Endometriosis is a relatively common problem. Between 2~22% of women are estimated to have endometriosis, climbing to 40~60% of women with dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
Endometriosis is a chronic condition. It is the presence of cells from the uterus lining (endometrial tissue) outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue can be found in the pelvic cavity, for example on the bowels, but also in other parts of the body. It still responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle in the same way than the cells in the uterus lining which leads to bleeding, inflammation and pain.
Some women are unaware that they have endometriosis or have very mild symptoms. Others however experience pain, from mild to severe, painful sex, heavy bleeding and fertility problems.
Western medicine approach to the treatment of endometriosis include painkillers such as NSAIDs, hormone treatments such as the combined oral contraceptive pill and surgery, most commonly through laparoscopy. There is no definite cure for endometriosis and the management of pain in women with endometriosis is often inadequate.
Endometriosis and Acupuncture
A 2010 study on acupuncture and endometriosis has shown that women receiving acupuncture showed a significant reduction of pain intensity after the first 10 treatments. Previous studies also show that electroacupuncture can effectively relieve endometriosis-induced dysmenorrhea and that Japanese style acupuncture may be an effective, safe, and well-tolerated adjunct therapy for endometriosis-related pelvic pain.
Acupuncture has also been shown to be efficient in the treatment of dysmenorrhea.
How does Acupuncture help with endometriosis
In Chinese Medicine, endometriosis is seen mainly as an issue with Blood Stagnation (which is exactly what it sounds like) with some associated pathologies (Heat, Cold, Qi deficiency…).
The aim of the treatment will be to reduce the pain, reduce the Blood stagnation and regulate the menstrual cycle.
The treatment is quite often linked to the woman’s cycle, the intend of the treatment depending if it’s the second part of the cycle, the time during the periods or just after the periods.
As the aim of acupuncture is to treat the whole person, other imbalances are also taken care of during the treatment so each patient will have a personalized treatment plan.
As it is often the case with acupuncture, the length of treatment will vary a lot from one person to the next. However, endometriosis usually requires regular treatment on a on longer term than other conditions, around 3 to 9 months.