advertisement
10 June 2009

Acupuncture soothes heartburn

Acupuncture can help ease symptoms in pregnant women with upset stomachs, a small new study from Brazil shows.

0

Acupuncture can help ease symptoms in pregnant women with upset stomachs, a small new study from Brazil shows.

Pregnancy can cause a host of gastrointestinal woes, including heartburn, reflux, and bloating, Dr Joao Bosco Guerreiro da Silva of Rio Preto Medical College in Sao Jose do Rio Preto and his colleagues note in their report. While many studies have looked at acupuncture for treating vomiting and nausea in pregnancy, they add, there has been no research on whether it is helpful for other pregnancy-related stomach symptoms.

How the study was done
To investigate, the researchers randomly assigned 42 pregnant women with dyspepsia to undergo acupuncture or standard treatment for 8 weeks.

Every two weeks, the researchers interviewed the women about their heartburn symptoms, how many antacid tablets they used, and how their symptoms affected their eating and sleeping.

Six women dropped out of the study, including five in the control group. Heartburn symptom intensity fell by at least half in 75% of the acupuncture patients and 44% of those in the control group. Seven women in each group used antacids; for those in the acupuncture group, average use fell by 6.3 doses, compared to an increase of 4.4 doses in the control group.

At the end of the study, 15 of the 20 women (75%) in the acupuncture group said they had at least a 50% improvement in eating, and 14 (70%) had this degree of improvement in sleeping. Among the control group women, 31% and 25% showed 50% improvement in their eating and sleeping, respectively.

A word of caution
There were no side effects of the treatment, and no differences between the infants born to the women in the acupuncture and control groups. The researchers caution against using acupuncture points in the lower back or lower abdomen in pregnant women, due to possible concerns that needling could trigger contractions.

"This technique should be further studied in prospective randomised studies of large populations to confirm our findings in effectiveness and the absence of adverse effects," da Silva and his team write. "It is simple to apply and if used in an appropriate manner can reduce the need for medication."

(Reuters Health, June 2009)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Choose wisely... »

Healthy diet may extend kidney patients' lives Healthy diet protects teens against later weight gain

Finding the right diet for you

With so many fad diets out there, it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. Dietitian Mpho Tshukudu gives advice on how to find and follow the right diet.

Decor danger! »

Sick building syndrome FAQ: Sick building syndrome What is sick building syndrome?

Your wallpaper might be making you sick

Fungus growing on wallpaper might contribute to 'sick building syndrome', causing symptoms similar to flu and allergies.