Acupuncture may be helpful in alleviating menstrual cramps, which affect up
to half of all young women, an extensive review of past studies has found.
In a review of 27 studies that involved nearly 3,000 women, researchers from
the Oriental Hospital at Kyung Hee University Medical Centre in South Korea
found that acupuncture may be more effective than drugs or herbal medicines.
"There is convincing evidence on the effectiveness of using acupuncture to
treat pain as it stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin in
the central nervous system," they wrote in a statement.
Endorphins are compounds produced naturally by the human body during
exercise and excitement and they result in a feeling of well-being.
Serotonin is a brain chemical.
"Compared with pharmacological treatment or herbal medicine, acupuncture was
associated with a significant reduction in pain," they added in their paper,
which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and
However, the researchers noted flaws in the methodology of some studies and
called for more clinical trials to be done.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has cited acupuncture as a possibly
effective way of dealing with menstrual cramps.
The causes for many cases of menstrual cramps are unknown, and for some
women, the pain - accompanied by bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
dizziness and headache - can become more severe or may last longer as they
Source : The Montreal Gazette