Can acupuncture help with endometriosis?
The answer is yes, acupuncture can help those suffering with the chronic and often debilitating medical condition, endometriosis. And, ahead of Endometriosis Awareness Month in March 2020, I wanted to raise awareness of the positive impact acupuncture can have for sufferers.
What is endometriosis?
This condition 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 way to escape.
This internal bleeding can lead to irritation, inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue. According to the latest statistics*, endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women in the UK.
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 of painful 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.
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, the practice of 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 in which energy, or Chi flows through. It is believed that destruction of these paths causes physical and emotional imbalance. The insertion of acupuncture needles works to restore mental and physical wellness by stimulating certain pressure points within the body. This stimulation releases endorphins and allows the free flow of energy to continue.
I am trained in both Medical and Traditional Chinese Medical Acupuncture. I also travelled to China, the birthplace of acupuncture to study alongside the best in the field to perfect my technique. I now use acupuncture in combination with osteopathy and have treated patients with conditions from pain to addiction, receiving great testimony to the benefits of using the two treatments together.
Using fine needles just under the skin at particular points stimulates the nerves within the skin and muscle. Doing so releases the body’s natural pain relievers, endorphin and serotonin, which alters how pain signals are received.
What do studies show?
When looking at the effect that acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine can have on treating endometriosis, the results are pretty conclusive.
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 my word for it. This is what one of my 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!” Alison Gardiner
As I’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, I’d be happy to help.