Although it might not be the main reason women come to see me for acupuncture, during the in-depth consultation many report having heavy, irregular or painful periods.
Sometimes these symptoms are due to fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. Fibroids are common and can be found in up to 70% of postmenopausal women. The cause of fibroids is not clear, but it is thought that it may be related to diet. High-energy dense foods and red meat are thought to promote fibroids, whereas diets rich in flavonoids, oily fish, green vegetables, citrus fruits, soya and broad beans may help prevent fibroid development.
In a study of women with fibroids who had not had surgery, the use of acupuncture, herbs, exercise or dietary therapy led to a significant symptomatic improvement in their symptoms with fewer side effects compared with pharmacological and surgical treatments. More women receiving acupuncture reported that their symptoms were ‘a lot better’ than those receiving herbs, exercise or dietary therapy.
Acupuncture acts on a variety of therapeutic targets associated in the cause and symptoms of fibroids. It is reported to be an effective treatment for dysfunctional bleeding, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease and period pain. Acupuncture treatments are also effective in improving outcomes in overweight and obese patients.
Painful periods may also be due to endometriosis, which is an oestrogen-dependent, inflammatory condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (endometrium) is found in other parts of the body. Endometriosis is often painful, and painkillers may not work or involve side effects.
Studies have shown that the intensity of endometriosis-related pain may be reduced with acupuncture, and women receiving acupuncture were less disabled by the pain and took fewer painkillers. No side effects were reported with acupuncture in these studies.
To find out more about how acupuncture could help you, visit www.racheledney.co.uk or call Rachel Edney Bsc LicAc MAcS on 07815 097473.
Rachel has a degree in biological sciences and worked for 15 years writing training materials for doctors on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. She completed her acupuncture training in London and has over 10 years of experience in treating many conditions.
Treatments are given at the Therapy Rooms in Pembroke Dock and appointments are offered through the week, with several evening and weekend appointments also available.