Acupuncture in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Premenstrual Syndrome

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology defines PMS as “The cyclic occurrence of symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with some aspects of life, and that appear with consistent and predictable relationship to the menses [menstrual period].” The mood changes surrounding this condition have been described as early as the time of the ancient Greeks. However, it was not until 1931 that this disorder was officially recognized by the medical community.

About 80% of women experience some premenstrual symptoms (e.g. breast tenderness, food cravings, weight gain, trouble concentrating, and fatigue). About 2% to 6% of women are believed to have a more severe form known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Some of the known causes of PMS are hormone fluctuations including the serotonin, low levels of vitamins & minerals, and diet high in salt, sugar, and caffeine. When the researchers pooled data from studies comparing acupuncture with hormonal medications, sham (or fake) acupuncture, or no treatment at all, acupuncture was about 50% better at improving PMS symptoms than all other treatments combined. The pattern was the same when they looked just at studies that compared acupuncture to contraceptive pills and just at those that tested acupuncture against sham acupuncture. The positive influence of acupuncture can be ascribed to its effects on the serotonin and natural opioid neurotransmission that modulates various psychosomatic functions.