieve pain.
- Spleen 6 (SP 6): This point is located on the inner ankle and is believed to regulate the menstrual cycle and alleviate cramping.
- Stomach 36 (ST 36): This point is located on the lower leg and can help to improve digestion, boost energy, and relieve pain.
- Liver 3 (LV 3): This point is located on the top of the foot and is believed to relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can contribute to dysmenorrhea.
Chinese herbal formulas may include ingredients such as dang gui, bai shao, and chuan xiong, which are believed to nourish the blood and promote circulation to the reproductive organs. One common formula is Dang Gui Shao Yao San, which includes Chinese angelica root (Dang Gui) and peony root (Shao Yao) among other herbs. Another formula, Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, contains peach kernel (Tao Ren), safflower (Hong Hua), and other herbs.
It’s important to note that Chinese herbal medicine should only be prescribed by a qualified TCM practitioner, as the specific formula used may depend on the individual’s unique diagnosis and constitution.
At Huatuo Clinic, our doctors will evaluate each patient’s individual situation and create a customized treatment plan utilizing acupuncture, moxibustion, and/or herbal formulas to address dysmenorrhea and other underlying health concerns. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how acupuncture and TCM can help with dysmenorrhea.