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Menstrual headaches

Hormonal fluctuations during menstrual cycle can act as triggers of migraine attacks. This may occur in the middle of the cycle, during ovulation and more often before or during menstruation.

According to data from the World Health Organization, the British NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) and the American NIH (National Institutes of Health), acupuncture is a primary, non-medicinal and entirely acceptable option for treating the various forms of a headache, including a migraine.

Many international clinical trials, such as the GERAC (2007) study, confirm that 6 out of 10 patients will see significant reductions in the intensity, duration, incidence of pain episodes, and drug use. Therapy with acupuncture achieves  47% to 52.6% reduction in days with pain, for at least 6 months after the end of treatment (Linde et al. 2007).

In addition, many laboratory studies have clarified how acupuncture works and confirm what the Chinese have observed, thousands of years ago : Acupuncture offers analgesia as it stimulates nerve pathways that lead to production of endorphins and changes the way the brain and spinal cord perceive pain (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987). (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003), modifies the extracranial and intracranial blood flow (Park 2009) and regulates other elements involved in the pathophysiology of a migraine (Shi 2010, Zhong 2007).

In patients with menstrual migraines, acupuncture, which is a holistic therapeutic method, treats also accompanying symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome or more rarely of ovulation that often coexist, such as sleeping, mood and behavioral disorders, muscular pains in the neck and shoulders, dysmenorrhea, and psychosomatic disorders, mainly irritable bowel and frequent urination.

Acupuncture therapy, both in a migraine and other forms of a headache, is administered at a rate of two sessions per week, twenty minutes long, in about twelve sessions. Improvement is expected from 2nd to 3rd week of treatment (4th-6th acupuncture), up to one month after the last acupuncture and lasts from 9 months to years. Repetition of sessions will take place when recurrences significantly affect the quality of life of the patient.

In conclusion, acupuncture therapy has very good results, making it a valuable tool for limiting headaches, treating concomitant symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and therefore improving the quality of life.