Study: Acupuncture And Herbal Medicine May Relieve Chronic Pelvic Pain
By Rebecca Lim | Health & Medicine
March 26, 2012
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may be useful in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain and related conditions, say U.K. experts in a new opinion paper.
AsianScientist (Mar. 26, 2012) – Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may be useful in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain (CPP) and related conditions, say experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in a new opinion paper.
Chronic pelvic pain affects one in six women and is defined as intermittent or constant pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis for over six months. Some women with the condition turn to complementary medicine to help relieve their symptoms.
Acupuncture, which involves inserting fine needles into specific points distributed over the body surface to induce a local and systemic healing response, is a particularly popular option.
In this opinion piece, although the authors could find no specific trial regarding the use of acupuncture in CPP, they identified trials on closely related conditions such as dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), pelvic inflammatory disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, all of which are known to contribute to CPP.
Two small trials included in a recent Cochrane review found that acupuncture treatment significantly reduced menstrual symptoms compared to standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However more research is needed in this area, they cautioned.
A Cochrane review of Chinese herbal medicine for dysmenorrhoea that included 39 randomized controlled trials reported promising results for herbal medicine when compared to the use of pharmaceutical drugs such as NSAIDs and the oral contraceptive pill. However some of these trials were limited by poor methodological quality and small sample sizes.
The authors maintain that while compelling evidence of efficacy relating to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is currently lacking, they may have roles to play in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
“Some small trials suggest that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may be beneficial for chronic pelvic pain,” said lead author Professor George Lewith, from the Complementary and Integrated Medicine Research Unit at the University of Southampton.
“Many women use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for chronic pelvic pain so this area clearly requires further rigorous investigation and we would support further well-designed research for this problematic condition.”
The authors recommend that anyone considering acupuncture treatment in the U.K. should find a practitioner registered with the British Acupuncture Council, the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the British Medical Acupuncture Society.
Likewise, patients considering herbal medicine in the U.K. are encouraged to first consult members of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine or the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The article can be found at (PDF, 204KB): (2012) Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain.
Source: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.