A randomised controlled cross-over trial
The aim of the study was to examine whether acupuncture is an effective additional pain treatment for endometriosis.
One hundred and one women aged 20–40 years participated and were randomised into two groups, each receiving two units of 10 acupuncture treatments, twice a week over a period of five weeks. Group 1 (n = 47) received verum-acupuncture during the first series, and group 2 (n = 54) received non-specific acupuncture. After the first unit of 10 treatments, an observation period of at least two menstruation cycles was set, followed by a second unit, according to a cross-over design. Prior to the study (during a two-week run-in period) the patients’ actual pain intensity was surveyed. Throughout the study period, participants were asked to keep a ‘pain protocol’, in which they defined and recorded their pain according to the 10-point visual analogue scale (VAS).
Eighty-three out of a total of 101 patients finished the study. Group 1 showed a significant reduction of pain intensity after the first 10 treatments. In comparison, group 2 showed significant pain relief only after the cross-over.
Acupuncture treatment on specific acupuncture points appears to be an effective pain treatment for endometriosis, but this has to be confirmed in further study.
Authors: Katharina Rubi-Klein, Elisabeth Kucera-Sliutz, Helmut Nissel, Michaela Bijak, Daniela Stockenhuber, Matthias Fink, Evemarie Wolkenstein