Dysmenorrhoea is a very common complaint that refers to painful menstrual cramps in abdomen. Primary dysmenorrhoea refers to pain of an unknown cause (i.e. no medical condition is identified). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatorydrugs or the contraceptive pill have been used successfully for treatment but more women are looking for non-drug therapies. Chinese herbal medicine has been used for centuries in China and it is currently used in public hospitals in China for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. A Systematic review found promising evidence for the use of Chinese herbal medicine in reducing menstrual pain in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea, compared to conventional medicine such as NSAIDs and the oral contraceptive pill, acupuncture and heat compression. No significant adverse effects were identified in this review. However the findings should be interpreted with caution due to the generally low methodological quality of the included studies.
Please note that under national law claims of efficacy of treatment are required to be made with reference to evidence of a high standard. Traditionally acupuncture and moxibustion have been used to treat a wide variety of conditions however not all have been able to demonstrate evidence of efficacy within the constraints of clinical trials.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Nicole Trudgeon (Chinese medicine Practitioner). Nicole is a practitioner of acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine (AHPRA registered) at her Booragoon clinic and is a Chinese Medicine Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Perth campus.