Acupuncture and PMT (Premenstrual Tension)

What is PMT (Premenstrual Tension)?

A condition characterised by nervousness, irritability, emotional instability, anxiety, depression, and possibly headaches, oedema, and occurring during the 7 to 14 days before and usually disappearing after onset of menses.

Causes of PMS

Premenstrual Tension Syndrome (PMS or PMT) appears to be related to fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone.

Treatment of PMS

Fluid retention may be relieved by reducing sodium intake and using a diuretic. For some women, hormonal manipulation is effective by oral contraceptives, progesterone, a long-acting progestin (eg, medroxyprogesterone acetate) or a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (eg, leuprolide). Tranquilizers (eg, a benzodiazepine) may be used for irritability, nervousness, and lack of control. Changing the diet (eg, increasing protein, decreasing sugars) and supplementing with vitamin B complex (especially pyridoxine, sometimes with magnesium) may help. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (eg, fluoxetine) are drugs used in the management of psychologic and physical PMS symptoms.

Acupuncture and Premenstrual Sydrome (PMS) Treatment

Within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the basic imbalance that causes PMS is liver qi stagnation. The liver in TCM is responsible for the smooth flow of qi (energy), and reflects the rise and fall of hormones in the endocrine system. In a recent study, the success rate of acupuncture in treating PMS symptoms was 77.8%, whereas it was 5.9% in the placebo group. The positive influence of acupuncture in treating PMS symptoms was ascribed to its effects on the serotoninergic and opioidergic neurotransmission that modulates various psychosomatic functions. [1]

[1] Habek D, Habek JC, Barbir A. Using acupuncture to treat premenstrual syndrome. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2002 Nov;267(1):23-6.