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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Sep 21;14:345. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-345.

Acupuncture for chronic pelvic inflammatory disease: a qualitative study of patients' insistence on treatment.

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Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, 12 Ji Chang Rd, Guangzhou, China.



Acupuncture is an effective complement to pharmacological therapy in the alleviation of chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It has mild or no side effects; however, a minimum of 3 months of therapy is required to guarantee a beneficial outcome. This study investigates why patients insist on acupuncture therapy to aid recuperation.


The study included a purposive sample of 15 participants diagnosed with chronic PID who had received a course of acupuncture therapy at least twice a week for a minimum of 3 months. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded, transcribed, coded and analyzed using systematic text condensation.


Four overarching themes were identified from the participants' reasons for insisting on lengthy, but in their view important, acupuncture courses. The four overarching themes were: (1) the patients' characteristics, including pregnancy aspiration and the fear of serious gynecological disease; (2) the patient-practitioner relationship, including the acupuncturist's attitude towards the patients and the explanation of the disease from a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective; (3) the characteristics of acupuncture, including the diversification of treatment modes, the synthetical effect, and no side-effects; and (4) the clinical environment, including the exchange of experience between patients and the well-equipped setting.


There were mixed reasons for patients diagnosed with chronic PID maintaining acupuncture treatments. Knowledge and understanding about the acupuncture-disease relationship were conducive to the patients' preference for acupuncture. Acupuncture as a complement to Western medicine should be further developed while maintaining these positive features. Participants reported feeling hope, confidence, and a sense of responsibility for their treatment during the process, although the treatments did not always have the expected outcome.

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