Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Shanghai Tongji University researchers tabulated results based on blood tests and ultrasonography related changes. The randomized-controlled investigation demonstrates that acupuncture produces significant improvements in patient outcomes. Acupuncture had a 90.4% total treatment efficacy rate for patients with chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. Objective measurements demonstrate improvements across several findings including those of leukocytes, granulocytes, and neutrophils. In addition, reduction or elimination of stagnant pelvic fluids and inflammatory pelvic masses were significant as a result of acupuncture therapy.
Researchers from Shanghai Tongji University (China) conducted a randomized-controlled study to investigate the treatment efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. A total of 103 patients were randomly distributed into an herbal medicine control group and an acupuncture treatment group, with 52 cases and 51 cases respectively. The results were published in a research paper entitled Clinical Observations on Acupuncture as Main Treatment for Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
The statistical breakdown for each randomized group was as follows. The youngest patient in the acupuncture treatment group was 22 years old, the oldest was 55 years old. The average course of disease in the acupuncture treatment group was 2.6 years. The youngest patient in the herbal medicine control group was 24 years and the oldest was 53 years of age. The average course of disease was 2.8 years. There were no significant statistical differences in terms of age and course of the disease relevant to patient outcome measures.
The researchers note that chronic pelvic inflammatory disease often results from the acute stage of the disease, which damages bodily tissues and may cause localized pelvic adhesions (Le J.), widespread adhesions, and scarring. Citing additional references, the researchers note that the main cause of chronic PID is due to delayed or incomplete treatment of acute pelvic inflammatory disease, or when patients were physically weak during the course of the disease. The main symptoms of PID include lower abdominal pain, lumbosacral pain, and increased vaginal discharge. Patients with severe PID may experience pelvic fluid accumulation, inflammatory body masses, or low grade fevers.
We’ll take a look at the results of the study and how the results were achieved. First, as a reminder, the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi) offers several acupuncture continuing education courses on the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease. The online courses are in video and written format. The following is a quick link to one course on the topic of PID treatment with acupuncture and herbs:
The acupuncture points used in the study entitled Clinical Observations on Acupuncture as Main Treatment for Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease are listed below. The acupuncture treatment group received acupuncture at the following acupoints for all patients:
- Tianshu ST25 (Heaven’s Pivot)
- Guanyuan CV4 (Gate of Origin)
- Zigong CV4 (Palace of the Child/Uterus)
- Sanyinjiao SP6 (Three Yin Intersection)
In a semi-protocolized design, the investigators allowed for customization with additional acupoints based on differential diagnostics. For patients with blood stasis, the following acupoints were needled:
- Ligou LV5 (Woodworm Canal)
- Yinlingquan SP9 (Yin Mound Spring)
For patients with Qi deficiency and blood stasis, the following acupoints were needled:
- Zusanli ST36 (Leg Three Miles)
- Taixi KD3 (Supreme Stream)
The treatment protocol was as follows. Patients rested in a supine position. A needle of 0.8–1.2 inches was applied perpendicularly after disinfection. Pulling, pushing, and rotating techniques were used to manipulate the acupuncture needles. Regarding deqi sensations, the needle sensations were elicited to eminate from the Guanyuan (CV4) and Zigong acupoints toward the vagina and from Sanyinjiao (SP6) toward the centre of the sole. The needle retention time was 30 minutes per acupuncture session, during which the acupuncture needles were manipulated once. A TDP heat lamp was applied to warm the abdomen. Acupuncture therapy was conducted 3 times per week for 3 months. The control group was given Fuke Qianjin tablets (oral herbal PID medication). The dosage was 6 tablets, 3 times per day, for 3 months.
All patients underwent routine blood tests and ultrasonography before and after their treatments. The acupuncture treatment group had a total treatment efficacy rate of 90.4%. The herbal tablet control group obtained a 64.7% total treatment effective rate. The treatment group displayed significant improvements in reductions of leukocytes, granulocytes, and neutrophils, as well as mitigation of pelvic fluids and pelvic inflammatory masses. The Fuke Qianjin tablets achieved satisfactory patient outcomes; however, the acupuncture treatment protocol outperformed the herbal tablets by a significant margin. The results of this investigation indicate that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease.
At the Healthcare Medicine Institute, there are pre-recorded online video courses, written online courses, and live webinars for acupuncture CEUs and NCCAOM PDA acupuncture continuing education credit on many topics, including the treatment of PID. Written and pre-recorded video courses are available on-demand at any time. Live acupuncture webinars are presented at scheduled event times and are accessible on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows computers, Apple Mac computers, and more. The courses cover diagnosis and treatment according to biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The following is a brief overview of the TCM view of PID treatment.
PID is categorized in TCM under several topics including leukorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, infertility, and palpable masses. PID may involve many regions including the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, broad ligaments, peritoneum, and connective tissues. Subsequent scarring leads to complications, including infertility. According to TCM principles, PID is the invasion of damp-heat toxins leading to qi and blood stasis of the lower burner. The primary symptoms, particularly of acute PID, are leukorrhea and lower abdominal pain. In some cases, chronic PID may be asymptomatic. The acute stage involves heat more than damp and the chronic stage involves damp more than heat.
According to TCM, there are several major factors that may lead to PID. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common causes of PID. Foreign objects in the uterus, including IUDs, may also cause PID. Pelvic region surgeries, including abortions, may involve infectious complications leading to PID. Infections of the urinary bladder and large intestine may also cause PID. Appendicitis is another example of a disorder that may lead to PID. There are also several times when there is greater susceptibility to PID including postpartum, after the very first time of sexual intercourse, and after a miscarriage. Acute PID may involve a medical emergency requiring antibiotics or hospitalization. At HealthCMi, we present a thorough breakdown of treatment regimens for both acute and chronic PID with biomedicine, herbs, and acupuncture. View our online course selections to learn more.
Lu J & Shen Q. (2013). Clinical Observations on Acupuncture as Main Treatment for chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 32(8).
Le J. (2008). Obstetrics and Gynecology. Beijing: People's Medical Publishing House. 274.