New Study: Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Can Help Alleviate Chronic Pelvic Pain

By Kathleen Kaye on March 23, 2012

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal Medicine (CHM) may help in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain (CPP), reported a new study from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) published in an opinion paper last Wednesday.

Acupuncture and CHM for Chronic Pelvic Pain

During their investigation, the researchers looked at the evidence relating acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine with the treatment of diseases known to be associated with CCP. They reviewed several studies and clinical trials wherein acupuncture and CHM were used to relieve pain brought about by dysmenorrhoea, IBS and pelvic inflammatory diseases. For instance, in two small trials cited in the Cochrane review, it was found that acupuncture helps reduce the symptoms of dysmenorrhoea, having the same level of effect with that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NADs) but with no known adverse effects. However, there were limitations on the reviewed studies which weakens such assertion, and that refers to the use of small-scale trials.

Professor George Lewith from the Complementary and Integrated Medicine Research Unit, University of Southampton and the lead author of the study pointed out that their investigation was not sufficient enough because of the poorly-designed trials. For the results to be taken as strong facts, rigorous investigations are required. Professor Lewith has made it clear that their findings should be considered only as preliminary evidence.

What is Chronic Pelvic Pain?

It is estimated that one in every six women is likely to suffer from pelvic pain. While it is most common in women, it also affects men. The pain can be intense and would normally last for 6 months. A significant number of sufferers may also have associated problems such as sexual dysfunction, bowel disorders and bladder dysfunction. CPP is the most common reason for urgent laparoscopic examination in the UK. Aside from the health problems mentioned in the study, it is also linked to urinary tract infection, miscarriage, rupture of ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy and other pelvic inflammatory diseases.

Management

CPP is a condition that is most often misunderstood. Until now, the cause remains to be a wonder for health experts and that also means that there’s still no exact cure for it. It must be noted however, that chronic pelvic pain is not a disease. It is a symptom. At present, people with CPP are instructed to deal with their condition through multidisciplinary management approach which will depend on the diagnosis. This involves integration and proper knowledge of the entire pelvic organ and other systems including the neurologic, psychiatric and musculoskeletal systems.

The researchers recommend people who are considering acupuncture or CHM to only get it from a professional practitioner that is registered with any of the major acupuncture associations in the UK such as the British Medical Acupuncture Society, Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and British Acupuncture Council.

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