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A Mixed-Methods Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women

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By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Abstract

This case study presents my journey and lessons learned from a mixed-methods randomized controlled feasibility trial of a specific style of acupuncture for chronic pelvic pain in women. I chose this subject matter because chronic pelvic pain is a challenging and complex condition that is common among women of reproductive age. Chronic pelvic pain can be associated with conditions such as endometriosis (tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus is found outside the uterus, causing pain) and/or irritable bowel syndrome. Standard medical and surgical treatments are often unsatisfactory. I believed that acupuncture might be an option for this group of women. To test this supposition, I needed to do a large study that had the right number of participants. First, I conducted a feasibility study to find out if I could recruit and retain participants and if the study’s methodology (the process of conducting the study) was acceptable to the participants. Thirty women with chronic pelvic pain were randomized into (similar idea to the toss of a coin where each participant has an equal chance of being allocated to one of the three interventions): The balance method electro-acupuncture treatment (acupuncture + Chinese medicine health consultation), Chinese medicine health consultation alone, or the National Health Service standard care. To assess the interventions, I asked the participants to complete paper questionnaires (quantitative approach). I also included three focus group discussions and semi-structured telephone interviews (qualitative approach) to gain an in-depth understanding of their experience of the study.

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