Menstrual Issues

Menstrual Cramps & PMS Relief with Acupuncture!

PMS-Stress-Relief-201x300Looking for relief from menstrual cramps or PMS? Acupuncture is THE natural treatment alternative for relief from menstrual cramps and PMS. Keep reading to find out how acupuncture works for regulating the menstrual cycle to stop painful menstrual cramps and symptoms of PMS. Be sure to scroll down to the patient testimonials at the bottom – they’re next to the photos of the happy women I have helped find relief from cramps and PMS. Better yet, come in for an appointment and find out why my female patients are all smiles!

Menstrual Cramps & PMS Are Not Normal!

Many women assume that their unpleasant menstrual symptoms are normal because menstrual cramps and PMS are so common. But acupuncturists think otherwise!

Just because your symptoms are common doesn’t mean they are normal. And just because ‘everyone has them’ doesn’t mean YOU have to suffer through them each month.

Menstrual difficulties such as painful cramping, irregular periods, and PMS are considered an imbalance of energy caused by stagnation in the acupuncture meridians. Acupuncture moves stagnant energy and restores balance to alleviate symptoms associated with your period. Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been treating women’s menstruation issues for centuries using natural methods with no side effects.

Acupuncture regulates the menstrual cycle so that symptoms become dramatically reduced and in most cases eliminated entirely. By regulating hormones associated with the menstrual cycle – acupuncture is an effective alternative for pain due to cramps, irregular periods, and PMS. Most of my patients with menstrual symptoms experience fast relief within their first 1 or 2 cycles. Hormonal regulation is usually accomplished within 3 cycles.

What are Menstrual Cramps?

Menstrual cramps – also known as dysmenorrhea – may feel like dull throbbing pain that comes in waves and is usually felt in the lower abdomen. Pain from menstrual cramps may be located in other areas as well such as lower back or even your thighs.   Many women with cramps will pass clots. For most women with menstrual cramps, the pain arrives just before their periods or during the first one or two days. For some women, the discomfort is merely annoying. For others, it can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.

What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins are involved in pain and inflammation. During menstrual periods, your uterus contracts to help expel its lining.  Inflammation producing prostaglandins are known to trigger uterine contractions. It is believed that women with higher levels of prostaglandins may experience more severe menstrual cramps. Many experts believe that the severe contractions triggered by prostaglandins constrict the blood vessels feeding the uterus, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients. Just like your skeletal muscles, if the uterine muscles don’t get enough oxygen or nutrients, painful cramping will occur.

How Does Acupuncture Work to Stop Cramps?

Acupuncturists view the constricted uterine muscles involved in menstrual cramps as a blockage within the acupuncture meridians that travel through the uterus. When pain exists, we know that blockage of a meridian must exist as well. Acupuncture needles unblock the meridian to establish free flowing energy called ‘qi’.  Similarly, if the menstrual cycle is irregular or there are other functional issues, the associated acupuncture meridians are blocked. Acupuncture regulates all functions that occur in your body by ensuring that the acupuncture meridians are freely flowing. This includes functions such as menstruation and hormonal cycles.

Fibroids and Endometriosis

Menstrual cramps may be caused by identifiable problems, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Acupuncture can definitely help with the pain from fibroids and endometriosis. However, depending on the severity of your condition, medical intervention may be necessary. Acupuncture can be an adjunct to successful treatment of endometriosis and fibroids. For menstrual cramps with no underlying condition, acupuncture can be a big relief. Just ask my patients who have gotten rid of their menstrual cramps for good!

Ovulation Pain – Mittelschmerz

Some women experience pain during ovulation. Ovulation pain occurs on one side of the lower abdomen at or around the time that the ovary releases an egg each month. Pain during ovulation is called ‘Mittelschmerz’. It may or may not be severe and is most often described as a sharp cramping pain that lasts from a few hours to 1 or 2 days. But don’t worry, acupuncture successfully treats pain from Mittelschmerz too!

What is PMS?

Premenstrual symptoms – PMS – includes an array of unpleasant symptoms including irritability, breast tenderness, mood swings, crying, fatigue, and food cravings such as chocolate or salty foods. It is estimated that 75% of menstruating women have one or more symptoms of PMS each month. PMS symptoms tend to peak during your late 20s and early 30s.  Although your symptoms may recur in a predictable pattern, for some, the physical and emotional changes associated with PMS may vary from month to month.

PMDD

A small percentage of women with premenstrual syndrome have more severe, sometimes disabling symptoms every month. This form of PMS is called “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” or PMDD. PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome that includes: severe depression, feelings of hopelessness, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, and difficulty concentrating. PMDD requires the help of a medical doctor. Acupuncture is a great adjunct to traditional medical care for PMDD.

Causes of PMS and PMDD

The causes of PMS and PMDD are unknown, but several factors may contribute to the condition:

Cyclic changes in hormones:

Signs and symptoms of PMS and PMDD change with hormonal fluctuations and usually disappear with pregnancy and menopause. Acupuncture helps regulate hormones throughout the entire life cycle of a woman from onset of menstruation through menopause.

Chemical changes in the brain:

Fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that is thought to play a crucial role in mood states, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems. Acupuncture helps regulate brain chemistry.

PMS & Depression:

Some women with severe PMS and PMDD have undiagnosed depression, though depression alone does not cause all of the symptoms. Acupuncture works very well for depression as a stand alone treatment or as an adjunct to pharmaceuticals and professional therapy.

PMS & Stress:

Stress can aggravate many of your PMS or PMDD symptoms. Acupuncture is fabulous for stress reduction.

Poor eating habits:

Some PMS and PMDD symptoms have been linked to low levels of vitamins and minerals. Other possible contributors include eating an excess of salty foods – which may lead to fluid retention as well as alcohol consumption and/or caffeine – which have been linked to nutritional imbalances and can lead to mood fluctuations. I offer nutritional counseling to all my acupuncture patients to assist them in finding a balanced diet that helps relieve their symptoms of PMS and other menstrual issues.

PMS Treatment is Available!

I’ve helped hundreds of women find relief from painful menstruation and PMS. Don’t suffer through one more menstrual cycle with PMS or painful menstrual cramps. Come in for a consultation and treatment and see if acupuncture is right for you.

Cramps & Menstrual Pain Relief Research Studies

Acupuncture for Menstrual Cramps

A recent German study published in the February, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology confirms that acupuncture can relieve a woman of her menstrual pain. Based on their findings, the researchers conclude that “acupuncture should be considered as a viable option in the management of these patients.”

Acupuncture Stops Pain from Menstrual Cramps

A recent study of patients with primary dysmenorrhea measured significant pain relief by needling acupuncture point SP6. The studies quantified these results against a non-acupuncture control group and a GB39 acupuncture point control group. Blood samples were taken of participants during the study.

Patient Reviews for Cramps & Menstrual Pain

“All my life I have had extremely painful menstrual cycles. I am 42 and because of the pain, I had been on various birth control pills for 24 years. I was fearful of stopping “the pill” which is why I was on it for so long. However, Margaret has been able to stop the painful cycles! I occasionally still have minimal cramping, however not enough to take any over-the-counter medication! She is also helping to regulate my cycles. My body has not needed to regulate itself for over half its life so it did not really know where to begin. With Margaret’s help, it is definitely beginning to find itself! This treatment is ongoing, but the changes so far have been amazing! Again, thank you Margaret!”

Christa C. – Downingtown, PAMargaret has been able to stop the painful cycles

“Prior to my acupuncture treatment I had hormonal issues and no menstrual cycle. I had previously tried medication and progesterone. I had success previously for treatment of plantar fasciitis and thought acupuncture could help this too. The office staff is always helpful and friendly, and Margaret is always timely and caring about each treatment I receive. After about 3-4 treatments my cycle started back up. I have had a regular menstrual period for 3 months now. I follow up with a treatment every 2 weeks! Acupuncture is amazing! Margaret is amazing too!”

Cindy Z. – Downingtown, PAI have had a regular menstrual period for 3 months now