Endometriosis Awareness Month: Can acupuncture help ease the pain?
With March marking Endometriosis Awareness Month, it seems an ideal time to raise awareness of the positive impact acupuncture can have for sufferers of this chronic and often debilitating medical condition.
According to the latest statistics*, endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. And celebrities including Amy Schumer, Alexa Chung and Chrissy Teigen have spoken out about their struggle.
What is endometriosis?
According to the NHS, endometriosis is one of the most painful health conditions to cope with.
It occurs when cells – like the ones in the lining of the womb – are found elsewhere in the body, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvis. Each month these cells react in the same way as those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. But, unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no escape.
This internal bleeding can lead to irritation, inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
- Very painful menstrual cramps
- Pain with periods that gets worse over time
- Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
- Pain during or after sex
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements or urination during menstrual periods
- Heavy and/or long menstrual periods
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Women with endometriosis may also have gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhoea, constipation or bloating – especially during their periods.
So, how can acupuncture help with endometriosis?
Traditional treatments for endometriosis include the steroid Danazol, painkillers like Ibuprofen or Paracetamol, or in some cases, an operation. But if you’re looking for an alternative complementary therapy, why not try acupuncture?
Founded over 300 years ago in China, acupuncture was developed to help maintain the body’s overall balance. After careful examination of their patients, Chinese practitioners observed that there are passages within the body known as meridians through which energy, or Chi flows.
It is believed that destruction of these paths causes physical and emotional imbalance. And the insertion of acupuncture needles works to restore mental and physical wellness by stimulating pressure points within the body. This stimulation releases endorphins and allows the free flow of energy to continue.
Osteopath, Denise Callaghan is trained in both Medical and Traditional Chinese Medical Acupuncture. She has also studied alongside experts in China to perfect her technique. Denise now uses acupuncture in conjunction with osteopathy and has treated patients with conditions from pain to addiction, receiving great testimony to the benefits of this combined approach
What do studies show?
In a 2006 study in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, researchers concluded that the combined use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine had a ‘significant effect on endometriosis and the adverse reactions are less than with danazol’.
Whilst another study in the same year confirmed that the Shu-Mu acupuncture point combination needling method had an ‘obvious therapeutic effect on endometriosis with lower adverse effects than danazol’.
Acupuncture has been used to treat pain for centuries, but new research has shown that it can ‘significantly reduce period pain by at least 50% for up to a year.
But don’t just take our word for it. This is what one of Denise’s patients had to say:
“Denise is very supportive and knowledgeable. I have suffered from severe premenstrual and menstrual pain since I was 14. I am now 40. After attending Denise for acupuncture treatment, the pain is minimal. Thank you Denise!”
As we’ve written previously, acupuncture is safe for everyone to use and it can make you feel very relaxed.
The idea of needles may suggest otherwise, but acupuncture is also relatively painless (honest!). The needles are so fine that even confirmed needle-haters may hardly notice them. Sometimes there’s tingly or a dull ache, but that’s a sign that Chi is being stimulated.
Please do get in touch today if you’d like to find out more about how acupuncture can help with your endometriosis, Denise would be happy to help.