Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health
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Article by Suzanne CafferkySection: Anxiety

Did you know that PMT/PMS otherwise described as the occurrence of premenstrual physical and psychological changes that women complain about was first mentioned in the writings of Hippocrates in the fourth century BC?

Today, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is still a poorly understood collection of up to 150 cyclical symptoms, that can cause on occasions a range of bearable to severe psychological and physical distress. The psychological symptoms can include depression, loss of energy, irritability, loss of libido and abnormal behavior, with the physical symptoms ranging from headaches, breast discomfort and abdominal bloating that may occur for up to 14 days each month. There can also be painful menstrual issues that can mean that in worse case scenario the woman may only feel well for one week at a time, each cycle. However, these figures are not clear with estimations stating that up to 80% of women suffering with some issues and only 5% suffering severe life disrupting symptoms.

What is clear here is that PMT symptoms only occur when there is ovarian function. Therefore any woman who is pregnant or has gone through the menopause or had her ovaries removed does not suffer with any symptoms. So it is quite clearly a disharmony of the hormones and the second half of the cycle i.e. an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels that can be also exacerbated today by poor nutrition, stress and poor sleeping patterns.

From a TCM point of view a balanced woman should not suffer any abnormal issues coming up to her period. Her periods will be regular (24-35 day cycles) and she should feel comfortable. When the body is in balance, a woman will have periods on a regular basis, they also don’t complain about issues such as pain, water retention, emotional upheaval or PMS-related fatigue. So, many of the symptoms associated with PMS (breast tenderness, irritability, cramps, headaches), from a Chinese medical perspective, are simply symptoms of blocked energy. Acupuncture helps to open those blockages thus allowing the energy to flow without restriction, which brings the body back to balance, eliminating PMS altogether by working on the liver qi in particular, blood and the spleen, all energetics that are central to a healthy reproductive system.

Lots of women attend me for lots of reasons. What is interesting is that whatever the case in front me is, I always ask about the health of the woman’s menstrual cycle. A few ladies have often looked surprised when I ask,but it offers me a telescopic view of the woman’s wellbeing that we don’t have when doing a consultation with a man. Why? It tells me about her qi(energy), state of her blood, deficiencies, stagnation etc……

What is always interesting is the woman who comes for help for say skin issues or back issues for example and they mention along their treatments that this was the first month that they didn’t react/feel teary/ down coming up to their period. This is because TCM looks at the overall woman and treats the root which can be causing layer after layer of very different symptoms that just do not add upto anything in WM terms.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for helping and should be something to consider if looking for natural solutions, however we would also recommend various lifestyle suggestions from adequate rest, nutrition and exercise too.

Here is a link to some studies that suggest that Acupuncture can help women with PMS issues including the anxiety and depression that women often suffer for up to half of their cycle –

This study proves that acupuncture helps with PMS –

Written by Suzanne Cafferky

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prevalence of and factors associated with use of complementary health approaches among women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP) - including #acupuncture

prevalence of and factors associated with use of complementary health approaches among women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP) - including #acupuncture | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of and factors associated with use of complementary health approaches among women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP).

DESIGN: We analyzed data from the Study of Pelvic Problems, Hysterectomy, and Intervention Alternatives, a prospective cohort study of women seeking care for noncancerous pelvic problems with intact uteri at enrollment. Among a subset of 699 participants who reported having CPP, we analyzed the prevalence of complementary health approaches used and associated patient sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, health-related quality of life, attitudes and beliefs, and conventional health care practices.

RESULTS: At baseline, slightly over one-half (51%) of women with CPP used at least one complementary health approach in the past year, including acupuncture (8%), special foods or diets (22%), herbs (27%), and vitamins and minerals (29%). During follow-up surveys conducted annually for 4 years, a substantial proportion of women (44.8%) used complementary health approaches at more than half of the assessments. Users of complementary health approaches were more likely to undergo a hysterectomy or oophorectomy or to use gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or opioids during the study compared with nonusers. Women with CPP who used complementary health approaches also had more optimal health-related quality of life measured by the Pelvic Problem Impact Questionnaire (31.6 vs 25.6, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION(S): Many women with CPP consistently use complementary health approaches. The substantial interest in and high prevalence of complementary health approaches used alongside conventional medical approaches highlight the need for better understanding of multimodal approaches to address the complex condition of CPP.

Wiley Periodicals, Inc.PMID 25279935 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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HEALTH - Acupuncture and consuming antioxidants can increase the quality of a woman’s eggs

HEALTH - Acupuncture and consuming antioxidants can increase the quality of a woman’s eggs | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Ovarian reserve is something that cannot be reversed. As females we are born with all the eggs we will ever have and gradually lose them through each menstrual cycle. However, the quality of the eggs we do have can be improved. The two big factors that I recommend to my clients are consuming high amounts of antioxidants and acupuncture.
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Managing Women's Issues with Chinese Medicine

Managing Women's Issues with Chinese Medicine | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Managing Women's Issues with Chinese Medicine


Managing Women's Issues with Chinese Medicine 13 338Share14

Endometriosis can be associated with backache, painful defecation and/or rectal bleeding, premenstrual spotting, sciatica, urinary frequency and pain, vomiting, abdominal pain and swelling. Any single endometriosis symptom is troubling, but in combination can be excruciating. Untreated, endometriosis can become the cause of female infertility . Although traditional Chinese medicine has no disease category endometriosis , it does recognize, categorize, and treat effectively each endometriosis symptom and sign.

Menstruation should be painless and accompanied by minimal pre and postmenstrual signs and symptoms. We know the menstruate should be of sufficient volume, a rich, fresh color, and free from clots. The absence of these factors is an endometriosis symptom .

If there is free flow, there is no pain: if there is pain, there is no free flow. In Chinese medicine , the uterus and the liver are closely related. The liver maintains patency or free flow of the qi or vital energy of the body. The liver, spleen and kidney channels run through the pelvis and all can effect menstruation . If any of these channels is blocked, congested or deficient, this will usually manifest in women as some sort of menstrual problem.

Qi moves the blood. The qi can become sluggish or stuck due to emotional stuckness or stress. It is the liver's job to maintain the free flow of qi , stagnant qi is associated with liver depression. The liver is so intimately associated with the menstrual cycle, liver depression and stagnant qi in women almost always manifests as some menstrual-related problem. Stagnant qi manifests as pain and distention and is dull, crampy or colicky. Static blood may be caused by either long-term qi stagnation or by traumatic injury, including surgery. Its characteristic is localized, fixed, sharp, stabbing or lancinating pain. Blood clots are common when one's qi is stagnant.

The most common cause of qi stagnation is stress, and usually results in liver depression. This can also become the cause of female infertility . Stagnant qi causes pain, urinary problems, lower abdominal pain and distention, sciatica, premenstrual nipple sensitivity, irritability, depression and headaches.

Static blood may be caused by trauma, such as intra-abdominal surgery, IUDs, abortions, and certain birth control pills in some women. It may also be caused by intercourse during menstruation or due to stagnant qi . The signs and symptoms of blood stasis are stabbing, sharp, fixed, and lancinating pain, clots in the menstrual discharge, the relief of pain after passing of clots, prominent blue, varicose veins on the lower abdomen, possible hemorrhoids or varicose veins on the legs, poking pain with intercourse. Most women with endometriosis have some combination of stagnant qi and blood stasis.

Accumulation of cold-causing blood stasis also leads to uncomfortable side effects. Coldness and dampness can be generated by over eating cold, damp foods. Cold foods include anything eaten chilled, frozen and cold. They also include most raw vegetables and fruits, dairy products, oils, nuts, sugar, fatty foods, and citrus fruits.

The signs and symptoms of accumulation of cold causing blood stasis in the lower burner include cold, fixed pain in the lower abdomen relieved by warmth, a dark, clotty menstrual discharge, aversion to cold, late or absent period, back pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite.

The Chinese endometriosis natural remedy suggests avoiding fear, anger and excessive emotions in general. Maintaining an even, free flow of moderate emotions is the same as maintaining an even, free flow of qi and blood. Just prior and during menstruation women should not allow themselves to become fatigued. Not dwell on negative thoughts or frustrations. Avoid eating cold and raw foods prior to or during their periods. Avoid sex during their period as this reverses the flow of qi and blood from down and out to up and in and tends to cause the formation of blood stasis.

Stress reduction, changing jobs, seeking counseling for relationship problems, changing residence, taking more time off, relinquishing unrealistic goals and expectations, and just in general adopting a slower, more open attitude no matter what we are doing can help us with balance. We need to teach ourselves consciously and deliberately to relax. Done daily, at least twenty continuous minutes, can benefit our overall health.

Chinese medicine believes that a certain amount of physical exercise is necessary to maintain one's health and prevent disease. Exercise speeds up a sluggish metabolism and increases production of qi and blood. Aerobic exercise from twenty to thirty minutes every other day increases circulation and body temperature, and aids digestion, appetite, mood, energy and sleep. Exercise greatly reduces the severity of any endometriosis symptom or symptom associated with stagnant qi and blood stasis.

Chinese medicine places great importance on diet, especially on cooked as opposed to raw food. Cooking makes the nutrients in foods more easily assimilable, resulting in a greater net gain. Our diet should consist of warm foods. Drinking too much liquid and especially cold liquids with meals can cause stagnant qi . There are also certain foods which should be eaten in great moderation. Sugar weakens the spleen and therefore the healthy creation of qi and blood. Honey, molasses and maple syrup create dampness and hinder spleen function. People with liver depression and qi stagnation tend to crave the sweet flavor. Other foods that can create dampness are nuts, oils, and fats, chocolate, beef and pork, dairy products, fruits, eggs, and citrus fruits, pineapples, apples and pears. Alcohol is also dampening.

Those with stagnant qi must be careful of hot, spicy foods. Coffee disperses stagnant qi but wastes the blood and yin -- both regular and decaf. Coffee gives a sense of energy by freeing up stuck qi . Women who experience any kind of menstrual, reproductive tract or breast disorders should avoid coffee. It is not caffeine alone that is the offending substance. There are many volatile oils in the coffee bean, which as a whole cause the problem. Placing a drop of White Flower Oil on the tip of the tongue when the coffee craving strikes can help alleviate this dependency.

Many studies confirm that lifestyle factors, which are largely preventable, are the cause of debilitating disorders. Deep relaxation, aerobic exercise and dietary modification and moderation are the keys to preventing dysmenorrhea and endometriosis . And Chinese medicine is an ideal therapy for women with these and other reproductive disorders, especially for the management of any endometriosis symptom .

One should first use more natural and organic methods of treatment when the problem is in its formative stages. Only when such gentler therapies have failed or when the situation is critical should the "heavy guns" of the Western medical armamentarium be brought into play.

Chinese medicine 's main therapy is herbal medicine. Herbs are an excellent endometriosis natural remedy . Over 5,000 medicinal substances are taken from plants, minerals and animal by-products. The ingredients are combined into formulas comprised of from eight to fifteen ingredients where they work synergistically. The most common way of ingestion the herbs is through a tea. However, pills, powders, liquid and dried extracts and syrups are also used. Herbs are free from side effects. Chinese doctors are constantly updating and modifying their patient's treatment in order to optimize results. Women with endometriosis generally require three to six months of intensive Chinese herbal therapy to achieve substantial amelioration in their condition. When compared with the cost of most Western drugs and medical procedures, the net cost of Chinese medicine is relatively cheap.

Acupuncture effectively treats endometriosis . The body comprises points located on pathways at which the energy traveling through them can be manipulated and therapeutically adjusted. Patients may experience the slightest pinch upon insertion and then any of several sensations as the needle touches the point that is below the skin. These sensations can include tingling, heat, distention, heaviness, soreness, or an electrical, nervy feeling. Typically patients will relax deeply and may even fall asleep.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine treat effectively: painful menstruation , menstruation which is too little or too large in volume, menstruation which is either too early, too late, or which occurs at no fixed schedule, amenorrhea, PMS, lower abdominal pain, any endometriosis symptom and infertility.

The Western theories about the cause of endometriosis development are all on a cellular and biochemical level, about which the patient herself can do nothing. The Chinese theories of disease mechanism explain what everyday factors have led to the disease (in this case the cause of endometriosis ) and immediately imply what the woman herself can do to rectify the situation.

Most menstrual problems can be treated by Chinese medicine within three to six months. However, the duration of therapy depends to some extent on the length of time the disease process has been in motion. Patients should expect it to take at least one month of treatment for every year there has been some problem with their period or in their pelvis in general.

If either we are born with insufficient congenital essence or we use up or fail to make acquired essence, our blood production will also be insufficient. This will be the cause of endometriosis . And, if the blood is insufficient, conception cannot take place, or, if per chance it does, the fetus will not be nourished properly and miscarriage is likely. Deep relaxation, a nutritious diet from which acquired essence can be created and stored, life-style modifications to reduce stress and over stimulation, and complete abstinence from drugs and stimulants such as coffee, nicotine, and alcohol. Stress, frustration and repression are the main causes of liver qi stagnation .

Over-eating raw fruits and vegetables, chilled, iced, and frozen foods and drinks, and drinking too many cold juices, are all contemporary Western causes for blood vacuity. This can cause blood stasis in the uterus due to cold congelation and be harmful to healthy menstruation if they are eaten just before or at the onset of menstruation (when they are often craved).

Fertility is the natural expression of a body full of life force and blood which is flowing freely and unobstructed. Any cause of endometriosis should be avoided or treated. Therefore, women trying to conceive should place their attention on regulating their menstruation , eliminating premenstrual breast tenderness and any other PMS symptoms, and generally improving their health and physical and mental well-being as much as possible. That means they should seek treatment for menoxenia or any menstrual abnormality, any digestive dysfunction, any problem with elimination or perspiration, appetite, sleep, energy or mood. In Chinese medicine , when a female's period is on time, painless, without PMS, of a sufficient volume and duration, a healthy red color and free from clots, and when her digestion, elimination and energy are good, her sleep peaceful and sound, and appetite and mood are all good, this woman is healthy and should be able to conceive.

Among American women in their twenties, endometriosis is the leading cause of female infertility after fibroid tumors. It is estimated that endometriosis affects 15% of American women of reproductive age.

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Acupuncture for Vulvodynia

Acupuncture for Vulvodynia | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

This was a piece of research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, conducted on 12 patients who had suffered severe distress from this condition and who had not responded to the usual treatment. The patients were given 10 weekly acupuncture treatments. 2 patients experienced so much improvement that they considered themselves to have been cured of the condition; 3 considered themselves improved and wanted to continue treatment; 4 patients felt slightly better and considered acupuncture more effective than any other treatment that they had received and 3 patients did not perceive any improvement at all. Therefore 9/12 patients overall, considered that the treatment had been beneficial to them. I a few observations to add to this:

That while 10 treatments is a reasonable number, it is by no means unusual for a patient to require more than ten treatments for complete or near-complete resolution, especially for a condition like vulvodynia which which the authors of this study observe is, ‘notoriously difficult to treat’ (with the standard orthodox treatment).The number of acupuncture points used is only four- it is highly unusual to use only four points in a modern acupuncture treatment, therefore the treatment can be considered sub-optimal -meaning that if more points had been used one might expect even better results than have been reported here. The authors have not mentioned who designed and who administered the treatment (e.g. whether they were a qualified acupuncturist) or what the rationale was for the point selection, which is unorthodox.Lastly, and this is a point that applies to almost all acupuncture research- all 12 patients received exactly the same four acupuncture points. This would be extremely rare in actual practice (outside of a research setting), since it is a basic principle of acupuncture and Chinese medicine that since each patient is unique, no two patients receive the exact same treatment, but rather a treatment that is tailored to their individual presentation. The reason for the homogenisation of points in research settings is to make the results easier to compare and generalise across patients.

All of the above three reasons mean that real-life results with acupuncture for vulvodynia are extremely likely to be better than the results reported in this study, even though the results reported in this study are already quite impressive.

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Natural Cures for Pregnancy Pains - includes acupuncture

Natural Cures for Pregnancy Pains  - includes acupuncture | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Pain during pregnancy is no news. If medication is not your idea, try these natural ways to cure them. Simple, effortless and effective! Pick your best option.





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GoLocalPDX | Health | Five Natural Ways to Calm the Symptoms of Menopause

GoLocalPDX | Health | Five Natural Ways to Calm the Symptoms of Menopause | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Five Natural Ways to Calm the Symptoms of Menopause

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Erin Brockmeyer, GoLocalPDX Natural Health Expert



Night sweats, insomnia, brain fog, loss of libido, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain...the list goes on and on when you ask a typical woman for the lovely little symptoms that have cropped up since peri- menopause/menopause began. And according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,6,000 women reach menopause each day in the U.S. In the Western medicine model, options for treating menopausal symptoms are limited primarily to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).


For a while, it seemed as though HRT was the long-awaited answer for women suffering from moderate to severe menopausal symptoms. In 2002, however, findings from the largest study of HRT (to-date) were released, and the outcome was not good. The study showed that women who received HRT were at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Currently thoughts on HRT are a bit more mixed, with there being certain groups of people for whom the benefits of specific types of HRT may outweigh the risk. With that being said, there are an ever-increasing number of people (including doctors) who are looking for more natural and safe ways to calm menopausal symptoms. Read ahead for some ideas on how to treat 5 common perimenopausal symptoms.

Hot flashes / Night sweats

According to the ACOG, 75% of women experience hot flashes or night sweats during perimenopause, and approximately 25% of those who do experience them for more than 5 years. No one wants that. One of the most effective ways of treating this issue is with acupuncture. An article published on Medscape asserts that “Acupuncture is an effective treatment for women who are experiencing natural menopause.” Numerous studiesare coming out that are showing reduction in hot flashes, night sweats and increases in estrogen as a result of receiving acupuncture from a practitioner trained in Chinese Medicine.


This seems to be an exceedingly common complaint from perimenopausal and menopausal women, and it can be one of the most frustrating of the symptoms you experience. There are a number of options for sleep that are commonly held as safe ways to help yourself sleep. If hot flashes are waking you up, seek treatment for those first. If you are having trouble falling asleep, adding a magnesium and calcium supplement about 30 minutes before bedtime can increase drowsiness and help you sleep. Dr. Andrew Weil’s website suggests the use of valerian or melatonin to aid with sleep. It is also a good idea to get in 45 minutes of exercise/day and to establish a regular bedtime routine.

Loss of Libido

This symptom of menopause, more than all the others, can have a heartbreaking effect on women and their partners. There are several components to why libido decreases in women, the most common thoughts being an increase in vaginal dryness leading to discomfort during sex, and an increase in their partners’ sexual performance problems leading women to feel less desired or less affectionate towards their partners. Harvard Medical Schoolpublished a paper that suggested that one of the most effective treatments for midlife loss of libido comes in the form of talking with your partner openly about your needs and expectations, or meeting with a sex therapist.

Mood Swings

It is not uncommon for a woman to equate the mood swings she experiences during perimenopause with those she had when she first went through puberty. This is most likely due to the greater fluctuations in hormones that are happening during this time. Just as in other cases of treating mood swings and depression, exercise and diet can be one of your greatest allies. This is a good time to renew a commitment to a cardio routine and to cut out excess sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. It is also a great time to focus on yourself by picking up a new hobby or spending more time with friends.

Memory Problems (aka Brain Fog)

The common causes thought to be behind this perimenopausal symptom include hormonal imbalances, insomnia, and increased stress. Attend to your sleep issues first if you suspect those could be the cause. You can combat memory issues by continuing to challenge your brain by doing things like crossword puzzles and sudoku. It may also be worth it to visit someone who is well trained in herbal medicine. If there are hormonal imbalances behind your brain fog, a trained herbalist should be able to offer suggestions that are natural, safe and effective. A UCLA review also suggested that eating plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in folic acid, such as spinach, can help to improve brain function.

As with all health issues, it is beneficial to speak with a qualified health care provider about your particular concerns before self-treating. The suggestions in this article will hopefully help you see that there are options for you, and that you do not need to suffer through to menopause.


Erin Brockmeyer, LAc, is owner and acupuncturist at Solstice Natural Health in downtown Portland.  She creates custom health plans for patients to help them tackle their most complicated health concerns, including infertility, prenatal care, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions and chronic and acute pain conditions.  Visit herwebsite for more information and to download her free e-book 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health Today.

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Decrease of pregnant women's pelvic pain after acupuncture: a randomized controlled single-blind study, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Informa Healthcare

Decrease of pregnant women's pelvic pain after acupuncture: a randomized controlled single-blind study, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Informa Healthcare | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 


Decrease of pregnant women's pelvic pain after acupuncture: a randomized controlled single-blind study


2006, Vol. 85, No. 1 , Pages 12-19 (doi:10.1080/00016340500317153)

Iréne Lund1†, Thomas Lundeberg2, Lena Lönnberg3 and Elisabeth Svensson41Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden2Rehabilitation Medicine University Clinic, Stockholm Danderyds Hospital AB, Stockholm, Sweden3Centre for Clinical Research, Centrallasarettet, Uppsala University, Västerås, Sweden4Department of Statistics, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden†Correspondence: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden



Background. The efficacy of acupuncture on low-back and/or pelvic pain in late pregnancy is reviewed in few reports. Our aim was to evaluate the effects of two different acupuncturestimulation modes on pelvic pain intensity and some emotional symptoms due to the pain condition. Methods. In a prospective randomized controlled single-blind study, pregnant women with pelvic pain, median gestational age 26 weeks (range 18–35), were given 10 acupuncturetreatments. Needles were inserted subcutaneously over acupuncture points without further stimulation (superficial, n=22), or intramuscular and stimulated repeatedly until a perceived sensation of numbness, de qi, (deep, n=25). Self-reported pain intensity at rest and during daily activities was assessed on a visual analog scale. The variables pain, emotional reactions, and loss of energy were assessed according to the Nottingham Health Profile questionnaire. Changes in assessed variables were analyzed with a nonparametric statistical method allowing for analysis of systematic group changes separated from additional individual changes. Results. Afteracupuncture stimulation, significant systematic group changes towards lower levels of pain intensity at rest and in daily activities as well as in rated emotional reaction and loss of energy were seen. The results also showed additional individual changes in most variables. In this study, no differences between the effects induced by the superficial and deep acupuncture stimulation modes were observed. Conclusion. Acupuncture stimulation that is individually designed may be a valuable treatment to ameliorate suffering in the condition of pelvic pain in late pregnancy.

KeywordsAcupuncture, change, NHP, nonparametric statistics, pelvic pain, VAS

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Acupuncture for hot flushes: research

Acupuncture for hot flushes: research | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |


Walsh, N.; Hot flash relief associated with use of acupuncture. (Pilot Study). OB/GYN News 2003.

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Acupunturist Zita West: "How my amazing mother inspired Call the Midwife"

Acupunturist Zita West: "How my amazing mother inspired Call the Midwife" | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

How my amazing mother inspired Call the Midwife: She was a cross between kind Nurse Jenny and Sister EvangelinaZita West's mother Ita Devanney was a midwife in the FortiesHelped to delivery hundreds of babies every yearHated being made to retire in 1984 aged 60Worked in a care home right up until her death



PUBLISHED: 01:54, 24 December 2013



"It was while working in a hospital in Warwick in the Nineties that I started using acupuncture alongside mainstream obstetrics to help women suffering from morning sickness.


I later moved to the Hale Clinic where Princess Diana was a patient, and then as my client base grew I decided to open my own clinic in Harley Street."

Via Shaftesbury Acupuncture Clinic
Shaftesbury Acupuncture Clinic's curator insight, December 28, 2013 10:20 AM

This is an interesting article, Zita is a well known acupuncturist and midwife.

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Gynecological problems - Climacteric disorder and dysmenorrhea Auricular Acupuncture Treatment

Gynecological problems - Climacteric disorder and dysmenorrhea Auricular Acupuncture Treatment | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Gynecological problems - Climacteric disorder and dysmenorrhea Auricular Acupuncture Treatment


M. L. Wang observed that “for the treatment of symptoms of climacteric syndrome, marked-to-good improvement was obtained in 37 out of 42 cases when the type of disorder was properly differentiated. The primary points used were Kidney, Internal Genitalia, Subcortex, and Endocrine. For Kidney Yin Deficiency with Liver Yang Rising, Lung, Liver, and Spleen were added.


For Kidney Yin Deficiency with disharmony of the Heart and Kidney, Liver, Heart, and Shenmen were used. For Kidney Yin and Yang deficiency with Spleen weakness, the Spleen and Small Intestine points were included. If hypertension presented, the Hypertension groove and Liver points were added. Pellets were retained in the ear for 3 days. Six sessions constituted a course of treatment and three courses were the average treatment time.”


D. Lewers et al.28 study on the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea resulted in an average pain relief of at least 50% immediately posttreatment using TENS electrostimulation. The study also suggested that auriculotherapy via acupressure may relieve the same pain.

Shaftesbury Clinic Bedford's insight:

NB: Climacteric disorder is another word for menopause.

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Pain relief for women undergoing oocyte retrieval for assisted reproduction - The Cochrane Library - Kwan - Wiley Online Library

Pain relief for women undergoing oocyte retrieval for assisted reproduction - The Cochrane Library - Kwan - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Editorial Group: Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group

Published Online: 31 JAN 2013

Assessed as up-to-date: 25 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004829.pub3



Summary of main results


This review included 21 trials of five broad categories of pain relief methods of conscious sedation and analgesia that involved 2974 women undergoing oocyte retrieval. Women’s experience of pain showed conflicting results. No one particular modality of conscious sedation and analgesia was better than any other in providing effective pain relief. However, use of more than one method simultaneously, such as when combined with acupuncture or paracervical block, resulted in better pain relief than one modality alone. Patient-controlled sedation and analgesia was associated with more intra-operative pain compared with physician-administered sedation and analgesia. None of these methods appeared to affect pregnancy rates. However, the confidence intervals were wide in most comparisons and therefore the results should be interpreted with caution. High levels of satisfaction were reported in 12 studies.

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Acupuncture for treatment-related side effects in women with breast cancer - The Cochrane Library - Zhu - Wiley Online Library

Acupuncture for treatment-related side effects in women with breast cancer - The Cochrane Library - Zhu - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

How the intervention might work


How acupuncture works to eliminate the side effects of cancer treatments for breast cancer is still unknown, however emerging literature suggests acupuncture might work through several pathways. For example, acupuncture may induce body signals that are transmitted to the central nervous system (CNS), which in turn activates anti-inflammatory signals and pain relief processes through both humoral and neural mechanisms (Cho 2006; Sekido 2003). This sheds some light on how side effects can be plausibly managed by acupuncture.

Since the 1970s, it has been established that acupuncture may influence pain mediators through the release of neurotransmitters, such as ß-endorphin and endogenous opioids in the CNS (Cabýoglu 2006; Lin 2008; Ma 2004). The endogenous opioid-mediated mechanisms of acupuncture seem to be well understood (Han 2004).


It has been suggested that acupuncture initiates anti-inflammatory pathways in addition to opoid-mediated pathways. Animal studies have demonstrated that electroacupuncture may induce anti-inflammatory properties at both peripheral and central pain (i.e. nociceptives) sites (Lee 2006; Moon 2007). Prostaglandin E2 produced in the local inflammatory site is essential in initiating and maintaining inflammatory hyperalgesia (Shahed 2001). Clinical research has shown that electroacupuncture therapy seems to have a pain relief effect which might be associated with decreased measures of prostaglandin E2 in urine samples (Lee 2009).


Immune functions may also be involved when using acupuncture. Some animal studies have shown that bilateral electroacupuncture stimulation (at acupuncture point ST36) for three consecutive days enhances splenic natural killer (NK) cell activity (Yu 1998), while acupuncture (at BL23 points) for 20 days increases the ratio of NK cells to T lymphocytes in the spleen of mice after day seven (Okumura 1999).


A Japanese study suggested that acupuncture influenced the immune system through leukocyte and lymphocyte subpopulations in human peripheral blood (Takahashi 2009). In addition, a Chinese study showed that patients assigned to adjuvant electroacupuncture with chemotherapy had no significant changes in their T cell subpopulations, NK activity, immunoglobulin and leukocyte counts at the end of the fourth course of chemotherapy, in comparison with those who had chemotherapy without electroacupuncture in a control group (Ye 2004). This adds value in supporting the hypothesis that electroacupuncture might minimise the potential side effects of chemotherapy.


Studies have shown that the attributive effects of acupuncture are comprehensive, spanning from modulating an immunosuppressed or immunoactivated condition through the immune system to having an impact on the CNS (Lewith 2005; Ma 2004).


Why it is important to do this review


Improvements in early diagnosis and treatment have increased the life expectancy of women with breast cancer. In turn, this has led to specific problems being encountered by long-term breast cancer survivors. There has been a shift of emphasis to focusing on the negative impact of treatment on patients' quality of life, especially from long-term side effects (Pinto 2011), as well as the increased use of healthcare resources (Loibl 2011).


The use of CAM amongst cancer patients or survivors is due to the desire to increase the body’s ability to fight cancer or improve physical and emotional well-being (Molassiotis 2005). An Australian survey on women with breast cancer reported that: "common reasons for use included improving physical (86.3%) and emotional (83.2%) well-being and boosting the immune system (68.8%)" with 49.2% specifically reporting to "reduce treatment side effects" (Kremser 2008). Another large survey stated that acupuncture was effective (40%) or very effective (7.7%) for modulating immune functions, relieving pain, alleviating menopausal symptoms or managing other discomforts in the breast cancer population (Cui 2004). However, there has been a lack of scientific evidence to support these claims or empirical experience reported by patients or survivors.


Furthermore, despite the popularity of acupuncture in cancer patients (de Valois 2010; Frisk 2011; Hervik 2010; Lu 2009; Shen 2000; Sima 2009), acupuncture has not met with wide approval amongst medical professionals and there has been poor communication between patients and medical carers (Lu 2009; Molassiotis 2005). Patients and healthcare professionals need more information on the effectiveness and safety of complementary medicine interventions.


A few systematic reviews on the role of acupuncture in managing side effects in women with breast cancer have been previously conducted (Chao 2009; Ezzo 2006; Lee 2009a). However, some reviews focused on specific symptoms and there was a lack of consideration of the unique features of TCM philosophy that underpin acupuncture, when the tools of evidence-based practice were applied to assess its effectiveness.

It has been suggested that acupuncture as a treatment to control side effects may potentially alleviate conventional therapy-induced side effects and improve quality of life (Price 2012).

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ACUPUNCTURE FOR VULVAR PAIN - Portland Acupuncture Studio

ACUPUNCTURE FOR VULVAR PAIN - Portland Acupuncture Studio | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
In addition to my work with reproductive medicine, I also use acupuncture for vulvar pain and chronic pelvic pain conditions. I wrote a guest post about a vulvar pain condition that affects one in four women: chronic vulvar pain.
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Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. - PubMed - NCBI

Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. - PubMed - NCBI | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

"results compare favourably "



J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):1047-57. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0472. Clinical Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't




Women taking tamoxifen experience hot flashes and night sweats (HF&NS); acupuncture may offer a nonpharmaceutical method of management. This study explored whether traditional acupuncture (TA) could reduce HF&NS frequency, improve physical and emotional well-being, and improve perceptions of HF&NS. DESIGN/SETTINGS/LOCATION: This was a single-arm observational study using before and after measurements, located in a National Health Service cancer treatment center in southern England.


Fifty (50) participants with early breast cancer completed eight TA treatments. Eligible women were ≥ 35 years old, ≥ 6 months post active cancer treatment, taking tamoxifen ≥ 6 months, and self-reporting ≥ 4 HF&NS incidents/24 hours for ≥ 3 months.


Participants received weekly individualized TA treatment using a core standardized protocol for treating HF&NS in natural menopause.


Hot Flash Diaries recorded HF&NS frequency over 14-day periods; the Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ) assessed physical and emotional well-being; the Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Questionnaire (HFNSQ) assessed HF&NS as a problem. Measurements taken at five points over 30 weeks included baseline, midtreatment, end of treatment (EOT), and 4 and 18 weeks after EOT. Results for the primary outcome: Mean frequency reduced by 49.8% (95% confidence interval 40.5-56.5, p < 0.0001, n = 48) at EOT over baseline. Trends indicated longer-term effects at 4 and 18 weeks after EOT. At EOT, seven WHQ domains showed significant statistical and clinical improvements, including Anxiety/Fears, Memory/Concentration, Menstrual Problems, Sexual Behavior, Sleep Problems, Somatic Symptoms, and Vasomotor Symptoms. Perceptions of HF&NS as a problem reduced by 2.2 points (standard deviation = 2.15, n = 48, t = 7.16, p < 0.0001).


These results compare favorably with other studies using acupuncture to manage HF&NS, as well as research on nonhormonal pharmaceutical treatments. In addition to reduced HF&NS frequency, women enjoyed improved physical and emotional well-being, and few side-effects were reported. Further research is warranted into this approach, which offers breast cancer survivors choice in managing a chronic condition.

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How Acupuncture Can Help with Night Sweats & Hot Flashes

How Acupuncture Can Help with Night Sweats & Hot Flashes | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Night sweats and hot flashes are common symptoms of menopause in the U.S. There you are going about your day, when all of a sudden, the heat of the sun emits from your core. The bud of many jokes, “the change” does not have to be so dramatic.

The word menopause simply means cessation of menses. Ideally, it ought to be just that and without symptoms. Acupuncture can help.

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture can help regulate your hormones and therefore, regulate your temperature and stop profuse sweating. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we all have yin and yang energy in our bodies. In a perfect world, they are balanced and in harmony. In the real world, they are anything but and when they become noticeably imbalanced, our health suffers. As women age, it is common in the U.S. for their yin to become depleted. This of course affects their yang as well, resulting in night sweats, hot flashes, and irritability.

What acupuncture can do is help replenish your yin (which in effect, helps your yang). It can help restore harmony and balance and therefore, get rid of night sweats and hot flashes. Clinically, I have had success with helping women (and men, too!) relieve night sweats and hot flashes with acupuncture alone.

Research studies on acupuncture and hot flashes/night sweats

Bothered by hot flashes? Acupuncture might be the answer, analysis suggests:

Research Study: Using traditional acupuncture for breast-cancer related hot flashes and night sweats:

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5 Must Read Acupuncture Studies About Women’s Health

5 Must Read Acupuncture Studies About Women’s Health | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

2010 – The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a study which showed that acupuncture helped relieve pain and stiffness in breast cancer patients who were being treated with hormone therapies. Acupuncture has always been great for pain; chemo patients are one specific group who benefit.

2010 – A study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism found that electro-acupuncture treatments led to more regular menstrual cycles and reduced testosterone levels in women who had PCOS. In my Chicago acupuncture practice I find PCOS responds very well to TCM treatment.

2011- A Yale University/University of Pittsburgh study of women with hot flashes brought on by conventional breast cancer treatment showed that women who received acupuncture had a 30% reduction in hot flashes.

2012 – A Chinese study reported that acupuncture was more effective than Clomifene (better known as Clomid) for the treatment of infertility. It was a small study, using 65 women who were infertile because of problems with ovulation. They were divided into two  groups. One group received acupuncture treatment and the other group took the drug Clomid.  After 6 months, the acupuncture group had a cure rate of 76.3% while the group that took the conventional drugs had a cure rate of 48.1%.

2013 – Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology in Sweden published the results of a new study in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. Their study included thirty-two women with PCOS who were randomly chosen to receive either acupuncture with electrical stimulation or physical therapy. Researchers found that the acupuncture group had significantly reduced ovarian and adrenal sex steroid serum levels. They also concluded that repeated acupuncture treatments resulted in a higher ovulation frequency and was more effective than just physical therapy.

1) Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial Elizabeth Jedel , Fernand Labrie , Anders Odén , Göran Holm , Lars Nilsson , Per Olof Janson , Anna-Karin Lind , Claes Ohlsson , Elisabet Stener-Victorin American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and MetabolismPublished 1 January 2011Vol. 300no. E37-E45DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00495.2010

2) Randomized, blinded, sham-controlled trial of acupuncture for the management of aromatase inhibitor-associated joint symptoms in women with early-stage breast cancer. Crew KD, Capodice JL, Greenlee H, Brafman L, Fuentes D, Awad D, Yann Tsai W, Hershman DL. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 1;28(7):1154-60. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.4708. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

3) Menopausal Symptom Management With Acupuncture For Women With Breast Cancer. Cohen SM, Rousseau ME, Berg JA, Jolivet R, Dixon L, Vulte J, et al. WebmedCentral ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE 2011;2(2):WMC001544

4) The Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science, 2012, 10(2), R246.3. Teng Hui, Liu Yu-lei, Wang Jun-ling, Xie Ying. Dept. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenzhen Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital, Guangdong, China.

5) Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Johansson, Julia, et al. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism (2013).

1800Posted By: admin on November 5, 2013Labels: Acupuncture, Acupuncture and Breast Cancer, Acupuncture and Fertility, Acupuncture and PCOS, Acupuncture Research, Chinese Medicine, Hot Flashes, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Women
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Infertility and Acupuncture | American Pregnancy Association

Infertility and Acupuncture | American Pregnancy Association | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Acupuncture is the insertion of ultra-thin, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points on the body which reside on channels or meridians; these are pathways in both the exterior and interior of the body. These points, when needled, can regulate the way in which the body functions. Acupuncture helps by addressing problems that affect fertility such as an under-functioning thyroid (hypothyroidism) or over-functioning thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Find an Acupuncturist in Your Area

Can Acupuncture Be Used To Treat Infertility?

Acupuncture, frequently combined with herbal medicine, has been used for centuries to treat some but not all causes of infertility. For example, acupuncture and herbs will not work to address tubal adhesions which can occur as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease orendometriosis. However, in this situation, an individual could still benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Additionally, acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.

When Should Acupuncture Treatment Begin?

Acupuncture is similar to physical therapy in that it is a process-oriented method of medical intervention. It is better to do more than less. Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before progressing to insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. This pacing of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect.

In a study by Stener-Victorin et al from the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fertility Centre, Scandinavia and University of Gothenburg, women are encouraged to receive acupuncture treatments pre and post embryo transfer. Clinical observations from the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medicine. However, conception occasionally occurs when acupuncture and herbal medicines are used without traditional medical interventions.

Infertility And Acupuncture: When Should I Stop?

Typically most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. Consequently, treatment of patients may often last through week twelve to help prevent miscarriage.

Are The Acupuncture Points Different After An Insemination, IVF,< Or Donor-Egg Transfer Than Before?

Acupuncturists should not place needles in the abdomino-pelvic area after insemination or transfer. There are 6 contraindicated acupuncture points which should be avoided when the patient is pregnant or pregnancy is suspected. These include Gallbladder 21, Stomach 12, Large Intestine 4, Spleen 6, Bladder 60, Bladder 67 and any points on the lower abdomen.

What Are The Risks Of Using Acupuncture With Infertility?

There are minimal risks in using acupuncture for fertility treatment. The risk of miscarriage may increase if incorrect acupuncture points are used during pregnancy. This is one reason why those choosing to include acupuncture in their treatment regimen should only be treated by an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders. Acupuncture is generally safe regardless of a person’s medical history.

Infertility And Acupuncture: Who Make Up Typical Patients?

Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture is often combined with herbal remedies to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.

Is Acupuncture A Licensed Profession?

In most states acupuncture is a licensed profession. You can visit to find a licensed and Board certified acupuncturist in your area. However, it is important to understand that being licensed and Board certified does not guarantee expertise in reproductive disorders.

Last Updated: 04/2013
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Dr Elisabet Stener-Victorin - Fysiologi, Göteborgs universitet

Dr Elisabet Stener-Victorin - Fysiologi, Göteborgs universitet | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Dr Elisabet Stener-VictorinA Molecular Link between Androgen Excess and Development of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? 
Effect and mechanisms of non-pharmacological treatment

Background: With a prevalence of 8–17%, PCOS is the most common endocrine and metabolic disorder in women1. PCOS is usually diagnosed during the early reproductive years, and clinical and biochemical signs include hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries2. The main metabolic phenotype is hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, which often preceed the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and these occur independently of body weight although obesity worsens all symptoms3. PCOS is also associated with affective symptoms and reduced health related quality of life (HRQoL). Therefore, if ovulation can be induced, hyperandrogenism decreased, and insulin sensitivity maintained in these women then the symptoms of PCOS and development of T2D can be prevented. 
The etiology of PCOS is poorly understood. The heterogeneity of the syndrome may reflect multiple underlying mechanisms, and both genetic and environmental factors have been implicated in the occurrence and progression of PCOS. Current treatment options are symptom oriented and, although effective, they often result in multiple pregnancies and can have severe metabolic and gastrointestinal side effects. Thus, PCOS places a large burden on these women, their families, and the healthcare system and the costs of PCOS exceed several billion Euros annually not even counting PCOS-associated morbidities in menopause. Because women with PCOS require long-term treatment, an important goal is to evaluate the effects and possible mechanisms of action of treatment strategies with few side effects, such as acupuncture.
The overarching aim of Stener-Victorin’s groups research is to yield new key information on the pathophysiology of PCOS with specific focus on metabolic dysfunction. A further aim is to elucidate if new treatment strategies such as acupuncture and physical exercise can improve PCOS related symptoms with main focus on metabolic dysfunction but also reproductive function.
A central hypothesize is that hyperandrogenism, the central feature of PCOS, contributes to the development of PCOS and metabolic disturbances via epigenetic changes to the genomic DNA in adipose and skeletal tissue and that acupuncture treatment can modify these epigenetic changes and reverse insulin resistance via restoration of key signaling molecules.


Fig. 1. Schematic presentation of hypotheses and aims. LH, luteinizing hormone; SNS, sympathetic nervous system.

Ongoing Projects:

Mechanisms of acupuncture with low-frequency electrical stimulation on insulin sensitivity in female rats with dihydrostestosterone-induced PCOS (rat)
 Does acupuncture improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS? This study will be the first to study the effect and possible mechanisms of acupuncture on insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese women with PCOS compared with controls.
The primary outcome measure is insulin sensitivity i.e. glucose disposal rate measured by euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp.Secondary outcome measures are health related quality of life, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exploratory outcome measures include molecular mechanistic studies in fat and muscle biopsies, anthropometrics, body fat distribution, circulating sex steroids, adipokines, lipids and inflammatory markers.
 Determine if hyperandrogenism in women with PCOS induces epigenetic alterations in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue and contributes to insulin resistance (human). This study will be the first to determine genome-wide methylation profiles as a way of detecting epigenetic modifications to the genomic DNA in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue in women with and without PCOS.
Project 1: Differences in genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue between women with and without PCOS 
Project 2: Determine if acupuncture treatment modifies genome-wide methylation patterns in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue of women with and without PCOS
 Impact of maternal androgen excess and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on placental metabolic pathways and long-term health effects on their female offspring (rat and human)
 Continuous Administration of a P450 Aromatase Inhibitor Induces PCOS with a Metabolic and Endocrine Phenotype in Female Rats at Adult Age – Effect of cyclic estrogen treatment, propranolol or acupuncture (rat)
 To estimate the prevalence of PCOS in obese premenopausal women and elucidate how they respond to a weight reduction treatment program (human)
 To assess the efficacy of acupuncture with or without clomiphen citrate (CC) in achieving live births among 1000 infertile Chinese women with PCOS (human)
 Sex steroids and symptoms of depression and anxiety in women in the transition into menopause – from Q56 population (human)
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Systematic review of clinical trials of acupuncture-related therapies for primary dysmenorrhea, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Informa Healthcare

Systematic review of clinical trials of acupuncture-related therapies for primary dysmenorrhea, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Informa Healthcare | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica ScandinavicaACTA REVIEWSystematic review of clinical trials ofacupuncture-related therapies for primary dysmenorrhea


2008, Vol. 87, No. 11 , Pages 1114-1122 (doi:10.1080/00016340802443798)HTMLPDF (71 KB)PDF Plus (72 KB)ReprintsPermissionsHuan Yang1, Cun-Zhi Liu1, Huan Yang1, Cun-Zhi Liu1, Xu Chen1, Liang-Xiao Ma1, Jie-Ping Xie1, Nan-Nan Guo1, Zeng-Bin Ma1, Yuan-Yuan Zheng1, Jiang Zhu1† and Jian-Ping Liu2†1School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China2Center of Evidence Based Medicine, School of Pre-Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

aThese two authors contributed equally to this work

†Correspondence: Jiang Zhu, School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, 11 Bei San Huan East Road, Chao Yang District, Beijing, 100029,†Correspondence: Jian-Ping Liu, ; Center of Evidence Based Medicine, School of Pre-Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China



Background. Acupuncture-related therapies might be an effective intervention for primary dysmenorrhea. Objective. To evaluate the effects of acupuncture-related therapies for treating primary dysmenorrhea. Search Strategy. A specified literature search was performed of the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CNKI, and CBM databases. Selection criteria. All clinical controlled trials pertaining to acupuncture-related therapies for primary dysmenorrhea were included, and the quality of the trials was assessed. Data collection and analysis. Two independent reviewers were responsible for data extraction and assessment. The original data of each trial were analyzed with software (Revman 4.2), but a meta-analysis could not be carried out because of the heterogeneity of the trials. Main Results. Thirty randomized controlled trails (RCTs) and two controlled clinical trials (CCTs) were identified. Most of the trials were of low methodologic quality (six trials were Grade B and 26 trials were Grade C). Data analysis indicated that there were conflicting results regarding whether acupuncture-related therapies were more effective than control treatments. However, there was a small, methodologic sound trial of acupuncture which suggested that acupuncture was more effective than control groups (placebo acupuncture: WMD=−0.57 and 95% CI=−0.76–0.38; standard control: WMD=−.19 and 95% CI=−0.37–0.01; visitation control: WMD=−1.04 and 95% CI=−1.28–0.80). Conclusions. Because of low methodologic quality and small sample size, there is no convincing evidence for acupuncture in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. There is an urgent need for randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trials to assess the effects of acupuncture.

KeywordsAcupuncture, primary dysmenorrhea, systematic review

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Effectiveness of abdominal acupuncture for patients with obesity-type polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial.

Effectiveness of abdominal acupuncture for patients with obesity-type polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Sep;19(9):740-5. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0429. Epub 2013 May 15.Effectiveness of abdominal acupuncture for patients with obesity-type polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial.Zheng YH1, Wang XH, Lai MH, Yao H, Liu H, Ma HX.Author informationAbstractOBJECTIVE:

To assess the effectiveness of abdominal acupuncture at the endocrine and metabolic level in patients with obesity-type polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). METHODs: Eighty-six women from the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical College with a diagnosis of PCOS (body-mass index [BMI] ≥25 kg/m(2)) were randomly assigned to receive 6 months of abdominal acupuncture (once a day) or oral metformin (250 mg three times daily in the first week, followed by 500 mg three times daily thereafter). BMI, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), ovarian volume, menstrual frequency, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and Ferriman-Gallwey score were measured at the beginning of the study and after 6 months of treatment. Luteotrophic hormone (LH), testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), fasting blood glucose, 2-hour Postprandial blood glucose, fasting insulin, 2-hour postprandial blood insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) were also assessed.


According to the results at baseline and 6 months, BMI, WHR, Ferriman-Gallwey score, ovarian volume, luteotrophic hormone, ratio of luteotrophic hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone, LDL-C, triglycerides, total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, 2-hour postprandial blood glucose, fasting insulin, 2-hour postprandial blood insulin, and HOMA-IR were reduced significantly in the two groups (p<0.05). Menstrual frequency and HDL-C (p<0.05) increased significantly in both groups; follicle-stimulating hormone also increased in both groups, but the change was not significant (p>0.05). The acupuncture group showed considerable advantages over the metformin group in terms of reduced BMI and WHR and increases in menstrual frequency (p<0.05).


Abdominal acupuncture and metformin improved the endocrine and metabolic function of patients with obesity-type PCOS. Abdominal acupuncture may be more effective in improving menstrual frequency, BMI, and WHR, with few adverse effects.

PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.
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My ten-year menopause agony is over, says Julie: Actress speaks of huge relief after enduring as many as 15 hot flushes a night: acupuncture helped her

My ten-year menopause agony is over, says Julie: Actress speaks of huge relief after enduring as many as 15 hot flushes a night: acupuncture helped her | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Julie Walters has revealed how liberated she feels after at last coming through a near ten-year battle with the menopause.


Miss Walters came through the menopause tunnel two years ago and credits acupuncture and avoiding alcohol for helping her manage. 

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Acupuncture Could Ease Joint Pain From Breast Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture Could Ease Joint Pain From Breast Cancer Treatment | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |

Acupuncture could ease an extremely common side effect of breast cancer treatment, a new study suggests.

Researcher from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine found that acupuncture seems to decrease symptoms of arthralgia -- or joint pain -- from taking aromatase inhibitors. The findings are published in the European Journal of Cancer.


"This study is not the final answer, but it does provide strong evidence thatacupuncture can play a role in controlling pain for breast cancer patients with AI related arthralgia," study researcher Dr. Jun Mao, M.D., MSCE, who is an associate professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the university, said in a statement. "We saw a significant reduction in pain levels in the acupuncture groups with only very mild, short-term adverse effects."


Past research has suggested that 50 percent of people taking aromatase inhibitorsexperience joint pain, and as many as 20 percent of people taking the drugs will stop treatment due to the pain.

Sixty-seven early breast cancer patients, who were all taking an aromatase inhibitor medication, participated in the study. All of them had reported joint pain as a result of the treatment, and the pain was experienced for at least three months at a pain level of at least 4 out of 11. (Researchers chose this specific pain level because past research suggested discontinuation of this medication is more common among people with pain levels of 4 or higher.)


The study participants were broken up into three groups. The first group got electro-acupuncture, which involved receiving 10 acupuncture treatments over a 10-week period; the second group got sham acupuncture, where they received the same number of "treatments," but the needles weren't real (they retracted back when put into the skin, similar to a stage dagger); the third group was the control group who didn't get acupuncture (but, for purposes of the study, were told they'd get the acupuncture treatments at a later date). All of the study participants continued their treatment with the aromatase inhibitors during the study.


After the eight weeks, people who received the electro-acupuncture had a 43 percent decrease in their pain from before they started the study. And people who received acupuncture, versus those who were in the control group, were more likely to report "much improved" or "very much improved" pain.


However, researchers noted that those in the sham acupuncture group also experienced decreases in pain after the study period. They noted that sham acupuncture is not a true placebo because it still causes a physical sensation, so more studies will be needed to really examine its effects.


The findings follow a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and conducted by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center researchers, which showed that acupuncture seemed to improve joint pain and stiffness associated with aromatase inhibitor therapy.


Acupuncture has been shown in other research to help with other side effects of cancer treatments, too. A small Acupuncture in Medicine study showed that it helpeddecrease nerve pain caused by certain cancer drugs. Another study, presented at a 2008 meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, showed that acupuncture could decrease excessive sweating, night sweats and hot flashes among breast cancer patients.

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Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation - The Cochrane Library - Mangesi - Wiley Online Library

Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation - The Cochrane Library - Mangesi - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture and gynaecology - women's health |
Shaftesbury Clinic Bedford's insight:


Studies examining various treatment approaches are included in the review.


With regards to acupuncture, the following is an excerpt "

Acupuncture to treat breast engorgement: two studies with 293 women


Primary and secondary outcomes

Two studies examined the effects of acupuncture on breast engorgement (Kvist 2004; Kvist 2007). In both studies there were three treatment groups: advice and usual care (which might include the use of oxytocin nasal spray at the discretion of the midwife); advice and acupuncture (excluding the SP6 acu-point); and advice and acupuncture including the SP6 point. Results for resolution of symptoms were very similar for women in the two acupuncture groups in the Kvist 2007 study, and we have combined them in the data tables.


We were not able to include data from the Kvist 2004 study in analyses because results were not set out separately for the three randomised groups in the published report and were not available from the author.


Neither study provided information on the review's primary outcomes (cessation of breastfeeding and mastitis). The number of women prescribed antibiotics may represent a proxy measure of mastitis; results from Kvist 2007 show that, while women in the acupuncture group were less likely to be prescribed antibiotics, the difference between the acupuncture and control group was not statistically significant ( Analysis 1.1).


The number of women with breast abscess was reported in Kvist 2007; women in the acupuncture group were less likely to have abscess compared to women receiving routine care, but the difference between groups did not reach statistical significance (risk ratio (RR) 0.20. 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04 to 1.01, P = 0.05)."


Conclusion "In a study examining acupuncture there was some evidence that, compared with women receiving routine care, women in the acupuncture groups had greater improvements in symptoms in the days following treatment, although symptoms had resolved in most women by six days, and the study did not have sufficient power to detect meaningful differences between groups for other outcomes (such as breast abscess)."


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Research: Infertility and acupuncture briefing paper from 2006, via

Briefing paper:

"INFERTILITY AND ACUPUNCTURE: evidence for effectiveness"



Shaftesbury Clinic Bedford's insight:

Interesting paper summarising some of the earlier research papers. 

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