Endometriosis is when there is endometrial tissue located outside of the uterus.
It is estimated that between 5-10 of women of reproductive age will have some endometriosis. In infertile women, the incidence jumps to 30%. Most cases of endometriosis are diagnosed in women aged 25-35 years, although the symptoms may be present from the start of puberty.
A laparotomy or laparoscopy is often used to diagnose endometriosis. A biopsy is then taken to confirm it is endometrial tissue. Most women suffering from endometriosis have these symptoms, especially during menstruation:
- Pelvic pain
- Painful periods
- Low back pain during period
- Pain at ovulation
- Pain on defecating or urinating
- Painful intercourse
The causes of endometriosis in western medicine still remain unclear. In traditional Chinese medicine, endometriosis is caused by either liver blood stasis, stagnation by cold or dampness, Kidney yin or yang deficiency or a blood deficiency. Women are never found to fall neatly into one of these categories, instead, they tend to be a mix of two or more.
Stress can cause liver blood stasis, exposure to cold can cause blood stasis, damp slows the movement of qi and blood circulation, a deficiency of yin and yang can cause a lack of blood and warmth in the uterus.
The normal treatment for endometriosis is laser surgery, which does initially remove the endometriosis but only for it to come back and then stick to the scar tissue left by the laser surgery.
Acupuncture for endometriosis
A common symptom of endometriosis is pain. Acupuncture treatment is well known for its ability to relieve pain, including endometriosis type pain.
It is able to help relieve endometriosis pain by regulating hormones, thereby normalising the menstrual cycle and by regulating blood flow in the uterus, which helps to reduce blood stasis, which causes the abdominal pain. It is also anti inflammatory.
Other therapies used include moxibustion and heat therapy that help to warm the blood and move qi stagnation. Chinese herbal medicine can be an effective treatment for endometriosis in the long term.
Various research studies have proven the pain relieving effects of acupuncture for endometriosis. Women with severe endometriosis will benefit more from Chinese medical herbs.
Is accupuncture in addition to conventional medicine effective as pain treatment for endometriosis? Rubi-Klein, Katharina et al. European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology , Volume 153 , Issue 1 , 90 - 93
Japanese-Style Accupuncture for Endometriosis-Related Pelvic Pain in Adolescents and Young Women: Results of a Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial. Wayne, Peter M. et al. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology , Volume 21 , Issue 5 , 247 - 257