Treating Menstrual Pain Using Acupuncture

Menstrual pain is very common as 80% of menstruating women report menstrual cramps, lost working days or school days.

Dysmenorrhea is the technical term for the dull throbbing abdominal pain that many women experience during their periods. It can range from a mild annoyance to the kind of severe pain, nausea and vomiting that can ruin several days each month.

Western medicine distinguishes between primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.

Primary or spasmodic dysmenorrhea includes:

-cramping, low abdominal pain

-radiation to the back and upper thighs

-pain procedes bleeding

-nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue

-elevated prostaglandin

-estrogen and progesterone decline

-increase contractility

-uterus pain

Secondary or congestive dysmenorrhea is the consequences of other conditions:


-pelvic congestion


Period pain or dysmenorrhea is caused by:

  • emotional strain
  • overwork and stress
  • unhealthy diet and lifestyle
  • chronic illness
  • cold
  • dampness

In Chinese medicine, there are several diagnoses but the most common are liver qi stagnation, blood stagnation, or blood deficiency.

Qi stagnation causes a dull pain in the abdomen and women with liver qi stagnation also often experience PMS symptoms 1 to 2 weeks prior menstruation.

Blood stagnation causes sharp stabbing pain and is accompanied by dark menstrual blood with clots.

Blood deficiency causes a dull pain that is worse towards the end of the period or after the period is over. It is accompanied by fatigue and pale constitution.

You should consult a chinese medicine practitionner if your cramps are so severe they disrupt your life as acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine have a good success rate in treatment these different syndromes.

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