A systematic review of the efficacy comparison of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea

Ann Palliat Med. 2020 Sep;9(5):3288-3292. doi: 10.21037/apm-20-1734.


Background: Dysmenorrhea is one of the most common symptoms in gynecology. It refers to people who experience lower abdominal pain, swelling, backache, or another discomfort before and after menstruation or during menstruation, which seriously affects the quality of life and work. Clinically, there are many methods to treat primary dysmenorrhea, among which acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are beneficial. This work aimed to test the efficacy of acupuncture and TCM in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea and hope to supply more reliable evidence for clinical treatment.

Methods: We searched articles from the Wanfang database and China National Knowledge Infrastructure and collected the clinical, randomized, or quasi-randomized controlled trials of acupuncture compared with TCM for primary dysmenorrhea. We tested the quality and data of the included studies according to the Cochrane criteria and compiled detailed systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Results: Seven articles (including 492 patients) on acupuncture and TCM for primary dysmenorrhea were included in the systematic review. Seven studies were included in the final analysis, and there was no heterogeneity among the studies (P=0.98, I2=0%). The results showed that the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture was better than TCM (OR: 4.86, 95% CI: 2.84-8.33, Z =5.75, P<0.00001).

Conclusions: The efficacy of acupuncture is superior to TCM in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea.

Keywords: Primary dysmenorrhea; acupuncture; systematic review; traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • China
  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Quality of Life