In the past, we have both expressed cautious support of alternative therapies that either a) work, b) do no harm, and c) are too costly. We support expanding our minds and pushing science beyond traditional measures. So this study we came across on acupuncture and premenstrual syndrome was a good opportunity for us to do just that.
Acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine through the use of needles, has become popular in the U.S. for relieving certain types of pain, among other uses. PMS is a very common disorder affecting millions of women, causing them to feel bloated and in pain around the time of menstruation. So, we are glad to see a study of the ability of acupuncture to help relieve premenstrual symptoms in women.
A meta-analysis in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at a combination of ten previous studies that have looked at this issue. The studies, which were not statistically significant, still found that a 50% improvement in symptoms of PMS might occur for those who received the acupuncture.
We’ve both actually had our own experiences with acupuncture before (just related to PMS!). So if you’re wondering whether we would recommend acupuncture for PMS? Even though it appears it may only help about 50% of women, we support trying it because there really are no long-term side effects. If you are able to pay for it or get your insurance to pay for it, then it is definitely worth a try, even though it isn’t something we usually prescribe.