Auricular acupressure for pain relief in adolescents with dysmenorrhea: a placebo-controlled study.

Author: Yeh ML, Hung YL, Chen HH, Wang YJ.
School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med.
Date published: 2013 Apr
Other: Volume ID: 19 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 313-8 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0665 , Word Count: 273

Primary dysmenorrhea is a common problem among menstruating adolescents and young women. It may cause physical distress and result in school absenteeism and reduced physical activity. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of auricular acupressure on menstrual pain and distress in adolescents with dysmenorrhea.
A single-blind, placebo-controlled design was used.
Participants were obtained from one senior high school in northern Taiwan.
One hundred and thirteen (113) adolescent participants with primary dysmenorrhea were recruited and assigned to the experimental or control group by a coin toss.
The experimental group received auricular acupressure applied to six true acupoints (shenmen, Kidney, Liver, Internal Genitals, Central Rim, and Endocrine). The control group received six sham acupoints without effects on dysmenorrhea. All participants were instructed to press each acupoint for 1 minute, 4 times a day for 2 days.
The outcomes were assessed by rating dysmenorrhea severity on a visual analogue scale (VAS) and using the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) and Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ).
Between-group differences were found in VAS and MDQ after the interventions. Within-group differences were found in the score changes of VAS, MDQ, and SF-MPQ during the interventions for both groups.
Auricular acupressure relieves menstrual pain and distress in high-school adolescents. The findings may serve as a basis for using auricular acupressure to treat dysmenorrhea in adolescents. There was pain reduction with sham as well as with true acupoint acupressure, but the latter was significantly greater. The sham acupoint may not be used as a control for auricular acupoint and qualitative evaluation of dysmenorrhea should be added to the evaluation by SF-MPQ in future studies.
PMID: 23130943