What is Endometriosis?
The endometrium is the lining womb (uterus). In women with endometriosis, the cells that are normally only found in the womb lining are found in other parts of the body. The most common places these cells are found are sites in the lower abdomen, such as the fallopian tubes, bladder, and ovaries, but endometriosis can occur in other parts of the body as well. The reason endometriosis happens is still unknown. The most common symptom is discomfort or pain, as every month these cells will, just like the womb lining, thicken and then bleed.
* Abdominal pain around period time.
* Pain during sex, urination, or bowel movements, depending on where the endometriosis is.
* Heavy or irregular periods.
* Lower back pain.
* Many women have no symptoms.
Acupuncture for Endometriosis
‘There is preliminary evidence to support acupuncture as an effective treatment for endometriosis’ – The British Acupuncture Council Fact Sheet.
When treating you we always look at you as an individual. We take into account your lifestyle, diet, stress and energy levels. Timing is also important. The acupuncture points we use are chosen according to the different phases of your menstrual cycle. Common goals for acupuncture in endometriosis are to move trapped blood in the lower abdomen, relieve pain, regulate the menstrual cycle, improve a woman’s energy levels, and boost fertility.
They British Acupuncture Council have a good fact sheet which you can click on here.
Research on Acupuncture and Endometriosis
Researchers in Austria carried out the research on a 101 women. The women were split into 2 groups. One group had 5 sessions of acupuncture, the other had 5 sessions of ‘sham’ acupuncture. The women kept a log of their menstrual pain over the next 2 months. Next both groups were given real acupuncture for 5 more weeks. The study found that both groups experienced significant pain relief, however the second group experienced pain relief only after they had the real acupuncture treatment. They conclude that acupuncture appears to be effective for endometriosis pain
Published in The European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology (Nov 2010)
Although having some of the common symptoms may lead your GP believe you may have endometriosis, the only certain way to find out is by actually looking. This is usually done with a laparoscope under local anaesthetic (laparoscopy).
Photo by Mandolin Davis