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      Moxibustion for Patients with Primary Dysmenorrhea at Different Intervention Time Points: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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          To investigate the effectiveness of moxibustion at different times of the menstrual cycle for patients with primary dysmenorrhea (PD).

          Patients and Methods

          Participants were 208 patients allocated to three controlled groups: one pre-menstrual treatment group (Group A), one menstrual-onset treatment group (Group B), and one waiting-list group (Group C). Groups A and B received the same intervention of moxibustion on points SP6 and RN4 but at different times. Group C, the waiting-list group, received no treatment throughout the study. Cox Menstrual Symptom Scale (CMSS) score was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were visual analog scale (VAS) score of pain intensity, self-rating anxiety scale (SAS) score, and self-rating depression scale (SDS) score. CMSS and VAS scores were obtained at the baseline stage (three cycles), treatment stage (three cycles), and follow-up stage (three cycles), a total of seven evaluations. SAS and SDS scores were obtained on the day of group allocation and the first day of the follow-up stage, a total of two evaluations.


          Baseline characteristics were comparable across the three groups. Pain duration (CMSS score) was significantly higher in Group C than in the other two groups at each evaluation (P<0.001). There was also a significant difference in the improvement in pain duration between Group B and Group C (P<0.001) throughout the trial. There were no significant changes in pain severity (CMSS score) after the 3-month treatment in Group A and Group B (P>0.05). Secondary outcomes showed that pre-menstrual moxibustion (Group A) was as effective as menstrual-onset moxibustion (Group B) in relieving pain intensity (VAS score) and negative mood (SDS and SAS scores).


          Moxibustion appears as an effective treatment for PD. Pre-menstrual application is more effective than menstrual-onset application.

          Trial Registration Chictr.org.cn Identifier


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          Most cited references 37

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              Primary dysmenorrhea: advances in pathogenesis and management.

              Primary dysmenorrhea is painful menstrual cramps without any evident pathology to account for them, and it occurs in up to 50% of menstruating females and causes significant disruption in quality of life and absenteeism. Current understanding implicates an excessive or imbalanced amount of prostanoids and possibly eicosanoids released from the endometrium during menstruation. The uterus is induced to contract frequently and dysrhythmically, with increased basal tone and increased active pressure. Uterine hypercontractility, reduced uterine blood flow, and increased peripheral nerve hypersensitivity induce pain. Diagnosis rests on a good history with negative pelvic evaluation findings. Evidence-based data support the efficacy of cyclooxygenase inhibitors, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen, and estrogen-progestin oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). Cyclooxygenase inhibitors reduce the amount of menstrual prostanoids released, with concomitant reduction in uterine hypercontractility, while OCPs inhibit endometrial development and decrease menstrual prostanoids. An algorithm is provided for a simple approach to the management of primary dysmenorrhea.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                19 October 2020
                : 13
                : 2653-2662
                [1 ]Acupuncture and Tuina School, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Natural Harmony Clinic , Auckland City, New Zealand
                [3 ]Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou Development District Hospital , Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China
                [4 ]Geriatrics Department, Tianjin Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital , Tianjin, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jie Yang; Si-yi Yu Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China Email jenny_yang_jie@126.com; cdutcmysy@gmail.com

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Liu et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 6, References: 39, Pages: 10
                Funded by: Sichuan Science and Technology Support Project;
                This trial was supported by grant 2012SZ0170 from the Sichuan Science and Technology Support Project.
                Clinical Trial Report


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