Dysmenorrhea is what you have when your menstrual periods are painful. In addition to abdominal pain from cramping, as the uterus’ lining sheds, you may also experience other uncomfortable (and sometimes even unbearable) symptoms. These symptoms may include fatigue, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and mood fluctuations.
If you’re experiencing dysmenorrhea, please work with a healthcare professional to come up with a treatment plan. As you create that plan, consider ear seeds for dysmenorrhea as a complementary therapy for the condition.
Ear seeds for dysmenorrhea: What the research says
Research study 1
There’s a fairly recent research study, published in 2021, that sought to study the effects of auriculotherapy (ear acupressure) on primary dysmenorrhea. During the course of two menstrual cycles, the 41 participants in the group getting auriculotherapy received once-weekly electrical stimulation on the ears, plus ear seeds on specific dysmenorrhea ear points. They were asked to start stimulating their seeded points once their period pain started for each cycle, pressing 4-6 times daily for one minute each time. Participants would continue to press on these points daily until their period pain started to decrease.
Painkillers were allowed during this study if participants wanted to take them, but participants were asked to document use of painkillers and the researchers had ways of controlling for this variable so as to not skew results too much.
So let’s get to the good stuff…
The study’s authors drew a couple of important conclusions about ear seeds for dysmenorrhea based on their findings:
- Auriculotherapy was effective in reducing dysmenorrhea and its related symptoms (headaches, nausea, fatigue, and nervousness or anxiety)
- Auriculotherapy was considered to be safe (no significant adverse effects were reported)
Research study 2
Another study published a little earlier, in 2013, looked at the effect of ear seed acupressure, with and without additional online support and resources, on the effects of primary dysmenorrhea. Instead of having a true “control group” receiving no acupressure treatment, this study utilized a pretest/posttest design with its 100 high school participants.
In this study, the participants received ear seeds at the start of their periods. They were asked to stimulate each point four times per day until the menstrual pain subsided.
The findings from this study are promising:
- Treatment with ear seeds is effective at reducing pain and other symptoms from dysmenorrhea — and increasing self-care behavior.
- Treatment with ear seeds plus additional online support and resources was even more effective than with just ear seeds alone.
Where to place ear seeds for dysmenorrhea
In the 2021 study, these points were stimulated electrically: Shen Men, thalamus, zero, and endocrine, and anatomic points include the uterus, internal genitalia, ovary, and the supporting points include the kidney, pelvis, vagus nerve, and prostaglandin. These points were stimulated with ear seeds: Shen Men, thalamus, uterus, and pelvis.
In the 2013 study, these points were stimulated with ear seeds: Shen Men, kidney, liver, internal genitals, central rim, and endocrine.
The differences in points stimulated between the two studies, especially by the ear seeds, underscore that many different points can be therapeutic for any given condition. Sometimes trial and error is best to learn what works best for your period pain and symptom relief.
Shop ear seeds for dysmenorrhea
If you want to add ear seeds to your treatment regimen for dysmenorrhea but you’re new to ear seeding, we’d like to suggest starting off with our My Ear Seeds Self Care Kit. This kit gets you the essentials to get started, including:
- 2 sleeves of 20 ear seeds per sleeve (so, 40 seeds total) in your choice of 24K gold or silver stainless steel
- 4 alcohol wipes for cleaning your ears before you seed them
- A pair of tweezers to lift the ear seeds off the plastic plate and apply them to your ears (your fingers alone won’t work, trust us)
- A 30-minute virtual consultation to get directions over Zoom on where to place the ear seeds for dysmenorrhea
If you are a prior user of ear seeds and just need some more to refill your stash, we have a My Ear Seeds Refill Kit that gives you 80 24K gold or silver stainless steel ear seeds (your choice based on preference). Four alcohol wipes for pre-seeding cleaning are included as well.
Results vary with the ear seeds, but research tells us that consistency is key! So we’ve also developed a digital download that you can print and keep on your countertop: the 4-Week Ear Seeds Tracker. This will help you stay on track with wearing your ear seeds, stimulating your ear points, and documenting your dysmenorrhea or general health symptoms.
Vahedi, M., Hasanpoor-Azghady, S. B., Amiri-Farahani, L., & Khaki, I. (2021). Comparison of effect of auriculotherapy and mefenamic acid on the severity and systemic symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial. Trials, 22(1), 655. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05622-w
Yeh, M.-L., Hung, Y.-L., Chen, H.-H., Lin, J.-G., & Wang, Y.-J. (2013). Auricular Acupressure Combined with an Internet-Based Intervention or Alone for Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Control Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2013, 316212. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/316212