In 2018 Cochrane collaboration did a review of acupuncture and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In an attempt to evaluate current evidence, the researchers searched for high-quality studies and included 5 of them in this review. There was data from 277 participating women included.
Acupuncture and acupressure may improve both physical and psychological symptoms of PMS when compared to a sham control. This rules out that the improvements were due to the placebo effect. There were no reported side effects.
Many interventions have been used to treat PMS, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and hormonal interventions. However, they all come with negative side effects. That’s why acupuncture is such a welcome natural option. The researchers concluded that considering the potential of acupuncture, it needs to be further rigorously studied.
How acupuncture helps with PMS?
Modern studies have shown that acupuncture may promote the release of specific neuropeptides. This cascades into important physiological effects, even activating your self-repair mechanisms. Furthermore, acupuncture can modulate endogenous opioids, that have similar effect to morphine.
By needling of specific acupuncture points we may alter blood flow to the uterus. It has been shown to modulate prostaglandin levels. These effects can relieve menstrual pain.
Women with PMS have elevated levels of inflammation. And acupuncture can reduce inflammatory markers. This effect may be a primary pathway how it helps with PMS symptoms.