vitamin K - essential to human health

Acupuncture and Vitamin K or Vitamin K3 May Relieve Dysmenorrhea

Clinical studies show forms of vitamin K and acupuncture could help relieve painful menstruation.

Dysmenorrhea, or pelvic pain related to menstruation, is a common gynecologic complaint. It's often so painful that it can interfere with work and school for many women. How can a vitamin and Traditional Chinese Medicine help?(35)

Rates of Dysmenorrhea and Common Treatments

Prevalence rates for non-severe dysmenorrhea range between 33 and 95% depending on geographic location. About 90% of those with dysmenorrhea find at least some pain relief with over-the-counter drugs (e.g., Tylenol® and Advil®). NSAIDs offer complete pain relief for 55-70% of women with non-severe cases.(35)

Oral contraceptives are often prescribed for dysmenorrhea as well. Both types of drug treatments can have side effects and risks associated with their use.(35)

Natural Treatment Options for Dysmenorrhea

Another treatment option for dysmenorrhea is acupuncture point injection with vitamin K3 or vitamin K4. Vitamin K1 injections may also help.(35101)

Results of 2 clinical studies showed the following:

Table 10: Clinical Evidence of Vitamin K Effects on Dysmenorrhea

Multi-Center Pilot Study

40 females (ages 14 to 25) with severe recurrent dysmenorrhea:(35)

  • On the first day of menstrual pain, participants at the Chinese facility were injected bilaterally with 4 mg of vitamin K3at the San Yin Jiao/Spleen 6 acupuncture point.
  • Italian study participants were similarly treated but with 5 mg of vitamin K4.

Different forms of vitamin K were given because vitamin K3 was not available in Italy.(35)

In both countries the participants experienced rapid and significant pain relief, but the Chinese subjects had greater pain relief. The researchers speculated that this may be because of the different form of vitamin K used.(35)

Of the 23 trial subjects that received only one treatment, 18 had continued pain relief with less interference in their daily life for four menstrual cycles. The remaining subjects requested a second treatment. It was unclear if this was because of recurrent pain or in an attempt to prevent future painful periods.(35)

During follow-up, duration and intensity of pain returned to original levels after seven menstrual cycles. This regression began after the fourth cycle.(35)

Randomized Pilot Crossover Study

20 women, ages 19-25, with 6 continuous months of painful menstrual periods were enrolled. 14 participants completed the study, but most of the drop outs were due to relocation or lack of availability. 2 participants left for unknown reasons.(101)

Participants were randomly assigned to one of 2 protocols, both given on the first day of their menstrual period:(101)

  • A vitamin K1 injection in the Spleen-6 acupuncture point for 2 months. This was followed by 2 months of a saline injection in a non-acupuncture point.
  • The reverse: 2 months of a saline injection in a non-acupuncture point, followed by a vitamin K1 injection in the Spleen-6 acupuncture point for 2 months.
Vitamin K reduced intensity and duration of painful dysmenorrhea symptoms. Although the results only approached statistical significance, researchers suggested a larger study group was needed to truly assess the benefits.(101)

How Does It Work?

Researchers in the first study determined prior to the trial that vitamin K3 injection in muscle could relieve dysmenorrhea within 30 minutes by relaxing the uterine muscle spasms. In addition, when the vitamin K3 was injected at an acupuncture point pain relief was accelerated.(35)

The Menstrual Disorder Clinic of the Department of Integration of Western and Traditional Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital at Fudan University in Shanghai) or at one of two clinical sites in Italy.(35)
Also known as menadione.(35)
Also known as menadiol sodium diphosphate.(35)
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