Endometriosis is quite a common problem and health authorities believe that it affects about 22 percent of women. This chronic condition can be found in 40 to 60 percent of women with dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue (cells from the uterus lining) grows outside the uterus. The cells from the uterine lining can develop in the pelvic cavity, (on the bowels) as well as in in other parts of the body. These cells can be still affected by hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle as the cells in the uterus lining resulting in pain, inflammation, and bleeding.
Endometriosis can have very mild symptoms and sometimes it doesn’t produce any symptoms at all. Some women are not really aware that they have this condition at all. Other sufferers, however, experience mild to severe pain, heavy bleeding, painful sex, and fertility issues.
The approach used by Western medicine to treat endometriosis includes surgery (laparoscopy), hormone therapies like oral contraceptive pill combined with the use of NSAIDs and other painkillers. No real cure for endometriosis has yet been developed and Western medicine’s ways for managing the pain is usually inadequate.
Acupuncture and Endometriosis
A study done four years ago showed that that after receiving the first 10 acupuncture treatments, women suffering from endometriosis experienced a significant decrease in the severity of their pain. Older studies also reveal that Japanese style acupuncture can be a well-tolerated, safe, and effective complementary treatment for pelvic pain associated with endometriosis and that electro-acupuncture can effectively relieve dysmenorrhea induced by endometriosis.
In the treatment of dysmenorrhea, acupuncture has also been shown to be highly effective.
How does Acupuncture Treat Endometriosis?
Endometriosis from the perspective of Chinese Medicine is considered to be an issue related to Blood Stagnation along with certain connected pathologies (Qi deficiency, Cold, Heat, etc.).
The treatment focuses on the reduction of pain and Blood stagnation and regulating the menstrual cycle.
The treatment is usually tied to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Other imbalances are also taken care of during the treatment as acupuncture is designed to treat the whole person. Each patient therefore, will receive a personalized plan of treatment.
As is typical with any acupuncture treatment, the duration of the treatment will depend on the symptoms shown, the constitution of the patient, and how well the patient responds to the treatment. For endometriosis, treatment is long term and typically lasts for at least three to nine months.