How can acupuncture help painful periods?

Dysmenorrhea affects as many as 90% of women and can have a significant and detrimental impact on their quality of life. Cramping ranges from mild to severe and may last for a fleeting moment or several days. A 2014 review reported as many as 29% of women studied experienced severe dysmenorrhea.

Primary dysmenorrhea is thought to result from inflammation and poor blood flow to uterine tissue. Because of its ability to decrease inflammation and increase blood flow both locally and systemically, acupuncture is an excellent treatment for painful periods. In many cases it can reduce pain immediately.


When a patient comes to me for help for painful periods, I consider the whole landscape of their health and lifestyle. I prepare a treatment plan that includes my recommended frequency of acupuncture treatment and any additional evidence-based supplements or lifestyle changes that may be appropriate. Many cases of dysmenorrhea will improve within one menstrual cycle with 1-2 acupuncture treatments and will fully resolve within 2-3 menstrual cycles. More severe cases may require 3-6 months of twice monthly acupuncture treatments, or the addition of internal herbal therapy.


If you or someone you know suffers with painful periods, acupuncture can help! Betsy Gordon Acupuncture in Northeast Portland works with persons to support many aspects of reproductive health. Schedule a free consultation online or by calling 971-341-9546.


Hong Ju, Mark Jones, Gita Mishra, The Prevalence and Risk Factors of Dysmenorrhea, Epidemiologic Reviews, Volume 36, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 104–113, https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxt009

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