The influence of acupuncture on reducing women's pain from primary dysmenorrhoea: a randomised controlled trial

  • Crowther, Caroline A. (PI)
  • Petrucco, Oswald (CoI)
  • Smith, Caroline A. (CoI)
  • Beilby, Justin (CoI)

Project Details


Dysmenorrhoea refers to painful uterine cramps during menstruation. It is a common condition that affects as many as 50 percent of women. Severe menstrual pain can lead to an absence from work, or attending school, or interference with day to day lives. This condition is commonly treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or the oral contraceptive pill. Studies suggest that between 30-50 percent of the adult population use some form of complementary medicine. Acupuncture, the insertion of fine needles, into specific areas of the body is increasingly being used to treat a number of conditions. It has been indicated in several non-clinical studies and two small clinical trials to be effective with treating dysmenorrhoea. Evidence from the Cochrane systematic review of acupuncture to treat primary dysmenorrhoea concluded acupuncture may be helpful. This study assesses whether women with dysmenorrhoea can be successfully treated using acupuncture. Women experiencing dysmenorrhoea with no underlying pelvic pathology will be offered the opportunity to take part in the trial. Women interested in taking part will be randomly allocated into one of two groups. One group of women will receive acupuncture, a second group will receive control (sham) acupuncture. The second study group involves the insertion of needles away from acupuncture points. Women will receive the treatment intervention for three menstrual cycles and then followed up for a further six months. Women will be asked to report on the pain they experience during menses and to report any time taken off from work or school, disruption with day to day activities, or the need for additional pain relief. In 2005 we expect to report on the effectiveness of this treatment on dysmenorrhoea and whether this treatment is acceptable to women. If the results are positive, it is hoped this will become an option available to women for the management of their dysmenorrhoea.

Funding AUD 310,875
Effective start/end date1/01/0331/12/05


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