In gynecology the traditional path for treatment for most common women's health conditions includes primarily 2 options: birth control and surgery. Many traditional gynecologists favor these methods as they are easily studied and since we live in an evidence based society most doctors seek out evidence based protocols as the standard of care. However these traditional treatment methods can actually be very limiting as they don't "regulate" hormonal production but "suppress" it and because they can paint with such a broad brush they often have side effects for many women. It's like always driving a Hummer when a Fiat will do!
Acupuncture as a treatment for hot flashes from cancer therapy
In research recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology acupuncture was shown to help relieve the symptoms of hot flashes that can be induced by breast cancer treatment. This study evaluated the use of electoacupuncture against a commonly prescribed medication for these symptoms gabapentin. In this randomized controlled trial of 120 patients it was shown that the electroacupuncture was a more effective treatment regimen when compared to gabapentin, sham acupuncture or placebo over an 8 week period.
Acupuncture is a integral part of traditional Chinese medicine that has been shown in multiple studies to be effective in the treatment of chronic pain. The theory behind how acupuncture works can be explained differently by different people however in essence it is a therapy that is geared at releasing and re-balancing energy flow throughout the body. Electroacupuncture is different from regular acupuncture in that a very low dose of current is used in conjunction with acupuncture needles and typically stimulates a wider area. This therapy can also be utilized with trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation devices or TENS units as well which makes it a great option for patients with needle phobias.
Many times what makes it hard to get through breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) is the damage that the treatment does to the body while it is killing the cancer as well. It also can be frustrating to have to continuously medicate the symptoms of treatment away. Acupuncture is a therapy that can allow for treatment of symptoms without a medication which for many patients can be a lifesaver. If you are interested in learning more about this study please check out the study here.