Acupuncture for Menstrual Cramps: Causes, Symptoms, and Acupuncture Benefits


Acupuncture for menstrual cramps may be a new and effective way to help women with menstrual troubles. Unfortunately, a majority of women experience menstrual pain and discomfort. However, there aren’t many long-term treatments with low risk of side effects. However, acupuncture may be helpful in providing relief from menstrual pain and other related symptoms.


menstrual cramps
Photo by Pablo Guerrero


An overview of menstrual cramps

A whopping 9 out of 10 women experience pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, and other symptoms during menstruation. Many women have normalized experiencing dysmenorrhea and discomfort during their periods, basically treating it as something that is as much a fact of life as having periods. However, painful menstruation, period cramps, and other forms of discomfort don’t have to be something that you just have to power through.


You can always deal with monthly period cramps by taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or one of the various forms of birth control. However, you also have the option of undergoing acupuncture for menstrual cramps, which has been proven to be effective in helping ease the dysmenorrhea and other symptoms.



Menstrual cramps and pain can range from mild to severe, and usually occurs in the lower abdomen and lower back. It can last for two to four days, though if the pain lasts longer and becomes extreme, you should seek medical attention right away.


Pain in the lower abdomen and lower back isn’t the only symptom that you may experience during menstruation. Other symptoms such as constipation, loose bowels, bloating, dizziness, nausea, a general feeling of discomfort, and headaches are also common. Normally, these symptoms won’t lead to complications, but they can make things inconvenient and can disrupt your school, work, or personal life.



Menstrual pain is common largely because of the mechanism that enables menstruation to happen. During menstruation, the contraction of uterine muscles enables the expulsion of blood and excess uterine lining. When this happens, it involves a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins, which are associated with pain.


However, there are also other conditions that may cause dysmenorrhea. Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cervical stenosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and adenomyosis can also lead to menstrual cramps.


Other than these conditions, there are risk factors that can make it more likely for you to experience dysmenorrhea. If you smoke, get stressed a lot, have a family history of dysmenorrhea, have a heavy period, or have an irregular menstrual cycle, you’re at a higher risk of menstrual cramps.


When to see your doctor

Menstrual cramps can be a normal thing for many women — a natural consequence of a natural process. However, when menstrual cramps become severe or extreme, they can be indicative of an underlying medical condition that will likely need further treatment and medical attention.


It’s normal for women who began having their periods at an age younger than 11 to experience dysmenorrhea. However, if you’re over the age of 25 and you only just started having menstrual cramps, you may need to see your doctor to see if there’s anything wrong. Also, if your cramps have begun to get progressively worse, you should undergo medical examination.


If your dysmenorrhea isn’t caused by an underlying symptom, it tends to lessen in severity as you age. It’s also likely to get better once you have given birth.



Acupuncture for menstrual cramps

acupuncture for menstrual cramps
Let acupuncture help release you from discomfort during your period. Photo by David Hofmann/


While it may seem like NSAIDs and contraceptives are the only effective ways to deal with menstrual pain, there are actually other changes you can make to make your periods somewhat easier to endure. There are certain lifestyle changes you can make, like quitting smoking or eating healthier. However, acupuncture is also an effective way to make menstrual cramps a thing of the past.


The basics of acupuncture

Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It works on the premise that each individual has a life or energy flow called qi (pronounced “chee”). When the flow of qi is disrupted, or is concentrated in certain areas of the body, it can result in various kinds of illnesses.


Qi flows through points in the body called meridians. To restore the natural flow of qi, acupuncturists insert fine needles into acupuncture points known to be related to the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing.


While having needles inserted into your skin can be intimidating, you actually have very little to fear from acupuncture. When side effects occur, most of them are due to careless or untrained acupuncturists.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you can rest assured that we take utmost care in treating our patients. We use only single-use, sterilized needles. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University and has years of experience in TCM. With us, you’ll be in good hands.


How acupuncture can help

Researchers have found that acupuncture for menstrual cramps can be effective at providing relief that can last for a period of 12 months. Multiple acupuncture sessions may be necessary, but this is something that you can discuss with your licensed acupuncturist. There is evidence that the more sessions you undergo, the more significant the improvements will be.


Thus, acupuncture can be a new form of treatment that can help women relieve menstrual pain. Researchers have also found that women have normalized menstrual pain perhaps too much. Women actually consider even severe or abnormal symptoms to be something they shouldn’t worry about. Even so, going to your doctor and to the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic for a consultation may be worth the trouble.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has been providing the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas with holistic and all-natural health care since 1986. Our Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram, took over the clinic in 2016. While she has extensive experience in treating various kinds of ailments, she also specializes in women’s health. Thus, you can trust her to be skilled in providing you with acupuncture for menstrual cramps and other symptoms.


You can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at to make an appointment or schedule a consultation with Tram. Tram can also conduct consultations over the phone or via video call. Contact us now and begin your journey to holistic health.